Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless
Mother Teresa

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Positive Inspirational Personal Growth Stories

Picture the memories

It was another sizzling summer day in Texas, and then, there he was! He was looking down at me and he was laughing! Well, I couldn’t hear him laughing, but I could tell by the expression on his face that he certainly was. I had been admiring the fluffy, dancing clouds, when in the blink of an eye; there appeared a gigantic, laughing snowman. Suddenly the heat didn’t even seem so unbearable, and immediately I realized how seldom I take time to view the clouds, unless a storm is in the making. Watching the 'laughing snowman' aloft in the sky brought nostalgic thoughts to mind. I was once again a child lying in cool, green grass looking for pictures in the clouds. The pictures were always there; they were just waiting for someone to look up and enjoy! And they still are, if we only remember to look.

By the time my 'laughing snowman' melted into oblivion, my mind was racing with a montage of fond remembrances, all passions from my childhood. He had come with a gift – an avalanche of wonderful childhood memories. No wonder he was happy and laughing; it is always better to give than receive!

My very next thought was of fireflies, although I haven’t seen one in years. An entire evening could zip by while scrambling to fill my faithful mason jar. Always with holes punched in the lid so they wouldn’t all drop dead. Before releasing them I would gaze into the twinkling jar; it was as if I had captured my very own piece of the nighttime heavens. Hopefully the kids of my generation didn’t catch all of them, every child should experience fireflies. They are magical little creatures.

Then Big Chief tablets popped out of my memory bank. Each new one smelled better than the one before, and the paper could never be duplicated. Somehow the soft texture, combined with my writing style, always made my cursive appear so very elegant. Well, at least I thought so at a young age. Not too many years ago I bought a Big Chief tablet, just to again have one in my possession. As I recall, I hid it once I got home!

Next came visions of 'gold stars' on grade school papers! Add one of those little gems to a homework assignment (that was completed on Big Chief tablet paper), and it was a thing of beauty. Maybe if they had continued passing out gold stars, I would have been more serious about my high school assignments. Somehow, receiving a written score wasn’t nearly as thrilling as gold stars, or even a silver one for that matter.

And, jacks! Hours could zoom by without notice. It was a thrill when the oversized jacks first hit the marketplace, painted in striking iridescent colors. They were delightful as compared to the old original, drab-gray, metal jacks. Eventually the paint would begin to wear off, and it was time for an exciting trip to the five and dime for shiny new ones. I can still feel the sensation of rummaging my hand to the bottom of the bin, raising it slowly, and letting them trickle through my fingers. Then came the serious and time-consuming job of picking out the perfect ones that had no chips on them already. Our garage floor was smooth like glass, which made playing the game with a golf ball ideal. Rubber balls just weren’t the same, and I think part of it was the lack of sound. Golf balls clicking with each bounce gave the game such rhythm.

Naturally, memories of coloring books came to mind. They also had their own distinct scent, and I always took a sniff or two before coloring the first picture. If I was fortunate enough to have a new book and new box of crayons at the same time, I might as well have been floating on one of those clouds. Oh, how I hated when the perfect points on the crayons wore down to a rounded stump. They were just never the same after being sharpened with a paring knife. Those stumps made staying inside the lines nearly impossible, and I was not satisfied with imperfection!

Last but not least, was remembering that mother taught me everything I ever needed to know about chemistry, and my experiments took place in the kitchen sink. I was in awe when she demonstrated how to mix vinegar, soda, and food colorings. I loved the sizzling sound, the smell, and the brightly colored volcanoes erupting from different shaped containers. I tore the poor woman’s kitchen apart looking for interesting jugs, pots, bud vases, and the like!

The food coloring stains I left in the sink made me wonder if mother bought Comet by the case. She loved that stuff, to the point of even using it on me! She thought it could clean anything and everything, including my elbows. Mercy, she couldn’t have a little girl with dingy elbows. Today she might end up in court for child abuse - using a 'caustic substance' on her child. Well, my elbows seem just fine and I chuckled at the memory.

Yes, a laughing snowman visited and brought a simple gift, one of long ago memories. For a short while I was transported back in time with many of my favorite things. Compared to today’s standards they probably seem mundane, but to me they are priceless and I’m glad they are mine. For me, a laughing snowman was the key that opened my treasure chest of remembrances.

The ever-shifting clouds are always there, and I plan to spend more time looking for pictures! When given the chance, I never pass up coloring, and vinegar and soda still give me quite a 'kick.' Actually, I have the cleanest disposal in town! Now if I just had some bugs, gold stars and jacks…

Written by Kathleene S. Baker

Kathy resides in Plano, Texas with husband Jerry, and two precious pups, Hank and Samantha. She enjoys writing, needlework, and fishing. As a freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, online ezines, Chicken Soup for the Soul and writes a weekly column entitled The Heart of Texas.

Writers Note:

'Big Chief tablets' - wide-lined paper to learn printing on and were used by most kids in the USA when they started out with in first grade.

'Comet' - is a dry powder cleanser for use in cleaning sinks.


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