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In the twilight of nostalgia, my favorite memory is the magic.

The fireflies were more plentiful then, lighting up the evening dusk with fairy lamps. The neighborhood gang and I would catch them in mason jars that had served Great-Grandma’s homemade applesauce for dinner. After investigating their illumination, we would set them free to return to Neverland (unless someone wanted a glow in the dark ring). The intricate delicacy of nature caused wonder.

I did not know that the magic was not in the fireflies, but in the shared adventure of friends.

The ice-cream truck had a special magic, also. Its song lured us to the vendor. From blocks away the carnival music would beckon. On lucky days, my dad would put me on his shoulders and we would race down the block before the truck disappeared into Candyland. The ice cream would swirl onto the cone like piles of fresh snow, and laughing together Dad taught me to lick it very fast, around and around to prevent it from dripping down my chin.

I did not know that the magic was not in the ice cream, but in the special moments with my dad.

Gin Rummy is my favorite card game, learned on the oriental rug of my grandma’s living room. Cheese and crackers to munch, sweet iced-tea and a box fan in front of the French door to cool us off were part of the magic.

I did not know that the magic was not in the card game, but in the camaraderie with my grandmother.

This summer we rented a house in Estes Park. All of our children were there. We hiked waterfalls of roaring strength; marveled at the snow capped mountains and tiny alpine meadow flowers; worked together as a brave, but nervous, team to navigate big whitewater in a rubber raft; and drove ATV’s through thunderstorms and muddy holes. I even taught my new son-in-law my grandma’s version of Gin Rummy.

At this point in life, though, I know the magic is not in the adventure, but in the sweet community of those I love. That’s why magic is so magical – it is translated love.

In the twilight of nostalgia, my favorite memory is love.

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