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Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Explore. — The magic is still there.

on October 27, 2012

There is a place, deep in the hills of West Virginia, down a gravel road holler, through a fence gate and up a bunch of chipped painted steps…known as my Maw Betty’s house.

It is and always has been a little bit magic.

From the outside, you may not see its powers.  When I look at it with my grown up eyes, I can see how it has aged, how it has changed.  The huge tree that shaded the front yard (and also hid the house from the neighbors) is gone; so is the one that held up the tire swing in the backyard.  The swimming pool was taken down many years ago.  The great hedge of bushes that surrounded the yard  (and made it feel like you were entering a secret garden), was replaced with a regular old chain-length fence for easier maintenance.  The siding could use a good powerwashing, it could use some fresh paint maybe.

But it was never really about the place or what it looked like.  The magic is and was always in the memories–coming here for holidays, spending summers here, family reunions, random weekends. Flashes of memories of how we spent our time here.

Baking ‘Betty Crocker’ boxed cakes with homemade “Betty icing”.  Getting to lick the beaters. Playing musical chairs in the kitchen and having impromptu dance parties in the living room.  Playing chinese checkers and Trouble and Sorry! Clapping after each opened Christmas gift. Making 8 mm movies that we wrote, produced, directed and starred in.  Creating a theater and charging family members and neighbors to come in the basement to watch.  Begging the grown ups to play with us in the yard.  Climbing the mountain and digging for treasures and dinosaur bones.

Today, I arrived with my kiddos and I am so thankful that they see it the way I did/do.  They appreciate the treasures that I always did.  The little knick knacks on the corner shelf.  The fact that there is always cake for dessert and most likely bacon for breakfast.  There are M&Ms and Cheetos and treats we don’t keep in our house these days –the kind that are still good on rare treat-kind of occasions.

X’s eyes immediately went to the grand mountain behind her house.  It really is great.  It is a super steep climb and seems to go on forever.  He wanted to explore, so off we went.  He was way ahead of us and I called him back a few times.  I swear he had his sights at the top and was headed there.  He saw adventure and magic and trails and journeys.

I am a little sad and embarrassed to admit that I didn’t see what he saw anymore…I saw the possibilities of snakes, the realities of poison ivy and sticker bushes.  I was very aware of falling and getting hurt and of the multitudes of bugs that were around me.  We went as far as I was willing to let us go and managed to distract and convince to go a different way with this adventure.

We crossed the yard and my uncle and I reminisced a bit about our adventures as kids up here on the mountain.  The tire swing world record attempt.  The infamous snake bite incident. The dinosaur dig (yeah, we did dig up some bones, and yeah, they were not from a dinosaur…ugh). Catching lightning bugs in mason jars. Sleigh riding and the time we actually went through the hedges at the bottom.

We all came back down to the house and were sitting on the back steps watching the kiddos play.  X found a secret door and asked if he could look into it.  I swear, I have never even seen this tiny little access door that led to a space under the porch.  In my defense, my cousin and I decided that the bushes used to be bigger and the door was more hidden.  We started talking about secret magic places.  Mine used to be the back porch room.  There is a tiny back porch on the corner of the house, with a random door that led to a room that was just full of … stuff.  Magical. Stuff.

My cousin and I decided to ‘break in’ to that room to explore and discover. By break in, I mean, we had to pop the lock that had been painted shut over the years.  It was not as full as I remembered, organized, like someone had been in there recently, as in the last few years.  However, it was fun; it was fun to be in there, peeking into boxes and finding little treasures.  I found a bag full of little army soldiers, that used to belong to my uncle and now X is playing with these in the living room.  I also discovered a box full of tinker toys and lincoln logs that I remember playing with when I was little.  Y is now in the hallway, building airplanes and other flying machines.  I love watching them play with toys that I used to play with.

Treasures. I discovered treasures on my exploration today.

We need to continue to explore the world like kids.   Look for secret doors and gardens and passageways. Imagine the biggest and ‘bestest’ possibilities of world records and wide spread fame.  Try to see the magic like they do.

Because. It is still there.

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5 responses to “Explore. — The magic is still there.

  1. Jan Francis says:

    What a beautiful memory of the magic at Maw’s house. Before we moved into that house (when I was 12), we lived next door in a “normal” house. I used to climb the fence, sneak around the back of the house, climb the tree on the side of the big house, and look in the living room window!!! The living room was blue! I would imagine what the house looked like on the inside beyond the living room. I never dreamed we would move into that beautiful home. It looked very different then but so did we. It was a different time…but the magic remains in the eyes of the new generation of family.

  2. […] 27. Explore the world. Go. Do that.  Explore.  […]

  3. […] And it leads to one of my most favorite places. My grandma’s house. My Ma Betty’s house. […]

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