Summer of ’78
Everyone has memories of this or that event in time in their lives. Some milestone or another. Most of my memory comes to me as if I was squinting to peek through a small hole in a privacy fence. I was never a fan of pictures growing up, and even now I do not trust them much. My thought was that if something was worth remembering, I would do so at some point in time without the aid of a photograph.
Of course, I grew up in a time when a Kodak 110 was about the only technology a child could be trusted with. Click. Turn the dial. Twenty-two more pictures left. You had to think a little about what you were trying to capture on film. For better or worse, it was different than the gigabytes of images you can capture in an instant with cameras in the pockets of almost every adult and a large majority of children today. Perhaps we have forgotten how to live because of our compulsive desire to “capture life” on our phones.
With that said, I admit, my memories are in large part, not image based. There is the smell of the fresh cut grass around Fountain City Ball Park. There is the feeling I got when after catching a fly ball, the coach offered some sort of praise. It was the pride that came with the accomplishment of finding a four leaf clover before my dad in between a double header. And as strange as it sounds, it is the taste of the mustard on a chili dog from Smoky Mountain Market which we bought “five for a dollar”. The hug of my mother, the hand of my father resting on my shoulder, the dark of a night filled with “Foxes and Hounds” with my sister and friends.
I go back there from time to time in my mind. I am glad I did not know then what I know now. By the same token, I am glad I do not know now what I will in ten years. Pictures are for the ones that need a push to remember the good or bad times. That is fine. What takes me back is a taste, a smell, a voice, a person going through what I may have gone through back in the day. And as tempting as it is to spend the rest of my days in the past, where I tend to remember only the good, it is also good to take a deep breath and see the beauty of today. And what that beauty is for me may not be what it is for you. That is fine, too.
What I would like more than anything is to be a part of making someone’s memory of today as good as the memories I have of the past. If my smile could do for someone what the smiles I have captured in my mind from the past have done for me. If my conversations could leave someone happier than when we began speaking. If the love I have received could be shared with others in a way that they may not have realized they received it until years later. My hope is that what I do today might make someone’s 2017 as meaningful as my summer of ’78. So may I keep the good of what I have been through tucked away in my soul to enjoy and create in others good for them to tuck away in their souls as well.