In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Transporter.”
Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood
It’s 6am and Papa has already carefully and quietly made his way down the creaky latter from he and Meme’s loft, past the living room where we are asleep and into the kitchen to make coffee and greet the morning on the deck before going to check his fishing lines. It’s peaceful out there with a radiant view of the sunrise and the stillness of the glassy calm lake. Meme is down shortly after him and wakes us slowly, one by one to the deliciously sizzling sound of bacon frying. As the smell drifts over the counter and straight to our noses we cant help but crawl out from underneath the covers of the pull out couch and climb onto a bar stool to keep Meme company. We share the morning coziness as she whips up some pancake batter and serves us each a plate full; we eat until our tiny bellies are satisfied or until we lose interest in food while thinking about the adventures the day will hold, whichever comes first.
By the time we finish breakfast and make our way out to the porch, Papa is coming in for more coffee and sits with us awhile. He tells us that he saw a 12 foot alligator last week down on the beach and we marvel at this news, hoping to catch a glimpse of one while we are there, but as soon as the sun is out we somehow forget all about alligators and throw on a swimsuit without preference, eager to get in the lake. Papa’s built us a gigantic raft with a slide and as long as we have it we are invincible, even in our fleeting moments of fear when we think about what is swimming in the murky water around us. We spend hours and hours in the water pretending to be mermaids, or princesses, or pirates. Sometimes Meme braves the murky waters with us. Other times she sits watching us from the porch while playing cards or working a crossword and calls us up every so often to reapply sunscreen. Awhile later Papa pulls us beside his little green fishing boat on some water skis or a kneeboard (our choice) while we hold onto a makeshift pvc pipe extending perpendicular to the boat, embracing new experiences.
Eventually our rumbling tummies bring us inside for a sweet treat, but Meme makes sure we eat a sandwich before we reach into the candy jar for a Sugar Daddy or run out into the yard with a Little Debbie. We run wild and free during those summers at the lake: walking down the beach as far as we can go, building teepees from washed up branches and wood or swinging through the trees; Papa makes the best rope swings. For our afternoon adventure Meme gives us each 50 cents (which was all we actually needed back then) and sends us down the long and dry caliche road to the green Lagarto store on the corner where we pick out whatever we want. Soda, ice cream and fun dip are among our favorites and we walk a mile back relishing in our treats, talking, singing and giggling the whole way. Being able to walk to the Lagarto store by ourselves makes us feel grown up and giddy.
We’re greeted back with the warm breeze carrying the sound of country from the little A-framed lake house. Meme is inside singing My Maria and cleaning out her closet. She gives us a few sundresses to put on that are only a couple of sizes too big because our grandma is a small lady. We play dress up and put on a musical performance for Meme out on the deck where we can feel the wind in our hair and the sunlight reflecting off the water. Our hair is tousled, messy and bleached by the sun and our skin is a deep golden brown and kissed with freckles. We’re barefoot and tiny in those big dresses and we feel beautiful. We are un-comparing, innocent, perfectly girly and wonderful. Meme claps for us and encourages our performance, tells us about the days that she used to dance and then heads inside to start dinner.
Papa lets us fish with him on the pier until dinner is ready. In those days the water came all the way up to the top of the tall wooden pier. He shows us how to bait our hooks and tells us about the gar he caught the other day. It’s getting dark and the mayflies are swarming around the lights on the pier…we wonder at how many there are and laugh when they land on us because it tickles. Anything we catch we make Papa take off the hook. He throws the little fish back and keeps a couple big ones to filet for tomorrow’s dinner and we head inside.
After dinner we all gather around the TV. There’s a show on in the background and Papa is watching it but the rest of us are caught up in games of speed, concentration, go fish and crazy eights. We’re up long after Papa has gone to bed and his loud and comforting snore drifts down to the living room where we are delighting in every victorious card match and soaking up quality time with Meme; the laughter, conversation and her very presence. When she can hardly keep her eyes open any longer she pulls the couch into a bed and puts on The Goonies for us to fall asleep to. We never finish the movie because the day has worn us out and we each drift off to sleep, giving in to dreams of tomorrow.