Memories

Best Christmas Gift Ever

Posted on December 29, 2016. Filed under: Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Your words for the day:

  • Felicia = Latin for “happy things”
  • Mitsuko = Japanese for “child of light” (I prefer “sunshine from heaven”)

December 24, a long time ago, 10: 09 pm | Delivery room, a hospital in Houston, Texas

This was her mother’s first time in delivery.  Mine, as well.  Her mother did all the hard work while I just stood by for moral support.  Other than the stress of passing a slightly over-sized infant, the delivery was proceeding as one would expect…   excruciating, but, bearable.

I do not remember how long this ordeal took, but, it finally reached its conclusion.  There was a slight frenzy of activity among attendants punctuated by a tiny cry of protest at this unexpected indignity.  The medical staff noted the time (10:09 pm), then divided their duties between mother and infant while I concentrated on both.

Presently, the nurses approached me, smiles on their faces and holding a blanket-wrapped offering which I accepted with a big smile of my own.  Meeting my first child, my daughter, for the first time can only be described as “wondrous.”  I turned and proffered my gift to the real hero on this Christmas eve, her mother, who, of course, was more entitled to admire this tiny wonder than I.  Though worn from the strain, her joy was just as evident as mine.

I do not know what memories of that moment her mother kept, but, I am keenly aware of my own:  In my hands, just inches from my eyes, lay a tiny visage no longer complaining, but, quizzically dubious.  She was looking me in the eyes and on her left cheek, between eye and miniscule ear, a single teardrop.  As amazed as I was then, I have continued to marvel over the years at the strong spirit contained within so tiny a form.

She was far more than my first child.  Because of her, a strained marriage was given new life.  Because of her, she has a younger brother, and I, a wonderful son.  Because of her, I am privileged to see Tomorrow through the eyes of her children and her brother’s children.  Because of her, I have a reason to cry about all that I have missed in her life.

Happy Birthday, Sugar Bear.  I have loved you since I saw your very first tear and will continue to love you until my very last tear.

Twice I got to see my tomorrow.  This is the first one.

Twice I got to see my tomorrow. This is the first one.

Merry Christmas to you, your husband, and those two treasures of yours.  Have a happy New Year.

 

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Tomorrow’s Memory

Posted on August 18, 2014. Filed under: Memories, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , |

 

Of such is the kingdom of Heaven

Of such is the kingdom of Heaven

 

“Let the little ones come to me, for they represent the essence of heaven.”     Matt. 19:14, sorta

My mother’s house was a magnet for children.  Not surprising, though.  She, herself, was one of the 13 children her mother carried, and she made a good run at the baby count herself:  9 successful deliveries, 1 miscarriage.  Her decades-long devotion at her church was as a teacher in the pre-school range.  She loved children and being around them, and, in that respect, must have lived in Heaven here on Earth.

The one in this picture was a frequent visitor to Mother’s house.  My camera was in hand, and when I saw this pose, I thought, “How quickly this will pass.”  To preserve what almost immediately would become but a memory in a far tomorrow, I pointed my camera and recorded this moment in May of 1997…   just to be sure “far tomorrow” remembered.

 

 

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Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Posted on August 25, 2013. Filed under: Memories, Philosophy |

My two emissaries to Tomorrow.  Getting them born and getting started in life is without doubt the best thing I have done with my life.  The girl is the little one in the previous post.

My two emissaries to Tomorrow

My two emissaries to Tomorrow

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I Lost A Penny

Posted on August 30, 2012. Filed under: Alzheimer's, General Interest, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Drat!  I know it was here.  I tossed all those coins on top of the dresser when I came in.  A penny.  Something different about it caught my eye.  Wanted to examine it a bit closer when I got home.  Was it the date?  The color?  Some surface damage?  Was it even a penny?  Can’t remember which.  Ah, check the pants’ pockets; maybe it’s still in there.  Nope!  But, there is a worn spot in the pocket fabric.  Crap!  A hole big enough for it to fall through — and, the two dimes that I got with it.  Checked around the dresser; nothing.  Back-tracked my trail through the house to the car in the driveway.  Nothing.  Oh, well.  Just another memory that slipped away.  There’ll be other pennies and dimes.

Just another memory that slipped away.  Later, my mind  played with that thought.  One memory lost; others to be gained.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Years ago, in an “in-progress” manuscript (alluded to in a previous posting) I was considering the nature of SELF.  My conclusion, that the concept of “self” was the MIND’s answer to that persistent problem of MEMORY, should be no surprise to anyone.  We are what we remember we were.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

The concept of SELF is a sense of personal continuity.  But, how can there be a sense of continuity when there is only one moment in TIME of which we are ever aware, that little slice of EXISTENCE that we call NOW?  Where is continuity?

The sentient MIND is a creative organizer, and its answer to quantifying the clutter of “NOW piled on NOW” is…   YESTERDAY.  In that folder, all things past could be sequenced by event chronology, and, their impact on the NOW being experienced could be assessed.  Except that…   assaying creates another problem:  projections.  Having a continuous file of YESTERDAY to compare to NOW requires someplace to put the possible answers.  MIND then created a speculative file of projections labeled TOMORROW.

Yesterday.  Now.  Tomorrow.  The chain of continuity of “self.”  We don’t have to think about it; it’s all automatic.  In an instant, the MIND experiences, records, compares and projects events and their implications to our own fragile existences.  We accept it as a complete whole, a story with a beginning, middle, and an ending.  Yet, the only part of it that is real is NOW.  Everything else is fabricated

Life, whether real or fabricated, is the realm in which we exist, and MEMORY is the coin of that realm.  Our senses collect information, and short-term memory mints a shiny new coin to record the data, even installing hyperlinks to connect it to previously minted coins.  Then, it is carefully stored in a cyber-pocket wove on a warp of reality into a wondrous fabric — the biological neural net.  Through Life we stroll, listening to the jingle of those coins as they jostle about in our pockets, often reaching into the pocket, pulling out a coin, and considering it within its context as if it were NOW.  And, I thought of my Aunt J.

Some of us reach into the pocket in search of a coin that we know just has to be there, but, we can’t put our fingers on it.  We can find coins we know were acquired with it, but, the one we want cannot be located…   and, it never will be found, because that wondrous neural net has a tear in it, one that will grow ever larger.  One by one, the coinage of SELF will trickle away, leaving neither the certainty that is YESTERDAY nor the hope that is TOMORROW.  What is left is one lonely, confused entity trapped in NOW with neither identity nor landmarks, and destitute of the coinage that will buy fare to…   somewhere…???

I have known only three persons in my life who suffered through Alzheimer’s:  my best friend’s mother, a sister-in-law’s mother, and my Aunt J.  By way of that last sentence, they remain just as anonymous to you as they became to themselves.  As circumstance and distance would have it, I was not privy to their suffering; yet, just knowing of their journeys into that twilight is disconcerting.  How awful it must be for those who are designated to escort loved ones from a full, complete existence into that shadow world of confusion, self-doubt, anger, and — eventually — personal oblivion.

What point, this article?  None, really.  Just an observation about the fragility of personal existence and how that existence is often defined by creative illusion…

…and the unspoken beauty of those whose existences have defined each of us.  And I think of my Aunt J.

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Sorrow

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Yeah.  It’s not what I indicated would be the next topic.  I pretty much had “The Merger” composed, but before finalizing it, there was this distraction.  It wasn’t much at first, just a hint of…   something…   like the whisper made by a butterfly’s shadow as it flits along a sunlit wall.  Just that tiny focus of attention was enough, and, through that opening, zephyrs from other-when, laden with yesterday’s treasure, wended their gentle paths through my thoughts. 

Familiar faces, sounds, smells.  Like they were still here. Happy times, and not so happy times.  And, then, I am in front of the reason I avoid this place — that door.  The one that opens without my hand, the one that hides the endless, dark emptiness that all of us fear.  Again, it opened.  again I trembled and shook as it swallowed me, again the tears choked me, and again I silently screamed my useless anger to an unresponsive void.

I’m from a large family.  This month marks the passing of two of us, and next month that of another.  Some years ago, I wrote a poem after the youngest of use became the first to take this voyage.  Following is an excerpt of Pegasus (In Memoriam:  DKD)

Life’s morning, so fresh and bright, softly glowed from her waiting gaze; He knew not how soon the night for her would come and steal her days.

Time.  Memory.  Pain.  Regret.  The measured beat of sorrow’s song.   Time, memory, pain, regret — echoes left by a life now gone.

Sorrow is a concomitant of LIFE; you can’t sneak through without being touched by it.  Like passion, it is fed by mysterious springs from deep within the psyche, suddenly breaking loose and crashing like a storm surge along the beaches of our well-ordered lives.

Words.  We live by them.  But, sometimes, we just cry.

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The Missing Bookend

Posted on March 18, 2012. Filed under: Humor, Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

What kid doesn’t want a horse?  How many kids actually get a horse?  It’s not like you can keep them in the house or apartment, ’cause paper training is — to borrow a term from the canine scene — a real bitch.  Forget newspapers.  Think snow shovel.  While the aroma of those scoopings may be several degrees “more pleasant” than that of traditional carnivorous pets, I’m betting that, for tedium, sheer quantity trumps malodorous every time.  There are probably other disadvantages to keeping a 16-hand ungulate tethered to your bed post, but, I forget what they are right now.

The virtual horsey, though, is a staple of childhood.  It gets staked out in that place where every child spends most of its time, that realm of fantasy called imagination.  No snow shovels required there.  Those guys neither eat nor (in the words of televisions’s detective Adrian Monk) un-eat.  All they do is carry the child’s imagination into one adventure after another without the baggage of troublesome chores.

From my childhood, I recall a set of bookends that were cast in metal into the shape of a saddled horse nibbling grass from around its front feet.  Not the best pose for riding into adventure, but, it was workable.  With index- and middle finger astraddle the saddle,  the free hand took that steed in a gallop into all sorts of action.  Yes, indeed, I did get that horse my child-side always wanted.

But there was a rift between fantasy and reality.  My valiant steed had but a single chore to do, and, that was to keep my parents’ books arranged neatly on the shelf.   Going out to play with me left that single chore undone, and, those books sorta got in a state of disarry.  When adventure time was done, I had to straighten those books and slip that bookend back into place so that order and neatness reigned again.  And, I wouldn’t get grounded.

Flash forward a couple of decades (eh, maybe more), and look back at that bookshelf in both a state of order and a state of disarray.  Two bookends equaled order and neatness; one bookend, however, had order near it, but, the farther out you went from it, apparent order became blurred in a heap.  And, I thought…

Life is what happens between two bookends, birth and death.  The longer I travel the road of LIFE, more and more “books” are left behind me.  At some point, the disarray of NOW sort of props up the books behind me so that I can see childhood, teens, military service, whatever, as clean-cut accounts of my journey.  But, the muck of the recent past and the uncertainty inherent in NOW lends an air of disorder to my present path, and, that breeds angst, frustration, hope, satisfaction…??   Hey!  That’s LIFE, isn’t it?  And, my life only has one bookend…

Now, where’s that bottle?  Got the glass.  Ah, there it is!  A red wine from Georgia (the country, not the state).  Pour it into the glass…  Okay!  A toast to that missing bookend:  “May your playtime last a long, long time.  Don’t take it personal, but, that chaotic bookshelf looks just fine without you.”

Next up:  Pismire

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