Memories to Keep the Heart Warm

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With kids and grandkids three hours and seven hours away, plus our travels for Notgrass History, we make lots of bathroom stops. As you know, this experience can range anywhere from sparkling to disgusting. One solution for us has been for Ray to drop me off at some place like Cracker Barrel, while he fills up at a gas station nearby.

We almost never leave any bathroom stop without making some little purchase. We figure they don’t owe us their water, maintenance expenses, cleaning help, supplies, and electrical power, so we like to help out a little. Maybe our childhood experiences make us think about this more than folks born later than we were. I remember public bathrooms where you had to drop a coin in a slot before you could open the door to a stall. Makes sense to me.

During a recent Cracker Barrel stop, I found a toy Volkswagen® bus during my gift shop wanderings. It brought back wonderful childhood memories, so I decided to buy one for my brother who shares those wonderful memories with me — too bad it wasn’t maroon and off-white, but red and white was close enough. When Ray got back from the fill-up, he suggested I buy one for me, too. I happily dug through the bin of toy vehicles in a bit of an anxious search for another red one. I found it and now it sits on my desk beside my decades-old rock carved with I ♥ Mom. It makes me smile.

I remember the day Mother and Daddy came home from Nashville with their big surprise. Gone was our white two-door Ford Falcon sedan and here was a super-cool VW bus! I remember Mother and Daddy turning it into a makeshift camper. I remember hilarious nights sleeping in the front seat with the steering wheel and four-in-the-floor stickshift, . . .

. . . while Steve slept in the cargo bay . . .

. . . and my parents slept on a twin mattress in the middle.

I remember the night we hit a deer on the beautiful old Highway 12 between Ashland City and Nashville and my uncle coming to pick us all up — not in his car but in his pick-up truck. That was a tight ride home.

I remember Mother teaching me to drive. I remember learning the art of driving with a stick shift, especially how to get my foot off the clutch and onto the gas pedal to keep from rolling backwards when I had to stop at an intersection on one of our Tennessee hills.

I remember when our VW bus developed a funny glitch. My parents taught me how to open the hood (which was in the back under the cargo bay) and reach in to move some thing-a-ma-jigger. After that, the engine ran just fine.

Don’t let homeschooling or homemaking or working at home or other activities take up all of your time. Stop and make some memories. They’ll keep your children’s hearts warm for years to come. I wonder what your children will find at a pit stop someday to remind them of the wonderful times they had when they were at home with you. In Psalm 143, David remembers what God has done for him in the past. On this very day, God is blessing your children through you.

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your doings;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
Psalm 143:5


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  1. Funny how our expectations are shaped by the times we live in. I grew up in a time when bathroom stops were free, and I never knew anything different than that. Then when I traveled to some Caribbean islands as an adult and was charged to use a bathroom—and sometimes to purchase toilet paper—it was a startling paradigm shift! Even though I don’t mind using public facilities for free, one thing I always do is leave it nicer than I found it. Wipe up water from the sink, pick up trash, etc. I consider that a good act of appreciation.:-)

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