There are snow NO days and then there are snow GO days. On the former, you hunker down in cozy pajamas with hot tea or cocoa, glad to be safe and warm inside while the wind howls. On the latter kind of day, there’s no school, but the roads are mostly clear. This is a free chance for adventure, the things you hardly get to do.
On this particular snow Go day, Qaiden and I had gone to visit my Mom. Before we left she suggested going out for lunch. Snow GO days are also YES days. So we piled into the car and off we went. These were my old stomping grounds, where I’d spent most of my childhood.
As we passed some familiar landmarks I said, “Q do you want to see where I used to live?”
I was about to show him the old farmhouse where I’d lived for a year with my grandparents, two aunts, an uncle and cousins, plus my family. There had been three small bedrooms and one bathroom. Somehow it worked. And because of how long ago it was, it had all faded into a pleasant blur. What remained were foggy memories of a giant garden, endless woods behind the house, a stream alongside it, a lazy porch–a little Shangri-la just yards from the main road.
The house had been in my grandfathers family for generations. Family legend says that once during a tornado the kitchen window had been left open. The funnel cloud reached a finger inside, lifted the vase off the counter and left it sitting, pretty as you please, in the field across the street. The story of the place filled as much of my memory as the actual house.
I knew that after we moved it had been turned into a pool supply store, but the kind of store that still looked like it had been a house.
As we pulled around the final curve past the Tennis Club that had intruded during the final months I lived there, I got ready to point out my childhood home.
“It’s right…” but no more words came.
In the place of home stood Chips-home of Connecticut’s best pancakes. It was part of a slick new plaza. And behind it, on a tall bluff I’d never noticed when I was seven, were endless rows of condos.
It used to be right here ?!?
Chips is in my old living room.
They say you can never go back again…maybe what they mean is, the place you go back to isn’t the one you left. Trust me. There was no food allowed in the living room!