Last weekend, I went home to WV to visit family. My primary goal was to see my 96-year-old grandmother who has recently been moved to a nursing home. She’s not happy about it, but as she observed to me, “Nothing stays the same and I don’t guess we’d want it to.”

I also got to see my parents and my younger brother who is about to add a new member to his family. More about that next week.

The visit got me thinking about what a wonderful childhood I experienced. Oh, there were hard things, but it was mostly good. Mostly wonderful. Mostly the kind of stuff that can crop up in my writing without making anyone wish I hadn’t written about that!

Neighbors: Although I grew up in a very rural part of WV, we had international neighbors. Dusan was from Yugoslavia and Masha from Russia. We would hear them out in the pasture calling their cattle in one of the seven languages they spoke. Childless, they showered my brothers and I with affection and introduced us to imported chocolate.

Church: we attended a church our family had been going to since it was built. We were related to most everyone who came–and on a good Sunday there were twenty of us. I treasure growing up in a world where I mixed with adults of all ages. There were no children’s programs. No nursery. It was just family coming together to praise God.

Farming: growing up on a farm was hard work . . . and I sometimes miss it. We weren’t overscheduled with lessons and clubs. We didn’t text or play video games or watch cable TV. We picked up rocks when dad plowed the garden. We slopped the hogs and gathered eggs. We put up hay every summer. We helped process our food from potatoes to ground venison. We went barefoot, caught lightning bugs, swam in Laurel Fork and built hay forts. How could I not want to write about all that?

Q4U: What is one of your fondest childhood memories?