When I was a kid my parents shipped my siblings and I off to my Grandparent's house for at least a weeks time during several different summers. My Grandparents lived a six hour drive south of our home on a 32 acre property in Indiana. Because of the long drive (and my parents having four young kids to not want to travel with) we didn't see my Grandparent's very often. Our summers spent at their house live vividly in my memory.
There were two fabulous ponds on their property, the larger one for fishing in and the smaller one for swimming in. My brother's and I swam like fish so we spent a good deal of time in the ponds. The ponds were filled with fish and tree stumps (the only thing I ever remember snagging with my line) and hovered with dragon flies. My Grandparents always had a large vegetable garden next to the house. My grandpa had a work shed behind the garden that always smelled of saw dust where he did carpentry projects. At dusk fire flies filled the air. I'm pretty sure that the fire flies were my absolute favorite thing about Indiana. They were so magical. My brother's and I tried to catch them but we didn't want to kill them and smear them on us like other kids would do. We'd just catch them for the fun of it and then let them go so they could continue to glow.
I was in love with my Grandparent's property. We lived in the city and they lived in what seemed to be their very own fairy tale land. To me 32 acres of wonderful wilderness was a city of it's own. I'm almost certain that my love of nature began in Indiana at my Grandparent's house. I was in love with their house too. It always smelled of Indiana clay, the cigars my Grandpa smoked in the garage, and cooked carrots. My Grandmother who sewed, gardened, and cooked non-stop was always in one of three locations related to these tasks. I remember her mostly in the kitchen though. It was connected to their garage so the kitchen smelled always of a strong mix of the clay, cigars, and carrots.
In the center of their kitchen table was always this fabulous little honey jar shaped like a bee hive with a tiny metal honey bee set on top. We would eat breakfast in the kitchen but the other meals were eaten at the table in the screen room. Breakfast was more laid back and I don't remember being scolded for bad manors or my brother's getting a stern talking to from my Grandpa for wearing their baseball caps to the table. In truth I loved and still look back fondly on how proper my Grandparent's were but we weren't scolded at the kitchen table so it remains a more friendly place in my mind than the dinner table in the screen room.
The honey jar is one of those child hood things that my little self was absolutely in love with for whatever reason. I don't remember ever touching it or even if I ever saw it used by anyone but I loved it dearly. My Grandparents sold the house in Indiana when I was about 12 years old. My Grandpa died during the move. My Grandmother moved into a house directly next door to us to be near my mom who had just gone through the bad divorce. When my Grandmother passed over a decade later and the many many relatives were going through her things I grabbed the honey jar before anyone even had a chance to discuss it (or notice it). I took a few odd little things in this manner and felt a bit like a thief but I just had to have it. I doubt anyone ever loved it as much as me (at least in my mind this is the case). It currently lives in my baking cupboard. I haven't ever used it; I think because I don't want to create new memories with it. I want it to remain what it was, but maybe it deserves to be used. Either way it is one of the things in my home that I really truly love. It is a little bee hive shaped jar, the color of honey, with a tiny metal honey bee set on top that instantly brings me back to childhood summers spent in paradise in Indiana with my very English Grandmother and very American Grandpa. There's not many things more valuable than that.