The old house had a sleepy atmosphere; the walls were soft and creamy and the air was warm. Yes, in the quiet, gray little house on its pristine lawn there lived my two grandparents: unchanged people in a changed world. Grandma and Grandpa’s house was, in my childhood, truly my second home: full of ice cream, piano music, card games, and peanut butter s'mores in a silver toaster oven. I could have won the award for most faithful grandchild--I biked the quarter mile nearly daily to spend the afternoons on the oatmeal-colored carpets, sipping grape-juice and drawing on scraps of Grandpa’s printer paper.
Uncle Steve and I could play “Uno” for hours, playing for the championships, the grand championships, finally the super-almighty-grand championships. The winner never stayed supreme for very many games in a row. War, chess, checkers; we played them all.
Hardly ever do my academic studies and daily work permit me to return to that little piece of heaven. It’s so close to me, yet so very far away. I think as age works its unavoidable processes on us, it takes away our ability to experience those bits of magic. It antiquates them and makes us sigh and look back on days past, wishing and wishing. Grandma and Grandpa still sit on their dusty brown leather sofa, eyes and smiles twinkling and loving; but their hearts beat more unsteadily than before, their bones and joints no longer limber. Uncle Steve works for pennies as his hearing slips away day by day. I see pains and sorrows that I didn’t before, and a little magic slips away from the old house. But there’s still something beloved there that glimmers as a priceless treasure: sweet drops of happiness that make no magic necessary; things I didn’t see before. The pure love that exists between matriarch and patriarch, a love that has lasted over fifty years and will never die. A love that is seen in subtle hints through their wrinkled, intertwined fingers; their ageless eyes that gaze into each other completely enthralled in warm, enduring affection. Theirs is a love manifested and blessed by the grace of God. And there’s Uncle Steve, he who I have never seen without a cheerful smile. Legally deaf with a lowly job--he seems to have the patience and quiet joy of a saint.
True joy is not found in achievements, exciting adventures, or incessant drama--those things we read in books and see in movies. This rambling work of reminiscence may seem pointless and dull, but I have a point to it and it is this: look for the little things. Life and troubles and sorrows may suck away the magic that enchants our old memories, but remember that magic isn’t real. Look for the little things. The pearls, rubies, and diamonds of love, humility, long-suffering, patience, and family. Gather them, for they are precious. The times may change, the people may change, the world may change, but this fact will never change.