Those winding roads leading to French Lick took us to my great-grandmother’s house on Sundays after church. Without fail, the trip always made me carsick. That I can remember.
Grandmother Hopper’s tiny living room was filled with the sent of Lavender sachet, lace doilies, and a fancy crystal candy dish. Lifting off the lid I would see a swirl of pastel colored butter mints. I’d carefully select my favorite color, Pastel green. It would melt slowly and deliciously inside my mouth-what a delicacy!
I remember her smiling sweetly as we’d watch the old cuckoo clock perform every hour. That bird made such a racket. We’d laugh each and every time, as if it was our first watching the funny performing bird.
That I can remember too.
She considered her meatloaf the traditional Sunday meal, and it would be the only thing she ever served for lunch. I remember watching her pull the pan from the oven. Homely and homey fare, her meatloaf was beautifully hand-molded and browned to perfection. Though I’d later hear the adults mutter quietly about that meatloaf being bland and needing ketchup, I thought it was perfection. Seconds were always in order – Grandmother Hopper knew I loved the ends of the meatloaf.
All this I can remember.
After lunch, we would all set up lawn chairs in her back yard. Blooming plants and shade from her many trees provided a lush thick pile of green grass. It was a beautiful setting for many Easter egg hunts.
But that day, the day in this photograph, I can’t remember at all. It’s there in the picture- my father is tickling me, and I’m laughing. A fluke? Perhaps someone was watching and he was only pretending to like me. Or for one day only, was I finally the perfect boy he wanted me to be?