During my high school reunion a few weeks ago, a thought hit me that I can't believe I had forgotten.
A few months after my graduation, when my friends and I were preparing to go off to college in August, I lost my grandmother.
She had been sick a while before she passed, but to think that it had been 10 years really surprised me.
She, like most of my family, was from West Virginia, and continues to be a part of my favorite memories from my childhood.
We would visit her a couple times a year, spending several days at a time. Her house was on a small hill with a long gravel driveway, garage, shed, chicken house and a large garden that my grandfather tended.
She put up a basketball hoop beside the garage for my brother and I and our cousins to play on when we visited.
She was a petite woman, who loved to cook for us and hated when we left.
A few years later, my other grandmother passed away.
She lived on a dairy farm, and when I close my eyes, I can still remember exactly how it looked. A road led from the main road down to the house and was lined with barns and milking houses and kids running around.
She was a funny woman who made the most amazing rolls you've ever had. They were the size of softballs and were always a highlight of our trips.
However, for any number of reasons, I haven't visited those old places in a while and I truly feel guilty about that.
But I have decided I'm going to be visiting my family soon. Not my immediate family that lives in Cleveland, but the extended family that lives in and around West Virginia.
It has been way too long since I last visited - my last visit was almost four years ago when my grandmother passed away.
These visits always take me to my childhood, when we would load up the family car and make the six, seven or eight hour drive to Bridgeport, W. Va., depending on who was driving.
My family lives in small towns down there with names like Jane Lew and Good Hope, places that have one stop sign and one gas station.
In Jane Lew, there was a small card shop right next to the convenience store that had a great collection of cards and memorabilia. I loved going there, and that convenient store had, and I am not exaggerating, ''The World's Best Pepperoni Rolls.''
But going now is a little harder than it used to be, and I worry that is part of the selfish reasons I haven't gone down for so long.
The card store is gone, the rolling hills of grass and grazing cows are starting to disappear, replaced with houses and developments.
But what is the hardest thing of all are the people who are no longer there.
My grandfathers are both still living down there, and I look forward to my son getting a chance to see them and hopefully remember them as best he can.
I get sad when I see the old houses that I used to spend so much time getting older and fading away. The times when we spent hours playing by the creek (''crick'') are so vivid some days, but that creek is now gone.
I can smell the old familiar smells, but as time has gone by, they aren't the same.
What I miss about the times and the people, however, is what needs to push me back there. For whatever reason, be it selfish or just ignored, I have allowed myself to neglect spending time with those who are there.
When we get there, I'm sure that it has changed a lot in this time and that may be hard but I have to remember that as I get older so does everything else.
I miss the people that are no longer with us, but I have to work harder to appreciate the ones that I still have.