Just a handful of memories

 

Our heat wave seems to have broken. It’s below 80 this morning for the first time in over a week. Clouds are gathering for a welcome summer storm.

 

I think the reason we’re so darned interested in the weather has less to do with our plans and personal comfort than it does our inability to notice the passing of time. If the weather never changed we would seem to be living the same day over and over, though we age rapidly.

When I was young I thought it funny, and to be honest more than just slightly annoying, that the older people in my life told the same stories time and again. My dad did that. His dad, too. And it seemed to me the older people got the more often they retold a dwindling number of their personal adventures. Now I find myself doing it and often apologizing to my kids as a disclaimer. “I may have already told you this,” I’ll say, but then I’ll go ahead and tell it again anyway.

 

The truth is, as wonderful as a long life can be we are pathetically short on memories.We remember the highlights of our lives as if they were moments that stand out from old movies. The rest of it seems to be bits and pieces of black and white images, remembered without context or emotional texture. This is why we take so darned many pictures, I guess, to try to hold onto special moments and even the ones we know will be deemed insignificant or forgotten altogether a short time from now.

We mark the passing of our lives by changes in the weather and by how fast the kids grow up.

People come and go.

Sixty, seventy, eighty years. Life sounds long but lives fast. And if we’ve done it right we are vastly wiser and happier for all the great lessons we’ve absorbed, the good with the bad; the monumental and the insignificant. They add up to an existence we can rest assured was meaningful. The world would be a bit less joyful if you or I had never passed this way.

Oddly, though, as miraculous as we are we wind up retelling stories.

We only have a handful of memories.

Author: Dave

Dave Williams is a radio news/talk personality originally from Sacramento, now living in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Carolann. They have two sons and grandsons living in L.A.

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