Don't Walk Down Memory Lane In Bare Feet
by James Snyder
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While my car was being serviced recently, I spent some time in the waiting room chatting with a few of the patrons who happened to be there on a similar mission. During our vigorous repartee, we got around to all the main issues of the day and how they could be solved if only those in authority would listen to us.
It is amusing to me that those who have no authority have all the answers and those who have all of the authority have no answers. If only these two groups could join most of the world’s problems could be solved.
The “car repair shop gang” was making tremendous progress in solving the world’s problems and I was happy with my contribution. I was reminded of the saying I used to hear when I was a kid. “The whole world is crazy but me and thee, and sometimes I have my doubts about thee.” I know my ideas will work, I’m just not sure I share that confidence with others.
In the midst of all of this discussion, a young girl began expostulating on the “good old days,” when she was young and going to school. She was quite energetic in her comments and said things such as, “Our teachers never ...” And, “Our teachers always ...” And, “We were never allowed to ...” She ended her diatribe by saying, “So much has changed since I was in high school. The whole world is just crazy.”
We just stared at her and I’m sure we all had the same idea but it was left to me to do something about it. I know it is not something a gentleman is supposed to ask a lady, but I believe the situation warranted such a question. There are times when people need to step up to the bat and do their part.
Finally, putting chivalry aside, I asked the question on every other patron’s mind. “Young lady, how old are you?” I had an idea but wanted to hear it from the “horse’s mouth,” so to speak.
Without blinking an eye or missing a beat she simply said, “Two weeks ago I turned 19.”
In my mind, anyone who has been 19 for only two weeks does not have any “good ole days” to speak of, especially in public. I know it shows a flaw in my character, but that’s just the way I feel. There is something sacred about the phrase “good old days” precluding such frivolous involvement in something so sacred.
Nobody has the right to inflict on other people his or her “good old days” until after celebrating his or her 70th birthday. By then, people will assume senility has taken root, and not give it a second thought.
Some people talk about the “good old days” as if they in fact were good old days. They may have been old, but good? I don’t think so. The only good thing about the good old days is that they are long past. It’s easy to romanticize about things we only half remember. The problem is, which half am I remembering?
The quandary I have in this area is simply, how do I know my mind has not been a victim of cross-pollination with some other person’s memories? How can I be sure that my memories are exclusively mine?
I once remember having my own opinion, but that was in my PM days (pre-marriage). Once a man becomes a husband, he is no longer in full possession of his senses or faculties. All he has then are memories n and the idea that they may not be all his is quite disconcerting.
Some evidence suggests my memories are not exclusively mine. For instance, why does my wife have a different slant on my memories? I once told her quite sternly, “stay out of my memories.” Upon which, she gave me something I won’t soon forget.
My memory is so good I can remember things that never happened. It’s when I forget things that happened that gets me into trouble.
One strange thing about my memories is the older I get, the better I used to be. If I live long enough, I just might remember being good. My memories, strange enough, are much more vivid when I’m not around people who were present at the time of the remembering.
Along this line, my mind sometimes plays games with me. I don’t mind a good game of checkers or UNO; it’s the “guess the name of the person talking to you right now” game I hate, because I never win.
By the time a person has reached the age of 50, the brain has no more space for new memories; therefore, it must make the most of the memories in stock.
I have probably forgotten more in my life than my memories show. I take comfort in the fact that God does not forget as I do.
David, the Psalmist, understood this when he wrote: “Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.” (Psalms 77:9-12 KJV.)
The only thing I need to remember is God has not forgotten me.
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