I always loved grocery day at Grandma’s house. Particularly when we would come back from the store, running back and forth from grandma’s station wagon hauling the bags. We would always manage to sneak in a few minutes playing in the front yard. The yard sloped up from the driveway, just enough to justify the winding steps to the front door. When it was icy, we would hold tightly to the wrought iron railing as we let our shoes slide over the edge of each step. We played jacks on those steps, and marbles. Once, I spent most of an hour trying to set a world record with my twenty-five cent bouncy ball I had gotten from the toy machine. I was convinced I could bounce the ball and catch it more times in a row than anyone else ever had. I was very proud that night over dinner, bragging to everyone that I had made it to over one hundred bounces.
In the summertime, the very best part about playing in the front yard was the tree. It stood towering in the center of the yard, shading the front windows from the sting of the summer sun. Sometimes, if you looked up through the branches, it looked like the tree reached all the way to the sky. Grandpa had told us that years before, lightening had struck the old cottonwood, creating the fork in the tree that provided the perfect foothold for starting our ascent to the sky. We loved to clamber up the limbs, seeing who could go the highest. Sometimes our adventures went on for hours, others; however, were tragically cut short when grandma would call us in looking for the rest of the groceries.