“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most space in your heart.”
Ah, the little things. The memories that are tucked up in your brain just waiting to sneak out at the smallest moments. People say the best thing about memories is making them; the next is remembering them. These days, it’s not always easy. In fact, sometimes even a little remembrance can knock the wind out of me. Memory lane might be the hardest road to travel, even when it’s only to the grocery store.
I may have forgotten to mention that I hate grocery shopping. But I have to eat so I ran to pick up a few things yesterday and as I was mindlessly sliding my credit card, a picture flashed in my mind. It was an image of my husband always whipping out his card before my hand even opened in my purse. I don’t know why – it all came out of the same account, but it was just a habit like so many others. Caught in that silly reverie, I almost missed the elderly man in front of me teasing his equally elderly wife, winking at me as he did, about her always needing ‘one more thing’ and keeping him waiting. As the two exchanged good-natured comments, I remembered joking with my husband that ‘one day we’ll be them’. them’.
That would be a no.When you think back, so many memories were really insignificant when they happened, weren’t they? We never thought those moments were the stuff of memories. They just were part of the reel of life — until the frame said ‘The End’.
All things end, including life itself — but memories are forever. The laughter, the pain and the happiness all live within those unique experiences. Within all the big things, a million small ones reside and, depending on the day, how you’re feeling or what you’re doing, the memory of those seemingly meaningless ones can do you in. They haunt, they prickle and stab. They remind of the good times, the times you learned and grew, and the hard, painful times. Memories are often fleeting, drifting unbidden through your mind and, like sandy footprints in the ebbing tide, disappearing in an endless sea of thought. A hint of a scent, a fragment of a sentence, a few notes of a song – all can trigger memory. A remembrance can be priceless and often painful but always irreplaceable to its owner. They belong to you alone and help to keep yesterday alive.
Sometimes a memory catches you off guard with such a vengeance that you want to keep replaying the reel – and at the same time, never envision it again. Last week I saw a commercial for a made-for-tv version of the musical Hairspray which looked like a great production. Okay so far, right? Wrong. In that moment I was catapulted back to the first ‘big’ date my husband planned on his mission to woo me with front row seats to that Broadway show. Intermission saw him handing me a glass of wine as I waited interminably on the ladies room line (why are they ALWAYS so long?) and stuffing a show tee shirt in my hands on the way to an elegant after theater dinner. That man knew how to pull out all the stops! I wish I could say his ardor melted my stubborness that night, but sometimes a little slow to see the prize in front of me and it took a few more months for me to be ‘all in’.
Once upon another time, we had a candlelight dinner at one of the most gorgeous (and exclusive) sites on a Cape Cod beach. As we looked out the windowed wall, we saw a single musician playing his violin for a wedding on the sand below as the sun slowly sank into the twilight horizon. Four servers (yup, THAT kind of restaurant) hovered around us with gourmet delectables that became a major memory in our personal trove. The last time we visited we visited the Cape, my husband suggested we have dinner there again but I’m of the belief that memories like that first one can’t be replicated. Each memory holds its own distinct ecstasy or pain, created by elements that can’t be duplicated in their exactness. And only that exactness can equal the memory you hold priceless. I might have been totally wrong; maybe we would have made an equally good memory that next night. But I don’t think so. Some things belong to history and their particular place in it.
Unlike those we love – memories never die. And sometimes that’s all that remains. Sometimes, like today at the grocery counter, I wish I could forget. Dr. Seuss said ‘Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”.
True that, Dr. Suess.
Do memories help – or haunt you?
(I love conversation. Make some with me — with your ideas, thoughts…..)