There is a song I listen to sometimes. I watch a video that comes with it, which is not the artist’s video but still, the video fits the feeling. This is not a music video at all. Instead, this is someone that put their home video to the song by Jerry Garcia, which is absolutely perfect.
I use this combination of music and video to detach for a while. I let the music set in so I can unwind. I watch the old video because it reminds me of a time, like when we were young and the world was more of a technicolor place to me. the 70’s were the times. The Old Man had sideburns and people wore shirts with wide collars. We were approaching the 80’s and me, I was this little hopeful kid, just trying to find my way.
The whole world was this huge thing. Life was safer back then. It was safer to think and to dream and breathe and be a kid, —or to go outside, or play in the park and swing on a swing set. There was a different feel about the times because as crazy as they might have been, still, we were somehow protected.
I have this memory of the first time I ever ran through a field to lift a kite in the air. And to me, this was the most amazing thing —to run with a string in my hand, to watch the kite lift off and then hang in the sky, to run with the wind on my face, and to be so unbelievably young and amazed by such simple, ordinary things.
These are the years. This is where it all started. This is where we grow from and me, this was me, little as ever, eager to see, think, learn and know what it’s like to run as fast as I could because of a new pair of sneakers.
Maybe this is why kids don’t trust grownups. Maybe kids don’t trust grownups because they get in the way of ideas and they break our hopes by interrupting them with doses of reality. Or maybe it was the older kids. Maybe the older kids were angry there was no Santa or Tooth Fairy and since there was none for them, maybe they ruined it for little kids.
I’m not sure which is which but I do know that there was a time when I honestly believed I could run faster because I got a new pair of sneakers. I thought I could jump higher, run faster, and play better.
(See what I mean about the interruptions of reality?)
Bless them. Bless us. Bless the days before technology. Bless the simple times when we were younger and wore the terrible fashions of our time. Bless the music we grew up with. Bless the good memories and even the bad ones because they taught us to differentiate between the two.
Bless the first time I ever heard an album play on a record player. And bless this time of year and the smell of autumn leaves or the feel of a warm sweater in the cold morning. Bless the feel of the wind in my hair in the middle of an empty field, covered in grass and empty of sins. Bless the memory of me, standing there beneath an early morning sky, just breaking away from the dawn and strips of clouds bore the colors of the sunrise. God, it was cold but yet, there is something so incredibly warm about this memory. I couldn’t have been more than say, six or maybe seven. There was frost on the ground. And I don’t know why I was there. I just know I was and that I am grateful because of this.
Bless us and our memories. Bless us and our childhood bedrooms and all the good secrets that dwelled within them. Be it ever so humble, bless our beginnings. Bless the times when we were all in the same room and watching television as if it were this incredible thing to watch a television show together as a family.
I remember when the season changed and how on the first cool night, some of the homes had fireplaces. You could smell them burning up through the chimneys and piping up to the outside air. I remember this.
I remember the favorite takeout foods that we occasionally splurged with. I swear this was like a huge household event.
Everyone was happy because the food was there. And we ate until we were full. We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. Not another bite. But then dessert came out and of course, there’s always room for dessert.
I miss the family gatherings. In fact, I miss them the most. I miss the legends of my family. I miss their hugs when they came through the door and the stories they would tell from before I was born.
I miss the plates of food on the table and the sounds of everyone eating and talking. I can remember looking around and came to an understanding; as if I knew that someday this would be a memory that I’d have to cherish.
I miss the days when every seat was filled with the right person. And I don’t miss the years when some of the seats were empty. I was too young to understand why.
There were so many things I wished I’d hung onto. There are pictures I wish I could see right now but they’re gone. They are the pictures of when I was too young to remember and too young to inquire.
There are pictures of holiday events and weddings that were before my time. And there they were, my family. All of them so perfectly young and perfectly preserved in a colorized photograph.
I think we take way too much for granted. I think the problem is we learn about this too late. It is sad though and both beautiful and painful. The memories, I mean.
I am grateful that I have what I had instead of missing out on everything. I am the son of my Mother and Father. I am my history and my past and my future with hopes to have more. I want to expand upon this so that I have more to file in this index I call my memory. I want to see more and taste more and I don’t want to give into another second of resentment of problems that go far beyond my control. I have accepted the terms that not everything lasts forever. People come and go and people argue and split. I understand this. I understand that not everything matches and oftentimes, things split because they have to. People do this all the time. I have come to accept this but moreover, I have come to understand that I have to learn to enjoy every morsel of time.
It’s sort of like . . .
Do you remember your favorite meal as a child? Do you remember a plate so full and then so empty because you ate everything on it, and not a crumb left, not a smear of gravy or sauce because you ate everything up? I think life is supposed to be lived this way too. Enjoy every piece of it.
I think we find this out as we grow. I think we find this out as we lose people in life, —and whether we lose people to age or divorce or to a split in the family tree, I think we wake up at some point and realize the windows of opportunity were missed because our attention was spent on wasteful ideas.
Life is so incredibly brief. And so are Sunday dinners. So are the family gatherings, which do not go on forever. So are the mistakes we’ve made. And so is time because although ongoing, our time is limited.
I would give anything for a plate of your chicken cutlets and your mashed potatoes right now. I would give anything for a cup of your coffee the way you made it. I would give anything for a few slices of your cinnamon toast. And well, it wasn’t the food as much as it was the way you put the plate in front of me. And it wasn’t the plate either so much as it was the love that came with it. And it was the love. It was the heartfelt feeling. It was the perfect way to forget about everything else in the world and for the moment, nothing else mattered.
I found one of my older posts about a song that was sung by you sometimes. And Grandma too. She used to sing it to me when I was small.
The song went “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter. And make believe it came from you”.
I guess maybe that is what this is. Maybe this is why I write as much as I do. Maybe this is all I have to help me embrace my memories. This is how I can remember there were some truly amazing times and challenge the ideas of when things were less than joyful, which, again, this is why we have good times and bad times to embellish the contrast between the two.
I don’t look through the pictures so much anymore. No, I’d rather close my eyes and dream. I’d rather close my eyes and remember what it was like when everyone was home.
I did something the other night, Mom. I did something good. I wish you could see what your baby boy was up to. I mean, I know you can. I guess what I’m trying to say is it would be nice if the seat wasn’t empty and you could come for a visit. I swear I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of this. Time is too precious.
Anyways, it is almost sunup here on my side of the mountain. I’m going to finish my coffee and watch the sky change. I miss you. And I love you.
I will write again soon.