A detail. An impression. A scene, or a scent. Any one can evoke a memory. Cycling this fresh summer morning on one of Boulder’s quiet bike paths, breathing soft air, gazing at the still snow-capped mountains off in the distance, an image of those decades-ago summer trips with my mother, brother, sister and aunt came rushing back. The memory evoked was of that first, distant view of the mountains as we traveled west across the Colorado plains.
Those mountains had seemed a mirage hovering at the edge of the expansive plains, remote given the haze borne of physical distance and our months of longing for them. “I see them!” one of us would shout, a shout that was invariably followed by “I saw them first.” Then came the predictable bickering that springs from siblings co-existing in close quarters for many hours.
Sometimes, with the mountains in sight, we’d stop at a roadside picnic table for lunch. We loved those picnics, which was a good thing since restaurants were few and far between on many stretches of those mid-1950s highways. Earline always had picnic fixings along. She’d assign one of us to bring out the cooler full of cold drinks and cold cuts, another to bring the box of bread, crackers, and canned foods as she spread a cloth over the table.
Most often one of the cans held that picnic staple, baked beans, a dish my little sister abhorred. On one occasion, then four-year-old Susan decided she’d speak up about having to eat such dreadful fare. Balling her chubby little fists and placing them firmly on her hips while looking Earline right in the eye, in her high-pitched voice she delivered the message to her tormentor. “Mama, if I was Mama and you was me, and you didn’t like beans, I would make you eat beans anyway!”
Earline was not to forget that message, nor was Susan to eat beans for some time. Smiling as I pedaled alongside Boulder Creek, I mused about how a mountain scene can somehow remind one of beans. ~~~
Susan — Annoyed
Susan taking a stand, but in a better humor than with the bean incident.
(Photos by Earline,circa 1953-4)