Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Out On The Range on Summer Evenings

Don't you wish you'd paid more attention to certain things when you were growing up? Looking at this picture I realize now I wished I'd done just that but I guess when you get to be a certain age the world as you consider it to be is meant to revolve around you and whatever the adults are doing or saying is trivial. After all, what do they know? And when you are growing up surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents there's lots of adult trivia going on-like the summer evenings when they'd gather outside around a fire in a stone fireplace and talk-as this picture shows them doing.
Whenever my parents told me they were going 'out on the range' I was thrilled. That meant they'd be out of the house and I could do just as I pleased which usually wasn't anything different than what I'd be doing if they were home. It was the fact they weren't there. Sometimes my older brother joined them. That was even better! The TV would be all mine as well as the couch and the refrigerator. My cousin who lived in the farmhouse next door couldn't come over because she had to be there for her younger brother and sister while her parents were out on the range. I had to do the same. I don't remember my little sister or brother waking up once!
Now when I look at the adults in this picture they look so young to me. Back then they looked so old to me. Back then I thought they knew nothing. Now I know they knew everything-everything that matters-everything that touches most everyone at one point or another-love, sorrow, loss, disappointment, joy, worry, and so much more-so much more than a young teenie bopper watching TV on the couch even understands.
I've come to realize what 'out on the range' meant to them, sitting in their enamel chairs or on seats from a school desk coming from our clubhouse-with their dogs resting nearby. Just as I felt that was my time to be rid of them-I believe they felt the same way. That was their time to come together without children-to talk, share some stories and laughs, have a few beers and snacks-relax-unwind-before they had to go do it all again. Looking at them, I wish I could hear their conversation now as an adult.The more I look at this picture the more I can imagine crickets chirping-a breeze sifting through my aunt's pine trees-the damp air coming from sucker creek not far away-the fire cracking-and glorious stars shining.That sure beats watching TV. But you never could have convinced me back then.