It is so heartbreaking to watch the video’s of parents and children effected by the tornados this week in Oklahoma. Growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas, each summer we would go visit my aunt and uncle who lived in Ardmore, OK. I have nothing by fond memories of those summers. Because I am an only child, my parents would let me invite a friend to go with us on these 2 week adventures. The hot summer days we would find ourselves driving out to Lake Murray for swimming and picnicking. Lake Murray provided me my first look at lily pads. My uncle raised bulls and horses and he would set me up on one of the bulls and lead it around the pen. One of my favorite pictures is when I was about 6, Uncle Son put a cigar in my mouth, led me around the pen on the bull and hollered for my mom to come out. When she did, she fussed at him for the cigar and for letting me ride the bull.
About 5 years ago, Randy and I drove the 2 hours, north of Dallas to Ardmore. I just wanted to see a few of the places I had grown up with. After we found the “huge” house that we use to frequent, I saw it in a whole new light. No longer was it “huge”, but a little cracker box house. The memories of my cousin and I sitting out in the yard at night under the “enormous” cypress tree, (which I now realize wasn’t enormous) trying to catch lightning bugs and the little corner store where we walked to buy ice cream and candy which was still so vivid in my memory, was right there in front of me. They looked so different, yet the memories were the same, maybe even now a little more sweet.
The swimming pool where we used to swim, right down the block from their house, was still there, but it was now different. No longer were there signs that said, “white water fountain” or “white bathrooms” but just signs that read, “fountain” or “restrooms”.
The fishery that my other uncle owned, seemed to be so far out in the country when we use to go visit, but now, it was only minutes outside of town. Had the town grown out that far, or had my perspective changed? Probably a little of both.
There were days spent there that were just miserably hot and with their house not having air conditioning, we would sleep on the screened in porch. Aunt Glady, as I called her, (yes the same Aunt Glady that chased me around Neimans, if you read that blog entry, if not, you need to go back and read it) would allow me to concoct any combination of food and flavors and then she would taste it and tell me that that was the best tasting drink EVER! I seriously don’t know how she kept from throwing up with some of the combinations that I made.
As I have many wonderful memories of my summers in Oklahoma, I am sure that this summer will be forever etched in the minds of the great people of Oklahoma. But their memories will be different. In spite of the tragedy and loss, God is faithful and ever present in our lives, no matter the circumstances. My prayer for them is that they will sense His presence and that they will once again find the Hope and Peace that comes from trusting Him.