Papaw grabbed a pencil and a small notepad of paper, gave a familiar smirk and a nod towards the front door and my little heart seemed to skip a beat or two. I knew we were headed to our favorite spot on the front porch. Now, today it could be in the big wooden swing that covered one end of the porch or it could be sitting in mesh covered lawn chairs or maybe today would be sitting on the steps. Either location was fine with me because Papaw was there and we were going to play tic-tac-toe!
Now this wasn't just any game of tic-tac-toe. I played with my siblings all the time and it usually ended in tears because someone lost and someone was celebrating too much for winning, but when I played with Papaw, it was special.
He was very meticulous in sharpening the pencil. Always a #2 pencil and even if he had sharpened it the day before, it always needed a little more today...so he would pull out his pocket knife and I would snuggle up close to watch him sharpen the pencil. He was so careful and telling me the process with each scrape of the wood.
Finally! Sharp pencil, notepad, giggles and excitement...He was always X and I was O...he would carefully draw not one grid, but many...so the excitement grew knowing we were going to play multiple games! So it began, he would let me go first as he handed me the perfectly sharpened pencil and I would draw the best O a little girl could draw in a spot on the grid. I would practically shove the pencil back in his hand because I couldn't wait to see where he was going to place his X. He would toy with me and say things like "here"...."no maybe here..." and then he would draw the first X. And game on...back and forth until Tic-Tac-Toe, Three In A Row! I can still smell the sweet scent of his Irish Spring soap, the smell of the Georgia pines blowing in the wind and feeling the love in those precious moments. All snuggled up, leaning on his leg with my tiny elbow, talking, laughing, life was good!
This game bag that we created at CaliRae's, reminds me of these lazy summer days on Papaw's front porch playing this game with pencil and paper because that is what we had back then. Simple fun! We didn't have Cricut machines and colorful vinyl, wooden tiles, cute drawstring bags, online stores that could ship like the speed of lightning- but oh these memories are worth more than any of these modern day conveniences.
Grab a few of these games, go sit on your front porch and spend some time with those you love...and tell stories like this- make your memories last! Comment below with a favorite childhood memory.
It is all about the journey...