Memories From the Balcony – Intro

I am starting this here with a new journal. Memories From the Balcony is nothing more than a warm invitation. I will set aside the sadness and the hardships and share with you a few details of life. This journal is made to show nostalgia and the warmth of our memory.
My aim is to make this relatable as well as visual. In which case, I want you to read what I leave here; but more, I want you to feel this. I want you to see this. I want you to think about the honeysuckle bushes and the way they smell. I want you to come to a picture in your head and at the same time, I want you to connect this to memories of your own.
My intention here is to bring you a memory and a warmhearted smile.

I will tell you a story about a hot and sticky summer evening after being in a hayfield. We worked the farmland for hours and the sweat was unthinkable. The sun was hot and the day was long. But after working, we drank country-style lemonade and swam in a little pond. Although this place was not the optimal best, I can say that in my youth, regardless of all that happened or anything I did or went through, I don’t think I ever felt as free or as wonderful as I did that evening.
It was just before sunset.

We’ve seen enough in this world. We’ve all experienced the bullshit, enough so that it’s easy for us to lose sight of the grand or more wonderful things.
I don’t want to lose sight of anything else,
not anymore.

Think of it . . .
You can hear the sound of people laughing, glasses being clanked and the somewhat late night hustle of a happy bar room chatter as the background noise of a memory that can never fade. If you think about this, I assume you’ll think about the low lights and the neon signs in a small to somewhat midsize tavern or a local saloon.

If you think about this, maybe you’re thinking of a place in a local town or maybe someplace else.
Maybe like somewhere in Memphis, which I’ve never been to. But I’ve certainly imagined a place like this.
Or perhaps a place in Maryland where people smile and say random crazy things like, “hello” which, to me as a New Yorkers, I agree this is simple enough. Yet, random “hellos” are wild in the sense that it’s somewhat rare to find such an open stream of common friendliness. No strings attached.

Think of it.
Think of the strips or the popular places in different unknown towns where the term “happy hour” still has its place. While I myself am not a drinker, this does not mean that I do not appreciate the fun or the connection of a place where the wings are hot and the food is good.

I like a place with a good jukebox vibe. I like a place where the music is not overwhelming; but instead, the songs from our youth or from even before our time can grace the speakers and give us a feeling of both camaraderie and nostalgia.
Do you remember the song Brown-Eyed Girl?
Me too
Or when Neil Diamond sang Sweet Caroline. 

I can certainly relate to the old memories and the names of places in which, at one point, it was a guarantee that I would either be at say, Brother Jimmy’s on 3rd Avenue.
Or wait, what about Live Psychic over on 84th?
I used to like that place. For some reason, the bouncer assumed he knew me. He’d welcome me in and take me off the line and put me right through the door – only later, I realized that he assumed I was the brother of someone famous.
He told me, “Don’t worry. No one will ever bother you here. Not while I’m on duty.”

But still – give me the summer nights down by the water. Give me the sights of tanned people out after a day of sunning their skin or sitting in the warmth of the sun. Give me the beach days. Or give me the three-day weekend memories of a weekend packed with nothing else but carefree abandon.
Give me the right to think how work is for another day and in the mix, the only thing that’s important is the music we play, how loud we can laugh, how often we can dance and how deeply we can make our mark in this big round thing we call the world.

I say that in order to be sane and to keep our sanity, every once in a while you have to go absolutely fucking nuts.
At least once or twice a year, there has to be a big extravaganza. There has to be a moment to look forward to or a celebration in which we plant the seeds of our memory. 

I want this.
I want to build new memories too. I want to do this like we did when we were young. Or, I want to do this like we did when everyone was still alive. This way, I can be on a long drive somewhere – I can be heading to a place which is absolutely nowhere and as I drive, my mind can be in a strange disconnect. My body has taken over on autopilot. I can be driving and listening to the radio and somehow a song comes on the radio and instantly I am right back to where we were at the time.
I can smell the air. I can feel the rush. I can see the lights and the smiles and I can remember the laughter which is what I’ll need at my final hours. I’ll need these thoughts of absolute wild insanity to keep me safe and warm before I sleep.

There’s a song called Free Four by The Pink Floyd.
“The memories of a man in his old age are the deeds of a man in his prime.”
I get that.

I don’t know where or what or if there’s a fountain of youth.
I don’t know if I am closer to the end of my road or if my gas tank is still full and age is only a number.
However, I do know that I want to build the fabric for new memories so that in times when the air is chilled, I can wrap myself in the fancy warmth of a memory so perfect that I will never feel the cold again.

They say that youth is wasted on the young because in youth, we are unable to see what we have. Therefore, we waste valuable moments of precious time because we assume that we have a plethora of tomorrows, just ahead, and waiting for us. Maybe we do have this (when we’re young).

Maybe age is only a number. Or, maybe I’m right about this.
Maybe I’m right about the need to go absolutely crazy sometimes –

Come to think of it, I can remember going to a show at Madison Square Garden. I saw a band that was all the rage when I was in my 20’s. Of course, they were much older now. I’m older too.
I can remember when the show ended. I can remember the feeling of nostalgia and how the sentiment filled the air.

I can remember seeing a group of women who were around the same age as me. I could tell they knew the band from way back when.
They stood at the stage after the show, emotional, holding each other like dear friends would comfort one another. This was their celebration. This was a moment that was bigger than the simple thought of a few fans who gathered at the stage. They wept happily because they saw their favorite band – together.
But this is more than that.
No, this was a statement of survival. These were four women who went through the world and still they survived. They lived through everything and found their ticket to endurance and, somehow, they made their way through life, surviving, one day at a time and lived to tell about it. 

Nothing in the world will ever take this memory from them. Not even death can die in memories like this. No one can hurt this or scratch the surface. No, this memory will forever be pristine and perfect because they chose to make it so.

No matter where you go or where you are and no matter how old you are, please – never forget to be young again.
Never forget what binds us together and at all points possible – never forget what it feels like to sing or dance or to sit with your friends and build the memories that can never die.

This way, a part of us will live forever.
Always . . .

. . . And eternally

4 thoughts on “Memories From the Balcony – Intro

      • I could actually feel it. I sang ‘brown eyed girl’ in my head. You have no idea how much I needed to read that. Sometimes, I feel lost or like it’s just me out here thinking all these random things. That there can’t possibly be another person out there who feels this or that way. Then I somehow find a little reminder, I’m not alone. Your writing is beautiful!

      • I can relate.
        I’ve learned a lot about the constructs of my mind and how my thoughts can take me in a thousand different directions.
        Writers write what they have to say
        I’m pretty sure that’s from Hemingway
        But either way. It’s true
        Thanks for your words.
        It ain’t easy to bleed so openly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.