Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.
For those of us in the United States, we’re entering the heaviest travel week of the year. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that brings the most people home. As the song says, over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. I remember those days, and I miss them.
Waking up at Grandma’s always came with smells I’ll never forget. Breakfast on the stove, a pot of coffee waiting to be poured, and logs crackling in the fireplace. Okay, and there was that one year when one of the bedrooms was being used as an incubator for about fifty baby chickens. That one came with a smell I’m happy to forget. But they were fun to play with.
Depending on the calendar, Thanksgiving always comes pretty close to my birthday (sometimes they’re on the same day), so that made the trip to Grandma’s even more special. Most of the day, we’d be outside running around the farm, walking through the woods, or shooting my BB gun. That was the only time of year I was allowed to touch it.
And you never knew how many aunts, uncles, and cousins would pile into that little three-bedroom house. There were times we had more than 20 people there. Sometimes, a few of us would sleep in the cars. That was back when station wagons were still a thing. And with one bathroom in that house, there was never any grass growing behind the barn. For the boys, that was a mandate.
When I think of the best times in my life, those days always come to mind. It was a simple life, with simple pleasures. As the adults would sit around the table playing dominoes, we’d find a quiet corner to tell spooky stories and try to get one good channel on TV. I guess it wasn’t all fun and games, but the other times have just slipped from my memory and the good parts are all that’s left.
I think about those days often, usually when I come into the house on a weekend and the smell of bacon is lingering in the air. Of all the sensory reminders of our youth, smells probably top the list of things that can instantly take us back to an earlier day. I also like driving through small towns where all the light poles are decorated with wreaths and huge candy canes. It just makes me feel good.
It’s natural to gravitate toward those things that remind us of a simpler time in life. And, to be fair, I know some folks don’t have a lot of those memories. So, they have to create new memories today that they can reflect on years from now. It’s never too late. But it does take effort.
Like most things in life, we can’t create a lot of memories just sitting around in front of the TV while the kids play video games on a tablet. No conversation, no interaction – just sitting around exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, completely oblivious to the existence of others.
Yet, whenever we turn on the news to hear another story about the worst in human behavior, the first things we blame are upbringing and a lack of values. And the whole time, our kids are sitting across the room with their face buried in an electronic device of some kind that’s giving them the only real source of companionship they’ll have all day. Do we see a problem here?
And those values come through the very things that formed our most cherished childhood memories. We owe it to our kids and all those around us to help them build memories of their own – times they’ll look back on with a gentle smile and a warm heart. Those memories are will help shape their innermost values, good or bad. So, it’s worth whatever it takes to make those memories positive.
Memories can come at any time of year – we don’t have to wait for holidays. A few minutes singing silly songs or reading a book together; a family picnic, or just a walk in the park; games at the table after dinner – you know, a meal where everybody sat down together. All of these things build memories, and those memories will stay with us a long time. And those memories build values.
But, the thing about memories is that the best ones will always include other people. We can’t build fond memories in a vacuum. So, spend a little time building memories with those around you – your family, your neighbors, even perfect strangers. Your memories will become their memories, so it’s two for the price of one. Make those memories positive, and everybody wins.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved