Years ago, my grandparents had a little cabin near Lake Medina, in the hills west of San Antonio. As you can see from this photo of Grandad on the front steps, it wasn't much to look at...and "little" is an understatement...
But in my mind, a weekend at the cabin was a trip to Paradise! I remember the narrow, twisting roads leading to the cabin...remember one night the headlights catching a roadrunner crossing just in front of us...remember the heavenly smell of juniper.
To the best of my memory, inside the cabin there was a front room furnished with bunk beds, a sleeper sofa, and a coffee table where we played Chinese Checkers.
(I love Chinese Checkers!)
Adjacent to it, like the base of an "L", was a kitchen, including a small formica dining table. Grandmother and Granddad's bedroom took up the rest of the space, except for a closet that ran between it and the front room, with doors opening into both...my "secret passageway"...
Oh, the bathroom was right off the kitchen, too. Sort of. You had to step through the back door, follow a path a few feet to a small building. Yep, an honest-to-goodness outhouse.
I never had to go at night. Or if I did, I've blocked it from my memory.
My grandparents loved to fish. I mean, loved to fish!! We'd spend hours down at the lake - mostly I swam and played on the shore. I've never been that crazy about fishing, but every once in a while I'd sit with a cane pole and try.
Later, they'd sit outside the cabin and clean the fish. I think we had fried catfish every night for dinner. Fine by me - I didn't like to fish, but I loved fried catfish.
So why was this paradise to me if I didn't love to fish?
Well, I've mentioned the smell of the juniper. I loved it. And I loved the rocky ground, so handy for stacking into walls.
I love rock walls.
I was allowed to roam through the oak and juniper woods a little, and I discovered this old shack one day...probably an old deer blind. I would imagine it as a pioneer house in the wilderness, or an outlaw's hangout in the old West...or who knows what else I'd turn it into.
And if I could convince someone to come with me, I would head to the end of the street and hike through a small ravine, essentially a dry creek bed. In some places the walls rose 15 to 20 feet on either side, pitted with small holes - homes for wild animals.
I could hike there for hours, and would, if I could get any of the grownups to go with me.
I wished so much that I could live in a place like that...
It took more than twenty years, but my wish came true. I now live in a rocky, hilly land with twisty roads, surrounded by oak and juniper woods, and their heavenly smell that always takes me back to the cabin. There's a dry creek bed to wander along, but no old shacks falling apart nearby; I'm old enough to think that's a good thing.
Another thing I wished for about the same time were Pen-Pals.
I loved writing letters, and I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to have friends in other countries to write to, and to get letters from, telling each other what life was like in our respective countries. Maybe even have a souvenir from another country arrive in the mail...
But try as I might, I never made any Pen-Pals outside of my country.
Until now, that is. Forty years later, that wish has come true. Almost every day, I "talk" to friends around the world, through my blog, FlickR, and Facebook. The world has become a much smaller place.
And guess what? A mysterious package arrived in the mail recently. Inside was this beautiful plate...
My friend Juana of Between USA and Spain sent it to me...a souvenir she picked up for me in Spain while she was visiting her family.
Each day she was there she blogged about what she was seeing and I loved traveling along with her. Back in 1976, I spent three days in Spain, mostly Madrid and Toledo. Juana told me she spent that summer in Madrid, and we've laughed, thinking how funny it would be if we had passed on a road somewhere.
Excitedly I dug out my pictures - maybe she would be in the background of one? But would you believe the only photos I have from those three days are of the Plaza de Toros and the Bullfighting museum...
...the Alcazar of Toledo and a view of the city...
...El Greco's masterpiece (The Burial of the Count of Orgaz), a donkey race, and some Flamenco dancers (including this one of our high school counselor JW doing the "bump" with one after their performance. JW died several years ago, so I'm grateful for photos like this one.)
I see all of the wonderful, beautiful sites from Juana's visit (and from TG's a few years ago) and wonder why I don't remember seeing all of those? I realize we were only in Spain three days, but surely, this wasn't all we saw?
My memories are foggy, though. Photos would help clear them up, but in my defense, it was the end of a month-long budget hop across Europe and I was probably down to my last roll of film. And...I know this is hard to believe...I was actually tired of taking photographs.
And...yes, I'll go ahead and admit it, a little burned-out on ancient cathedrals and gold-plated icons and masterpieces.
But give me a break - I was only seventeen! I think the human mind can only absorb so many amazing historical sites before they all blur together.
Thank goodness Juana insists on Tom and I visiting her and her husband in Spain one day. She's even making a list of all the sites we need to see.
I just love Pen-Pals.
I've had other wishes come true...too many to list, really. But these two remind me that wishes sometimes take their time...they remind me not to give up, not to quit wishing on stars...
What about you? What wishes have come true for you, and which ones are you still waiting for?
Today I'm grateful for...
*Memories and old photographs that keep long-gone loved ones alive in my heart...
*Friendships - the ones that have lasted forever, the ones that have been rediscovered, and the new ones...all wishes come true...
*Digital cameras, cell phones, emails, Facebook, blogs, and FlickR - they keep me connected to these new and long-time friends and relatives in ways that wouldn't be possible otherwise...