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Loving Memories

by on November 24, 2012

For the last eighteen or nineteen years, I’ve been living in the busy Chicago and it’s surrounding suburbs. It’s the city that never sleeps. Stores here are sometimes open all night, there’s traffic congestion every day, malls are jam packed from opening to closing, and people have lost their sense of humanity. It’s a commercial city in a materialistic land, and if you work in retail, it’s rare to see a sign that reads “Closed for the holidays”.

I have gotten used to this fast paced world where you blink and you’re a whole year older, where you wake in the morning to realize the world changed around you.

Whenever I walk my dog at night and I pass a house with smoke rising up the chimney, I recall the simpler times. The times when I was still a kid, being six or seven, living in Europe and visiting my grandma’s farm. I remember my cousin and I walking hand-in-hand as we would step over the high piles of freshly fallen snow. We’d raise our legs as high as we could, and once we’d lower them, the snow would be up to our knees.

The traveling would be slow, street lights were few and far between, but the moon and stars provided all the light we needed. We didn’t have to worry about cars passing us and covering our small frames with dirty snow, as not many people in this part of town had cars. They walked. Walked to stores, to school, and to churches. If it were too far to walk, they would take the bus.

Even before we could see my grandma’s tiny farm house, we’d smell it miles away. The scent of burning wood lingered like heaven in the air. The white smoke would rise through the chimney and envelop the whole town in it’s warmth and tenderness.

When we’d finally see the tiny two-room house (one room was a kitchen and the other was a living room/bedroom), we’d run the rest of our way to it. Falling flat on our faces in the process, once we would arrive, my cousin and I would be drenching wet and freezing cold. But it was always warm inside grandma’s house. The fire was always going and the smell of history always lingered in the hair. The only modern thing in the house was electricity. There was no indoor plumbing but that gave me the chance to learn how to get water out of a real well. There was no gas, and cooking was done on the fire place. A large cauldron would sometimes rest inside, soup simmering.

I could never go back to that house, not without the aid of a time-machine. The little log home has long since been torn down and replaced with a five bedroom brick ranch with all the modern flushing toilets and stoves that run on gas. The scent of wood no longer lingers in the air, and people no longer walk by as now everyone has a car.

No matter where you live, the world passes, and times change. But it is the memories that return you to that place, that time, when things were exactly as before. I’m thankful for those memories, thankful that whenever I pass a house with the scent of burning wood rising through the air, I remember those cold winter nights. Those are memories that are burned not only into my mind and heart, but into my soul, and I will never forget. It’s a memory I cherish more than any gold or diamond in the world. Do you have any memories you don’t wish to let go of?


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  1. My grandma’s house was the same. She didn’t have much in the way of creature comforts, but she always had a fore going, the kettle on, and baked treats galore. Thanks for sharing, Angelina. 🙂

  2. Winters in my house when I was young always had a fire going. I remember watching the bright orange flames and being content.

  3. You’re right time changes. I miss my grandmother who passed away in 2004. One thing I remember is the family get together’s when she was alive. Thanks for the memories.


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