The Pretty Way

In my 40's I find these “little things” coming back. Maybe it has something to do with my girls becoming more independent, as they are both driving, making their own smart decisions, even the simple things like finding their own “style”. One with two really big tattoos and ever-changing hair - pink, purple - hot blue - blonde again, covering her gorgeous red auburn hair for the last few years - announced last week that she was going “pastel”. This was said as she headed out the door to shop a local vintage consignment store. The other chooses a basic white t-shirt, jeans, white Converse. Every time. Simple blonde highlights in her hair, a straightener, and just black mascara. American Eagle is her go-to. But, they both have cute little tiny nose piercings.

I have to say, enrolling one in college, a plane ride away, sure does force your life to flash before your eyes.

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A glass bottle of Dr. Pepper in the parking lot after a long hike to Rainbow Falls in Mammoth, by way of Devil's Postpile in the 80’s.

Checking out a stack of paperbacks from the library on Fridays, and returning them on Mondays, read - when ten was the limit.

Asparagus soup, and our best friend sleeping over and "throwing it up" all over my bedroom, after Mom made her "eat her veggies" at dinner that night.

Black and white television, and fighting over who had to get up to change the channel during commercials, so we could technically watch two shows that were being aired at the same time.

Walking to the beach barefoot on hot pavement, carrying a volleyball and beach chair to meet the rest of the team.

Family dinners that began with a salad, every time - I was forced to eat everything, except the tomatoes.

Riding the skateboard on our bottoms downhill - scraping the soles from our shoes - using them as “brakes”.

Being woken up at midnight to peek down, out the second story window, at the raccoons bathing in our shallow backyard ponds.

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Now, as my kids are nearing their "upper teens" they sometimes chatter in remembrance and say "remember when we were little and had picnics on the floor for dinner?" and "When you were driving us to the mall and it turned out you had secretly packed out bags and taking us to New Hampshire for the weekend?"  Just today it was "remember Cherry Lifesavers?" and "Cherry Chapstick?! You always had Cherry chapstick for us!", the same way I remember my jumbo stick of Orange Crush Bonne Bell.

Now, as Summer begins to become Summer, they say wistfully, "Remember when we would drive the pretty way and listen to Taylor Swift?" We rarely drive anywhere together anymore, as everyone drives themselves. I do know they very likely drive themselves the pretty way every chance they can get.

“The pretty way” is the long outside loop around the back shore to our house - instead of the straight road from the lights at the end of the highway. It didn’t matter where we were coming from, it was always possible to drive “the pretty way” home, depending on the hunger level in the car, how badly someone had to use the restroom, if it was way past bedtime. We didn’t always “think” to go “the pretty way” - for it was a frame of mind - the last final 3 songs on the playlist - it was hitting “repeat” on the favorite ballad as we hit the “three and a half more minutes” mark on the road.

When it was a full moon, it was a full long slow loop. If it was a stormy day, it was a definite cruise.

During the warm Fall evenings, surfers appeared for us at the small stretch by Good Harbor, clouds in the sky - or sometimes is was perfectly cloudless.

Fisherman could be scattered on the rocks, dogs could be walked on the sidewalk lining the shore - or often folks walked alone.

Sometimes it was dead quiet like midnight, with no movement, light or traffic.

There were huge storming waves - sometimes it was just still.

Now they drive it, sometimes on their own, listening to their own music - and maybe, I suspect, the sisters roll down their windows and ride it together.

Memory Layne