Memories Are Built In An Instant, But They Last Forever

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

The Best Dreams Are the Ones We Share

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Every Monday, I get to spend a couple of hours with my two youngest grandchildren. At the ages of 3 and 4, they can be a handful. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of the energy they expend so readily, with plenty more in reserve. Thankfully, most of that energy is heartwarming and entertaining. And when we do have a test of wills, they usually let me think I won.

It’s a fun age, mostly because they still crave interaction with the old folks. When I got home yesterday, I became a jungle gym as they took turns bouncing into my lap so we could sing a wacky song. As soon as one was done, they’d move out of the way for their sibling to take a turn. It was steady back and forth for a good fifteen minutes. After that, they just wanted to cuddle.

And I’ll be honest, at 61, my energy level just isn’t what it once was. Their older brother will be 19 in a week, and he got the best part of me in that respect. We were together all the time, and it was only in the last several years that Grandpa started to peter out a little. But I still tried to keep up. They’re only young once.

Then came the age of throwing a football, shooting hoops, and all-day outings to the local theme park. We did pretty much everything together and, even though he wore me out completely, it was some of the best days of my life. I only wish I had that much energy to share with his cousin and younger siblings.

I mention this because, as we talk about our dreams and things we want to accomplish, those dreams almost always include the people we care about the most. It’s no secret that I want a motorhome. That’s a personal goal that I plan to accomplish within the next year.

And I don’t want to park it in front of the house to make the neighbors jealous. Unless they happen to be on the front porch as we pull up long enough to pack for the next trip, they’ll never see it. Because we plan to spend our time traveling – meeting new people, seeing new places, and enjoying new adventures. Otherwise, I could just buy a lawn chair and yell at passing kids to stay off the grass.

But here’s the thing – when I think of the places I’d like to explore in that motorhome, I see my wife and grandchildren right there beside me. Okay, my daughters too, but they may have to sleep in a tent. Convertible dinettes are made for kids, not adults, and I’m not giving up my bed for anyone.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. But all joking aside, none of the dreams I have for my remaining years on this planet mean anything unless I can share them with the people closest to me. And I’d venture to say that’s true for most of us. Sure, there are things we enjoy doing alone. But, for the most part, it’s always better if we can share those things with somebody special.

Friday, I challenged you to define your dreams, to write them on paper and even try to get pictures. But, without considering the people you want to share those things with, they’re little more than words and pictures. There’s a reason cruise ship advertisements show families having the time of their life. It’s because nobody wants to buy a ticket for a ride on a boat. They want the adventure.

So, write your own commercial. Visualize not only your dream, but the people you want to share it with. Picture them enjoying every new adventure with you. Sitting by the campfire, snorkeling off the coast, hiking up a mountain trail, enjoying an afternoon cookout in the back yard, or simply gazing at a herd of bison or the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

I have a picture of a motorhome over my desk. I see it almost every day. But that picture alone isn’t enough. It’s the image of my wife gazing through the windshield at things she’s never seen before, and my grandchildren enjoying experiences they’ll remember a lifetime – those are the visions that drive me to make it happen.

Most dreams don’t mean much unless we can share them with others. So, as you picture your dream, be sure to include the people who make it important. Make them an integral part of it. Because, once you have that vision clearly in mind, there’s not much that can stand in your way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved