The house was stately with a lovely huge foyer that opened to all the rooms on that floor. To the right was the living room where a beautiful piano stood gleaming in the morning sun waiting to be played.
It was a beautiful old home well taken care of sitting on a well manicured lot. I remember the grand staircase with a dark wood shiny railing that I loved to touch and run my hand along as I ran up or down the stairs.
My bedroom was upstairs and down the hall. Two single beds were covered with chenille bedspreads
and it always had a nice clean flowery scent. Soft clean sheets that were dried outside on the line.
Every night without fail my grandfather would read from “The Wizard of Oz”. I would escape into Dorothy’s world until my eyes would grow heavy and my grandfather kissed my forehead and I would drift off to sleep feeling loved and secure.
The kitchen was a large country one and in the morning it always smelled of freshly baked muffins and bacon. It was a safe and welcoming room and a wonderful place to wake up from that little girl fogginess fresh from a deep sleep full of sweet dreams.
Pancakes every morning and when asked if I would like “just one more” I would say “maybe a little one”…..out would come the smallest little pancake I had ever seen. Probably the size of a dime. No, smaller. I would giggle over the silliness of it all. Nothing ever tasted as good as those pancakes.
I adored my grandfather who made everything fun especially when he wiggled his ears much to my delight. He could make me laugh and giggle without notice.
He always wore a hat….the style that actors wore in those movies of the 50s.. probably because he was bald and Syracuse could be rainy and chilly but because, too, he dressed impeccably in his starched white shirt with tie and spit shined shoes with a freshly pressed suit. Off to work every day. I missed him those work days. But in the early evening, like clockwork, I heard his car drive up the driveway.
I was thrilled he was finally home! I hid underneath that piano off the foyer and waited. My dear grandfather would open the door and in his soft voice he would say “where is Leigh? Where is my Princess?” I would hide until I just had to jump out from my hiding place and give my grandfather the biggest hug I could muster!
He would take that hat off and rub his hand over his head smoothing his hair that was no longer there.
My fondest memory of my grandfather was when we would sit on the screened porch in the back of the house. A large porch full of white wicker furniture. Enveloping the porch were beautiful flowering Hydrangea in hues of blue and lavender. It was a special time between a grandfather and his granddaughter.
That summer is when I discovered the smallest and most wondrous of all creatures..the hummingbird. We would sit quietly until he would point to one outside flying erratically around the Hydrangea trying to find sweet nectar. There were many flowers in the garden but for whatever reason those hummingbirds would give us a show near the Hydrangea.
My love of hummingbirds began that summer with their introduction to me from my grandfather. I can still feel the childhood wonder I felt so many years ago.
Today, 62 years later I am sitting on my own porch and watching the little creatures fly erratically stopping for a drink of sweet nectar. I am only four feet away from them but they know I can be trusted to do nothing but admire them and escape into sweet memories.
Those sweet memories of my grandfather live in my heart forever and I thank these little creatures for reminding me today of the love we shared.
Dedicated to my Chauncey.
I love you still.