Memory, Memories and Memorial Day

"If I knew things would no longer be, I would have tried to remember better."

I've been having a recurring dream lately. I'm sitting at my writing desk happily pecking away at the keyboard with loud music playing in the background and I am smiling to myself about some clever observation I just made. The only problem is that every time I look at the screen, it's just a blank white space. No matter what I do, none of my witty ditties are showing up.  I guess it's fair to say that would be a writer’s nightmare!

Fortunately, the dream has not become a reality, other than the occasional, klutzy inadvertent deletion. The problem is that as my memory grows fuzzier as the years click by, those deletions are pretty much gone forever. As time goes on, I’m getting very possessive about my memories.

There is a great line from a wonderful 1990 movie titled Avalon. The wizened patriarch is a first generation immigrant in Baltimore and as he ages he sees his family's traditions melt away.

"If I knew things would no longer be, I would have tried to remember better," he said.

The lovely Kathy mentioned this quote as we were hurtling up north for an early Memorial Day escape. We were talking about aging and she asked me if I could pick one day, on ordinary day from my past, what day would I pick? My choice was a day at our cottage at Bass Lake, when our children were young enough that they were still all "ours." 

Kathy noted that at our age, we're pretty much "running on the last quarter tank of gas."

"That's not a bad thing," she said. "It's just that you know there's not going to be another gas station before the last exit, so you better enjoy the ride."

Yes, I do understand I live with a wise woman. Although she also recently remarked that "the turtles are playing in the ball fields of life." I'm still pondering that one.

Our discussion was a reminder that memories are made embracing life at full speed and that pace quickens as we age, gracefully or otherwise. Memorial Day is a good time to embrace those memories. 

It's easy to remember my Dad on this holiday dedicated to those who fought for our nation's unparalleled freedom.  Dad was a quiet Marine, who learned war should always be a last resort from his combat experience on Guadalcanal in WWII.

When I visit my Dad's grave, I always put a quarter or two on his marker. It's my homage for the quarters that were carefully metered out as allowance for our weekly chores.

I miss my Dad.

One of the reasons I write is it's a way to capture my favorite memories, share them and revisit them from time-to-time. Not to mention, it's my version of the stories that are being memorialized. 

I highly recommend writing as a source of good, clean fun and entertainment and it's free! I see writing as an akin to a free vacation. You get to conjure up a favorite memory, adventure, childhood hijinks or family story and gussy it up for others to enjoy as well.  

If you've ever thought about writing, but for whatever reason never put your fingers to the keyboard to get started, I have an insider tip for you. My friend and writing colleague is putting on a writing workshop that may be a great first step for you.

Judy Davids posted info on . As noted, the class fills up quickly, so keep an eye out for future workshops. I view Cindy as a writer's best friend. She is fearlessly unselfish in helping dedicated, fledgling writers learn the craft. But learning the craft is not for the faint of heart. I still have an ear that starts twitching when I recall my editor’s first review of my novel.  Whoa Nelly!

For contact info, visit www.ROPL.org or this link: . 

I highly recommend any workshop or seminar that involves Cindy.

As our Memorial Day weekend concluded, Kathy and I did find a way to create another memorable memory.  Our canoe disappeared from our lake about a year ago.  (Who steals a canoe? I mean, c'mon!) We ventured into town to buy a new one on sale, but learned that due to liability issues, the young sales associates wouldn't assist in securing the new canoe to our intrepid F-150 truck.  That should have been a tip-off.

Did I mention that I am an idiot-savant handyman, minus the savant part? You can take a gander at the picture accompanying this column to see how you can make an F-150 fly. I'm fairly sure I invented a perfectly aerodynamic flying truck! 

I found that at exactly 52 miles per hour that the front wheels of the truck would lift off the ground. I'll leave it to the engineers at Ford to determine at what speed the truck would go airborne.

Ah, you can't make this stuff up!

It's Tuesday: Let's go!

Gerry Boylan is the author of the novel Getting There and the short story collection Gerry Tale. Both books are available at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Gerry-Boylan/e/B003VZE7UU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0  
Visit Gerry’s website: http://www.gerryboylan.com

Elvis Tomaszycki May 29, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I plan to run-on-fumes and cross the finish line with a few dents, rust spots and creaks. ps. Your mum hasn't aged a day-
Steve Crepeau May 29, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Thanks for the reminder of how powerful a good memory can be!
Judy Davids May 29, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Gerry, I ALWAYS love your stories and now I see why you do it. We are lucky to have you at Patch. And yes, Cindy La Ferle rocks. Anyone who has time to take her workshop should.
gboylan@aol.com May 29, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Thanks for the comments...I am a little disappointed no one called me out on the flying truck!
Dan Varner May 29, 2012 at 11:39 PM
"The turtles are playing in the ball fields of life!" I have no idea what it means, but it is hysterical.


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