When I was a kid my paternal grandparents would load me up and haul me to the mountains for a vacation. I would spend a week or two being toted around to all my great aunts and uncles, my hair hailed and my growing scrutinized. I would spend hours with these "old" people and for the most part I did okay. I was a loner kind of kid and was most happy with a book and a corner (heck still am for that matter!).
My grandparents would take me to Yellowstone Park (we vacationed in Island Park Idaho) where we would spend one day walking around the streets of West Yellowstone. We would buy fudge and salt water taffy, books, jewelery, and always eat at Chris's (which I am sad to report has closed). We would spend a seperate day in Yellowstone Park itself animal watching, checking out the paint pots and watching Old Faithful blow.
On these little vacations I was a grown up most of the time. I was surrounded by adults and acted like one as best I could. However there was one instance where I was always a petulant child, the drive/complain flower watching day. This day always drove me insane and I filled my time and the back seat with as many deep long sighs as humanly possible.
My grandma, her sister, and myself would drive around for what seemed like hours looking for wild flowers. In case you haven't had the privilege to vacation in Eastern Idaho let me tell you something, wild flowers. are. everywhere. It's not hard to spot 'em. Their everywhere, really truly everywhere.
Anyway my grandma had a particular like of the Indian Paintbrush. A very pretty red flower that grows all around these parts. Its bright red or orange(ish) and grows by itself most of the time. My grandma loved this lil' flower and every single year she would have to get out of the car and take a few pictures for particularly good specimens.
Fast forward 20 years and you'll find me a mama of 4, living an hour from those same hills covered in wildflowers. You will also find me squealing every time I see Indian Paintbrush. I search for those elusive wildflowers that are so hard to find and my picture album on my computer contains over 5 thousand pictures, at least a thousand of those flower/nature pictures.
As I have grown older I have found myself finding comfort in some of the same traditions that I had as a child but especially those that remind me of my grandparents. I have my beloved flower pictures, Downy fabric softener, and Grandmas potato recipe. My grandparents helped to build the foundation of who I am.
This past week I stumbled upon this little painting in a dusty old box in the garage. Caitlin fell in love with it and asked to paint a frame so that it could be put up in the house. Caitlin decided to put it on the counter near a jar of garden sunflowers because it just looked so happy and it does. My grandma would have liked the sunflowers (even if they weren't Indian Paintbrush) and she would have been pleased to see her painting on the counter.
As for me, every time I have walk by the little arrangement I smile to myself and think of cool summer nights, melting fudge, grandpas tobacco and old spice smell, Grandmas turquiose, coffee, and of course Indian Paintbrush.