During my son's basketball tournament I had a chance to visit my mom and brother in Milwaukee. It's always good to see them and it's really fun when my mom takes some time to tell some stories from when she was young.
My mom was born in the mountains in Germany. She has fond memories of how beautiful that part of the world was. I believe that much of my love of hiking and travel came from her. As I listened to her stories it was very easy to see the importance of memories that bring happiness and joy.
While I was in Milwaukee this time she told stories of how her dad and her used to go into the neighboring forest at night and cut down dead trees for firewood. There was actually a bit more to the story because she said that the land was government land and the reason that her and her dad went in the middle of the night was because it was against the law to harvest anything from government land.
She said that times were hard and it was necessary to have fire wood to stay warm. She marveled at the way that her father could find his way in absolute darkness to a lone dead tree in the forest. Once they got there they would chop it down and put it on their backs to carry home for firewood.
A while later she told me about the beautiful meadow with the cloak of yellow flowers that grew next to the small winding stream. I asked her if she would like to go back to Germany sometime and she said that she didn't think so because she is now 88 years old and doesn't know if she could handle the stress of the trip. She also said that it would be hard on her to go back to the places that she had known as a youngster and see how much they have changed. She said that she would rather keep the memory in her heart and mind the way it sits right now.
As I watched her tell her stories it was easy to see the love she had for her home. She hasn't been there for almost 60 years but the memories still bring her happiness. She continued on with her stories and it made me think that it doesn't take much to make a person happy, just having a place in your mind where you can recall the things that makes your heart smile. I wish that all of you have such a place in your heart and that you can get there whenever you need to take a vacation.
Make memories that make you smile,
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