Memories are funny things, elusive little pieces of time that slip in and out of the mind on the tails of the spirits of the past. This time of year, those spirits conjure up so many memories for me. Mother’s Day always reminds me of my grandmother who I loved so much and miss every day. The smell of lilacs in the spring brings to mind carefree days reading books in the backyard of my childhood home. The anticipation of summer reminds me of all of the time I spent in a little town in St. Mary’s County called Bushwood. How I loved spending long, lazy days at my grandparents’ home in the country. I crabbed with my grandfather in the Wicomico River in the mornings and walked the tobacco fields next to the house in the afternoons. I can still close my eyes and remember the sweet scent of the leaves that were so large I could sit under them and shield myself from the sun’s scorching rays.
One of my fondest memories was helping Gram with the wash. It amazed me that every morning, before most of the world was awake, the first load of the day was already in the washer. When I wasn’t crabbing with Granddad, I enjoyed wonderful country breakfasts of fresh eggs, scrapple, and sliced peaches in cream while Gram sat with me and said her morning prayers. Then we would load the laundry into the baskets and take it into the backyard to hang on the clothesline.
Long before anyone spoke about global warming or carbon footprints, Gram knew that a dryer was only to be used when necessary. Hanging out clothes and linens was much more economical. It kept the house cooler, used less energy, lowered the utility bills, and best of all in my mind, just made everything smell better, sweeter, and cleaner.
I’ll never forget the feeling of slipping beneath those cool, crisp, line-dried sheets at night. I would fall asleep to the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs outside of my window and the feel and smell of the country air on my skin. Even now, there is nothing quite like enveloping myself in a freshly made bed with sheets that smell of country air and sunshine. If you don’t believe that sunshine has a smell, then you’ve never had the pleasure of laying your head on a pillowcase that has been warmed by sunlight and dried by the gentle breeze of God’s waving hand.
I now live on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in a little town that is similar in many ways to the beloved Bushwood of my youth. We crab in Grace Creek, take walks through our woods, and enjoy the quiet, country life. And every sunny day from April through October, you can find our family’s laundry on the clotheslines that are strung up in our backyard. On breezy days, when the wind gently blows the clothes against my cheek as I hang them, I smile and look up, knowing that Gram has just whispered “hello.” Always on my mind and in my prayers, I whisper back, “I love you and miss you.” And I think of her that night when I lay my head on my crisp, clean sheets.
Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.
You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015)