I believe each of us has a special place that holds sweetness, peace, and memories we can wrap around ourselves. Sometimes it’s a place we’ve only been to once. For a day. Or a time even shorter than a day.

Now that summer is ending, I think of mine even more. Mine is a summer place. Miller Place.  

My Red Ribbon Place

Grandma brushed the little girl’s hair back and up into that one-fisted hold in preparation for a skinny, silky ponytail. She twisted the rubber band around the bunch—then pulled the tail up and out to the sides. The little girl felt some hair pull, but only a little. She pushed her bangs over to the side.

“Wait, turn around.” Grandma’s hands deftly tied a thin red ribbon into a bow around the ponytail. “There. You look sweet. Now skedaddle.” 

The little girl skedaddled. Off Grandma’s lap, out through the screen door, down the wooden steps, across the burnt grass of summer, and up the slight hill of the driveway. The dust from the sandy driveway felt cool and soft on her bare feet. The air smelled faintly of the crabapples from the tree up the hill.

She ran past Grandpa’s flower gardens, past the cement birdbath, past the old stone fireplace. It felt as if her six-year-old body was lifted entirely off the ground. The red ribbon lifted up in the running breeze. The little girl was fast, light, and pretty.

This red-ribbon scene is a memory from my childhood over half a century ago. I remember not only how everything looked but also the smells and the sounds. I use this memory as my foundation for self-comfort, my vision of  “It is all right.” I believe each of us has, from childhood, a magical place and a beckoning to an almost spiritual terrain.

What was your red-ribbon place or experience?

Thinking of Miller Place Ch.1  © Ethel Lee-Miller 2016

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic.