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Walking Barefoot at the Fourth Hole

By Melissa Young

This post (originally written two years ago) is the last in a series of posts about my grandparents. Thanks for sharing memories with me.

We’ve been coming here for four years now, so I guess you could call it a tradition. Each summer my parents, siblings, and their families gather for a three-day weekend at a hotel in the canyon. This place has layers of memories for me. We came here when I was a child, when my parents were young and my grandparents a youthful middle-age. I have echoes of memories, mental glimpses of relatives I no longer see. I remember running the halls with my cousins, and even my child-memory has retained with surprising accuracy the long, low-ceilinged hallways.

I think it was partly those memories that drew us here a generation later. Now I am a mother and my children run the halls with their cousins. The first year we came, Grandpa was still alive. He and Grandma had the largest room, the only one with a sofa and soaking tub. Swallows had built nests along the soffit outside their window—mud nests with wisps of grass, and the birds darted and flew between the trees and the building. Grandma and Grandpa spent hours watching them. Grandpa knew birds, spent years watching them, and could identify almost any kind that we would ever see. There was just a flicker of jealousy when we told him we had a family of small owls in our backyard that would come out at dusk, making sounds like monkeys. “Sure would like to see that,” he said.

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