Only a couple of hours from our sunny, warm home, up in the mountains of southern California, Grandma and Grandpa lived in a magical world. A place that smelled like, and was covered in pine trees, where it snowed in the winter and the leaves changed colors in the fall. It was like an entirely different world.
We spent hours "exploring" the hills around their house, collecting pine cones, and playing "teeter totter" on a big log that had fallen over another big log. In the winter the snow fell, and snow was something we only saw on TV. Grandma had a big closet full of left over snow clothes. We would don our snow apparel and build snow men, dig igloos and sled down the neighborhood hill. Then go inside and roast marshmallows over the fire in their ginormous fireplace and drink hot chocolate.
They had a half finished basement where the kids would sleep. They had a NES and Atari, and a really old computer game on which you could play "Hunt for the Wumpus" down there. We could hang out (and tease my brothers while no one was watching) while the grown ups played rook cards and ate candy upstairs.
I remember when my mom called and told me they were moving. I was a freshman in college, and I sat on my bed listening to her explanations. They were too old, and the mountain was too steep, and too icy for them, they were to move to St. George where the weather was more favorable. They were to live in a track of home with other Sr. Citizens. It was the right choice for them, but I was so sad. My parents haven't moved from my childhood home yet, but I imagine it's the same. Like saying goodbye to a part of your childhood.
My grandfather passed away, and my grandma now lives in Salt Lake close to many of her children. My some of my very fondest memories of them, and of my childhood belong to the mountains. I loved it there.