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Column: Shooting rocks out of his nose

Every so often, I visit and search for my hometown of Rock Springs, Wyoming.

My search isn’t because I’m interested in moving back. I’ve been in Montana for nearly a decade, and outside of family and a few select friends, there isn’t much desirable for me at the place I called home for so long.

The reason why I check for homes is to see if my favorite place growing up, my grandparents’ home at 206 Dickson Avenue, is up for sale. Granted, if I were super rich, I would definitely snatch up the house in a heartbeat, but I’m just hoping to get one more glimpse of a place that, since I can remember, has meant so much to me.

I have so many vivid memories of the home that always felt like a sanctuary with two of the nicest people you could ever meet. There was always the constant of my Grandma Smith initiating a card game or doing her best to try and feed the family that would descend upon her home.

With my Grandpa Smith, there were always many lessons to be learned by someone who was the epitome of a perfect gentleman.

If the house is ever available, I’m so excited to see once again the front room where my grandpa would bring out his “kit” and make a Seven and Seven every evening before we often times ended up at the Sands Café. It was always just one drink before we would make the short drive to eat.

I’m also excited to see the entry to the stairs for the basement, which will always remind me of a story my dad would often tell me about his childhood.

Putting it the best way possible, my dad was mischievous, which certainly began during his childhood. One time, we were heading downstairs to the basement, and he told me that he used to stand at the top of the stairs and put rocks in his nose. He would then try to shoot the rocks out to the bottom of the stairs. On one occasion, one of the rocks got stuck and would not come out, and he eventually ended up at the hospital to have it removed.

You better believe I tried this about ten minutes later; thankfully, I didn’t end up in the hospital. That would, however, happen a few weeks later. There aren’t too many stories of my cousin Brad and me that end well, and this is one of them. We decided one day while playing in my grandparents’ backyard that playing in their incinerator would be a brilliant idea. At some point in our shenanigans, the old metal door slammed onto my finger, and I ended up in the emergency room. A few days later, we were once again unattended in the backyard. We tried to walk to our other cousin Zac’s house and got lost, with the entire police force looking for us.

In that same backyard, there were many memories of sitting around as a family and having my grandma do her best to feed everyone the same meal of cold cuts on rolls with a whipped cream-based fruit salad. I still miss those summer evenings when nothing else seemed to matter except my plate of food and my family.

Once you got down the stairs without slipping on rocks, there was an orange shag carpet that was hideous, but I hope the current owners never removed it. We all gathered in the basement on Christmas Eve to eat prime rib with my Aunt Nancy’s famous lasagna. It was an odd combination but something I miss so much.

Later in life, I lived with my grandparents for about two years and had a room in the basement. Once again, I was not well-behaved, but I had many fond memories. I once had a small get-together in the basement, and someone was eating Cheetos. A few weeks later, I found a bunch of those tasty orange snacks blending into that shag carpet.

What I’m hoping to see the most is their huge front window. I remember so many Christmas Eve’s watching out the window for my cousins to arrive. I can still remember the smell by the window.

If the house goes up for sale, I might make a trip down and pose as a prospective buyer. That might not be a great idea because the changes might weird me out, or if it has remained the same, I’ll try to buy it, which might make getting the newspaper out every week a challenge.

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