Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Embers in the Night...

 Dear Friends,

Coming back to Indiana is always a transition...of geography, work, friends, activities, and family.

I unpack my suitcase and find pieces of Ocracoke scattered within...a seashell, pockets of sand, or even just the sweet smell of salt and sea.

When I returned home, my house was full of arriving children and it was good to be met by those I love. I have three grown sons who have scattered like the wind, I think they received the gift of wanderlust from their mother.

For three days the house was full of noise, family, children and plenty of dishes!

Just like that they returned, except for Aaron who lives with his wife Karen and the two grandchildren just a block away. We are able to see each other's houses which is always fun for me.

Living in Indiana is not the same as Ocracoke...but it is home. My House at White Picket Gardens is aptly named because of my wooden picket fence and multitudes of flowers. The gardens are in full bloom now as well as the vegetable garden and raspberries.

When I left for Ocracoke we had a fire burn in place so my campfires came to a halt. However with the summer rain of August, all is green and lush and the ban has been lifted.

Last night around 9:00 I decided to build a campfire. The sparks and embers cracked and popped under a sky of stars and towering trees. Within minutes my driveway was a parking lot for bikes. The children just kept coming.

My neighborhood is one of the last old neighborhoods. Children play outside until their parents call them in, and that is usually when the parents want to go to bed. The kids spend each moment outside. They gather rocks, play kickball in the field, let ice cream drip on the pavement, and let the sun of summer turn their winter skin to gold.

As the kids kept coming, I lit candles around the garden, and pulled out the bags of marshmallows from the kitchen. A ring of children circled the fire as we roasted the marshmallows and told ghost stories. They told me tales about the haunted houses in the neighborhood, their eyes wide open, and faced nodding in agreement.

I just kept passing around marshmallows and agreeing with them. Who would  want to live in a neighborhood without a haunted house here and there?

The embers burned low around 11, and each one got back on his/her bike and meandered off into the darkness toward home. I am sure none of them had a shower or a bath, but instead went to sleep with summer dirt on their bare feet and sticky fingers from the marshmallows. But does it really matter?

Tomorrow school starts for my neighborhood so last night was our farewell to summer nights. All I hope is that when they are grown, they have fond memories of biking off into the night, playing ball in the dirt field, and having parents who let them grow up outside one sunny day at a time.

Thanks to all the children who make my life sweet and happy back home in Indiana.

As always,
Lou Ann


Anonymous said...

Very wonderfull Lou Ann , you made me feel the children joy and freedom , and they will remember , we do , don't we , it is everlasting child heart I pray for , it is exciting to know that now you turn again into being a teacher !?! It never ends , does it !? Good for you and others ... How sweet to have your cherished sons welcoming you home ...micky

Ingrid said...

I love this, Lou Ann. You brought back memories of growing up in my hometown, Albion. We played kick-the-can and rode our bikes all over town, including through the cemetery -- that's a story I'll have to tell someday! Congrats on teaching at Trine. I'd love to sit in on one of your classes.

Jane said...

Hi Lou Ann: It's Jane from Ocracoke last week. My mother and I had so much fun meeting you and going to all those wonderful Ocracoke activities. I am still smiling from your news show at the Opry with Philip. I am also playing my Molasses Creek CD over and over. Thanks for your company that week. Glad to hear you got back okay and are already into the swing of your life in Indiana. - Jane

Lou Ann Homan said...

Thank you for the nice comments. It is nice to have connections across the country...across the world. Ingrid, I loved those games and my neighborhood is pretty good with those now as you read. Jane, I loved meeting you and Bobby and spending time with you as well. Micky...until we meet.