While our Northern friends were still trying to thaw out from frigid temperatures and record-breaking snowfall, we enjoyed a balmy 69° in the South on Saturday, with sunshine pouring down on eager faces and a hint of Spring around the corner. It made me think of my childhood and how my family and I would spend our Saturdays in Roanoke, Virginia.
Saturdays were always full. From the time we got up to the time Mom scrubbed us in the tub before bed, there was bike-riding, weed-pulling, ice cream-melting, car-washing, flower-picking, dog-licking, hide-n-seek-playing, rope-jumping, errand-running, roller-skating and cookie-baking. There were chores to do, but there was always fun to be had.
One of my favorite things to do on Saturdays was ride bikes with Dad to the local Flowers Bakery. My sisters and I had white woven baskets on the front of our bikes with plastic daisies that I twirled so many times, they popped right off.
And if we came along with Dad, we were sure to get a delicious fried pie with cherry or apple in the middle and a coating of glazed sugar on the outside.
Sometimes we’d walk to the elementary school down the street and play on their playground. It was very hilly and we loved to lie down at the top and roll all the way down to the bottom, caring nothing about grass stains or dizziness that always accompanied our tumbles. On windy days, we’d fly kites, watching tails dance in the blue sky. Other Saturdays we’d take our tennis rackets and hit balls against the brick walls of the elementary school. Inevitably, those tennis balls ended up on the roof of the school. So more than once, my Dad was kind enough to bring his ladder to the school and retrieve our lost balls on the roof. We stood there waiting when all of a sudden, it was raining tennis balls. It seems we weren’t the only kids with a taste for tennis. Dad found about 40 balls up there and threw them all down to us. We chased after each ball, laughing the whole time.
So when you fast forward a few decades, how does a Father and daughter spend a Saturday these days? Well, there was no bike-riding, weed-pulling, ice cream-melting, car-washing, flower-picking, dog-licking, hide-n-seek-playing, rope-jumping, roller-skating or cookie-baking. But we did have some errands to run so I tried to do what my Dad would do with us – make the experience fun.
We had planned to join the scores of other shoppers at Sam’s to pick up a few things. But before we dipped our toes into the madness, I took Dad across the street to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. We have always loved thrift stores, consignment shops and hole-in-the-wall places where the hunt is just as much fun as finding the prize.
We searched the aisles of flower vases, tools, gadgets, cake stands, lamp shades, baskets and books. Dad found a flashlight that cost all of one dollar, so we added that to our small pile of treasures.
After plunking down a couple of dollars for our stuff, I handed Dad the flashlight and he smiled. It never has taken much to make him happy. That always makes me smile. We braved the aisles of Sam’s and then made our way back home.
Just as my parents made memories with me when I was little, I made a memory that day with Dad ~ one he probably won’t remember and I probably won’t forget. But that’s ok. Why? Because he was happy. It was a sunshine-soaking, people-watching, treasure-hunting, errand-running, bargain-finding, beautiful day.
The only thing missing was a sugar-glazed fried pie.