I have been thinking about the concept of memory this week. My brother and sister-in-law are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon soon and called to get pointers from us about what we saw there a few summers back. Unfortunately, mere hours before we went, a large roll of school bulletin board paper fell on my foot badly breaking my big toe. As a result I saw the Grand Canyon through the fog of pain medication. It wasn’t until the conversation with my brother and his wife that I realized I really have no memory of the Canyon itself. I am sure it is very pretty, but I couldn’t swear to it. I could say with certainty that there is a bench up top that provides a great place for a mother and daughter to talk while others hike. There is a mini-bus that takes you to different spots near the edge to give you the best views, but somehow the image of the mini-bus is much clearer in my mind than the views we must have enjoyed. Memory is a funny thing.
I read the book The $64 Tomato this week written by one of my favorite authors, William Alexander. In the closing Alexander writes, “Things I remember: Witnessing childbirth. Finding myself standing absolutely alone before Da Vinci’s Last Supper. And planting potatoes on a perfect spring morning.”
And so “in memory” of things I have already forgotten, and celebration of things I can still picture clearly, here is my own (ten) Things I remember:
I remember spilling an entire bottle of orange soda–back in the days when the bottles were thin, and tall, and glass– down the front of my new pristine white turtle neck. I remember crying as my mom slipped it over my head and into sudsy water that made the orange go away.
I remember Mom, my brothers, and I gathered at the front screen door watching a rare downpour in our dry prairie town. The creek across the street, filled to overflowing, rushed through the City Park and across town.
I remember the first time my heart was broken and the boy who did the breaking.
I remember snow wet and cold on my cheeks as I flew downhill on an old wooden sled.
I remember moving back to my hometown for a semester while my soon-to-be husband finished college. I remember sitting at the dining room table with my dad, him telling me it means so much to your mom to have these months with you before you get married.
I remember marrying that young man and being so choked with emotion I couldn’t say my vows.
I remember wanting a baby for so long and finally holding a test stick in my hand that said she was on the way. I remember the shear panic of feeling I could never be the mother she deserved.
I remember seeing her face on a sonogram one week and looking down into that same face for real the next week, and being numb as the reality set in that this small creature really was mine. I remember what it is like to feel the blossom of love unfold and grown inside your heart instantaneously.
I remember nursing another baby and being startled by the big brown eyes instead of green gazing back at me. I remember the young woman with those same brown eyes sitting by my side on a bench atop the Grand Canyon years later so I wouldn’t be alone.
So touching, May. And so beautiful to have memories. I love the quote from Alexander and I loved that book, as well.ReplyDelete
Have you read his book on learning French? Bread baking, homegrown tomatoes and the French language. It is as if he calls me for topic approval every time he undertakes a new book!ReplyDelete
This was truly lovely May. Memories are treasures. Thanks for sharing some of yours.ReplyDelete
You are most welcome, Kerry. Thank you for reading them.Delete