Everyone knows that grandparents are special people, so its no surprise that some of my fondest outdoor memories as a child involve grandparents…
My mom’s parents lived in Connecticut during my early years and we would go up to visit them twice a year. Since they moved down to North Carolina some time while I was in elementary school, I don’t have a lot of specific memories about the time I spent there, but there is one particular event that I recall vividly. On one particular visit my Pop Pop took my cousins and I to a garnet mine. At the time it was the coolest thing ever! I was convinced I wanted to be a geologist when I grew up, and it was the catalyst for many rock collections to come! Looking back from an adult’s perspective, it’s still really cool – it wasn’t an expensive commercial venue, nor did we have to fight crowds of tourists looking for local souvenirs. It was just our family hiking to a cave just a few minutes away from the local highway. We brought our collecting pails, chisels, and flashlights, and spent an entire morning searching for treasure – what a great way to tap into the spirit of adventure that all children have!
Not every “Grandparent Green Hour” recollection is as exciting as seeking out genuine treasure – but I look back with just as much fondness at some of the more mundane memories. For instance, my early memories of riding a bike involve my Maw Maw. She bought me my first bike – it had pink and white streamers on the handlebars, as well as a white basket with pink flowers on the front. It was probably as a subtle (though unsuccessful) attempt to de-tomboy me a bit. Anyway I have lots of memories of her sitting on the porch watching me ride up and down the driveway, making sure to get no closer to the road than the farthest most crack in the driveway. By the time I got to middle school I had discovered a love for volleyball, and my other Gramma (the same one that moved from CT) logged many long hours in the yard practicing with me. We would bump the ball back and forth, and she would come to my games and say weird things like “Win one for the Gipper!”
So when the Crag-Daddy was out of town for a work conference in California last week, we decided to take the opportunity to create some new green hour memories. Cragbaby and I spent the latter part of the week at my parent’s house about an hour and a half north of us. It sure was nice to have some adult company throughout the day, and of course they enjoyed hanging out with C. The weather was perfect autumn conditions (the kind I wouldn’t mind having all year round!), so while I was able to do a little bit of hands-on research at Moore’s Wall for my upcoming climbing guidebook, C was able to log lots of quality green hour time with his Grammy and Paw Paw.
Its no surprise that one of C’s favorites was the swingset in the neighbor’s yard – luckily they didn’t mind sharing. I’m pretty certain he would stay in the swing all day if we let him, alternating between wildly pumping his legs and gleefully making bird sounds (although there were plenty of birds out, we were all fairly certain that he was confusing the creaks in the chain on the swing with the sounds of actual birds…) Other green hour highlights included collecting acorns and stuffing them in Paw Paw’s rain gauge. According to Cragbaby, not all acorns are created equal – he was only interested in the ones with “hats” – all of the ones that had fallen out of there cap were hastily thrown to the side. C’s cousin taught him how to gather leaves into a big pile, and he and Grammy discovered just how funny it was to throw the pile into the air! After thoroughly inspecting the watering can (both inside and out), C deemed the can safe for use and walked around the yard with Paw Paw assisting him in his watering duties.
Getting the extended family involved in your green hours is a great way to change up your routine and promote a healthy lifestyle for both the young in age and the young at heart With that in mind, I’d be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts – what special nature memories do you associate with GRANDPARENTS – either yours or your children’s?