August 24, 2011 4:33:00 PM
I am most sure you all have a good many friends. We all have friends that live down the street, across town and yes, some that have moved. When my friends from the "big" cities come home and ask, "How do you stay here?" I just have to say, "Well, my roots run deep, deep as the tree roots down College Street." I guess I do admire those that have pulled up and moved on to bigger places and I often wonder at the sights they must see and the things they must be doing. However, I am a Columbus girl for some 60 years and in a week, 61 years, so I guess I will just stay and enjoy my old familiar ways.
And so it came to be that this past Wednesday I was called upon as a grandparent to pick-up my only grandson, Coleman, down at St. Mary''s School. Oh, I forgot, it is now called Annunciation School. My son, Judson, went there back some 30 years ago and I have loved that school ever since. I would take Judson his lunch everyday at 11:45 a. m. because at that time there was no lunch offered except that which you brought from home. Judson was never a sandwich eater so I felt I just had to be there with something hot five days a week for six years. The nuns lived at the school during these years and did not mind at all if I brought lunch, just be on time.
So there, you have heard it straight from my old mouth, it has been many years that I found myself at an elementary school, waiting. Judson had asked me to if I could pick-up Cole on Wednesday''s at 2. St. Mary''s (oh, OK, Annunciation) had teacher meetings on Wednesdays and so school let out early. Cole''s mother, Jennifer, a speech therapist with the city schools, would not be out until 3 or a little after. Of course, like most grandparents, I was happy to oblige even if you ignored the fact I got to leave the junkyard early.
On this past Wednesday you would have found me, 10th in line, at Cole''s school, 10 minutes early. Oh, what memories came flooding back. I did not realize what an effect this would have on me. Here I was grayed, tired and yet, I was indeed, back in line. I will admit that I had a few tears in my eyes as I waited to see that smiling grandchild''s face.
Judson and Jennifer had just attended a school meeting that gave them "the rules" some of which I would have to obey. Judson got the booster seat rigged up in my car and told me to go to the third awning, "You know," he said "the one you used to bring me lunch at." He further warned me not to break in line, that the school had had some trouble with grandparents turning the one lane into two in their haste to pick-up their precious cargo. I think I did quite well especially if no one saw me crying.
I pulled right up and Cole immediately recognized me and my car. Do you remember when what mother or dad picked you in was so important? Well, I don''t think I had even thought of such a problem for a very long time. I walked to my elementary school, Stokes Beard, along with a whole bunch of friends that I still have today. We still celebrate together, stay in touch.
Cole and I had one other rule we had to follow - we had to stay on this side of Highway 82 (OK, Highway 182 now). Cole informed me he had listened good and learned good, and it was a very good day in school, that Wednesday. The pizza for lunch was just right, and he ate all of his. I thought it was a good time for a celebration, on this side of 82. Fred''s, it would be, for one good toy and he had to hold my hand. Afterward, to The Sonic for a grape slush, going in the back way that only us natives know about.
I guess it would be nice to be on a faraway beach on a Wednesday afternoon. Or, how about, a shopping trip to a very large mall in some fancy neighborhood? I am supposing all that would be good and well, but Fred''s in East Columbus seemed mighty fancy to me and Cole. The grape slush was the right purple and he enjoyed most of a small cup. I can tell you that I don''t think that Fifth Avenue in New York could have brought me more pleasure.
Memories, I hope I am making some for Cole and with Cole. My roots run deep and I don''t think anyone has enough strength to pull mine up. I have great hopes for Columbus; it is home and always will be. I may travel the same roads, wait in the same lines but how could I trade this pleasure for any place else?
Not much gets us older folks going these hot summer day, yawning into fall''s first cool spell. Football will soon start and I will get the car warm on Wednesday''s for Cole. I have the hope of another plain, old simple afternoon in Columbus. I promise to stay on this side of Highway 82.
Carol Littlejohn, the owner of Dixie Auto Parts, is an occasional contributor to The Dispatch. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org