I will never forget the time that my son eagerly asked me how many covered wagons it took to move when I was a girl. I gravely pointed out that they didn't have covered wagons back in the days of dinosaurs. We only had two wheeled carts. Like Fred Flintstone.
This picture brought back a lot of memories. When I was growing up, I had grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins all around. There were a host of stories from my family's past. So much so that I developed a life-long interest in genealogy.
As I married and had children of my own, I attempted to pass on some of the stories I collected from my childhood. Two summers ago I spent a week with my brothers and sisters-in-law. It was a funny week. One would start "Do you remember...?" and another would take up the story. Since my brothers were younger than I and since I married early and left home, there were stories that I was unfamiliar with.
I suspect that my children could do the same. I'm sure there are things that they remember that I don't even have a clue about. As much as we have shared lives with our children, there are always things we don't know about.
The picture strikes such a chord I think because it's something we're all familiar with. In every story our elders tell life was always so much harder than it is now. At least it is the way we remember it.
I remember walking home from school in one particular town. There were no sidewalks. In the winter I waded through snow and slushy ice. In rainstorms passing cars sprayed waters from puddles on the road. And in summer it was blazing hot as there was no shade. It was uphill both ways as it had long hills. The books were heavy. Probably the worst was that it was lonely. I was in a new school--again. By eighth grade the little cliques that develop in middle school were set. I was weird, too. Talked funny because I was from "down south". Dressed funny because our clothes were hand-me-downs. And had a totally different cultural background as my father was a minister. In eighth grade I had not yet developed the skills to be who I was.
I suspect that walking uphill both ways is a metaphor for life. I means that there are ups and downs on that walk we all take. But rather than whine about the journey because we're in a hurry to reach the destination, perhaps we should take time to look around us. After all. We'll only come this way once.