As children the two brothers were happy

their imaginations flowed with ease

when, in a box and a basket, they were pirates

who sailed the seven seas…


Amassing a great fortune

a treasure so plentiful and grand

and when they discovered a secret cove

they buried it in the sand


They took only what they needed

of the jewelry and the gold

vowing one day to return

perhaps when they were old.


Return to reclaim their fortune

their treasure chest so grand…

the one they left when they were children

buried in the sand…


The two young pirates have grown old now

as they remember now…with ease

when in a box and a basket they were pirates

who sailed the seven seas…


And they smile as they both realize…

their memories are strong….

and the treasure they amassed when they were children

has been with them all along.

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I was leafing through my mom’s old bible that’s sat on our shelf since she died

when two pieces of paper floated out and landed by my side


Two old photos I hadn’t seen before…photos I never knew she had…

Photos of two soldiers…one my mom and one my dad.


On the back of the two photos…five words in faded grey

written in each other’s hand…’you take my breath away”


Photos they must have given each other before war tore them apart

Photos that, while in their youth, showed the essence of their hearts. 


I imagine they kept these photos with them…to help see them through the war

I imagine they kept them near their hearts…like so many soldiers had before.


And when they returned home again…safe, secure…unharmed…

the pictures were not needed for they had each others arms…


So they found a final resting place- their job was now complete..

in a page in Mom’s old bible…until they landed at my feet…


Two photos from a time I didi not know them…when their love was new and strong

Two photos that…after reading them…I tucked back where they belong.


Perhaps it’s a bit egotistical of me…and certainly it’s wrong

but I never thought much about my parents lives before I came along…


But reading the back of those two photos…

from another time…

another day…

made me smile for a moment 

as they took my breath away.

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“Granddad, how come you have so many wrinkles on your face?”

She asked as he tucked her into bed.

“I don’t think of them a wrinkles…more like waves of life.” He said.


“Each wave carries with it a thought, an emotion a feeling

It’s own memory.”

Then he leaned his face down close to hers…

“Touch one and you’ll see.”


She touched a wave, he smiled, 

“Oh that one is really good.

That’s the day I asked your Grandma to marry me

that same day…she said she would.”


She touched another one.  Granddad closed his eyes.

“That one happened not too long ago…it was in the early morn.

That’s the first time I set eyes on you…the day when you were born.”


She touched another and in her mind it’s the first time her Granddad ever cried.

“That’s a sad one.” He whispered in her ear. “It’s the day your GreatGranddad died.”


She hesitated before touching another one…

“Is there anyway to know Grandad…

which memories are the happy ones and which ones are the sad?”


“No there isn’t.” Her Grandad said. “But there’s no need to fear

for every life, if it’s well lived, has it’s share of laughter, joy and tears.”


“When it comes to memories…happy…sad…memories big…or small

our waves of life do not distinguish…they record them all.”


She continued touching her granddad’s waves and each time out a memory would seep

and he kept telling her stories until she faded off to sleep.


Now whenever her granddad comes to visit…

as he tucks her in…

after they embrace….

He smiles as he asks if she’d like him to read her a Fairy Tale…

knowing her answer…

”No, Granddad I’d rather read your face.”

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Have you ever wondered once a memory is made if anyone really knows

where that memory ends up…where that memory goes?


Does it flow into our brain?  Is that where memories start?

If so, then how is it that some memories find their way into our heart?


The other morning I was walking…the orange blossoms in full bloom

when I was reminded of my Grandma…they smelled like her perfume.


Soon a memory of her popped up…then another memory would stir

and before I knew it there I was…awash…in memories of her.


It was as if the scent of orange blossoms opened a faucet

a spigot…or a spout

and I had to smile as memories of Grandma came quickly flowing out.


I stood there for a while as memory after memory came to me

picking them out of the air…like oranges off a tree.


Memories of her stayed with me a while as I went about my day

some lingered longer than others before eventually fading away.


And this led me to wonder as the memories of Grandma faded

as the last one lost it’s glow

where did those memories come from…and where did those memories go?


Are memories patiently waiting…always nearby…hanging around

eager to be called up by a random smell…a sight…a sound?


And then I thought…I don’t need to know…

it’s really none of my concern…

where they come from…

or where they go…

as long as they return.

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Each generation has its own music imprinted on its soul with all the emotions that it brings.

We have the beats we like to dance to and the songs we like to sing.


Our music tends to stay with us…no matter how old we get.

The music of our youth…is music we’ll never forget.


Perhaps that’s why, once the music of our generation

gives way to the next generation’s style

whenever we hear music from our past…we have a tendency to smile.


For once that music hits our ears…our hearts begin to stir

as we think about the person we are today while remembering who we were.


I tend to think of the people in my life as music…each playing a certain role…

each person is a different song…imprinted on my soul.


Some people’s music will stay with me…no matter how old I get

because the music I associate with them…is music I’ll never forget.


Perhaps that’s why once their music has been ingrained in me

once I’ve experienced their particular style

when they’re gone and I hear their music…I have a tendency to smile.


For once their music hits my ears…my heart begins to stir

and I am thankful for who I am today…because of who they were


Because like the music of my youth…their music tends to stay…

and though it sometimes fades into the background…


it will never fade away,.

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One thing I love about memory 

is how a song, an aroma, or simply something that’s been said

can awaken a memory from where it rests and pop it in my head…


Our family noticed them on a walk…a young couple with their retriever…golden brown

we were walking up a hill while they were walking down.


As I stopped to pet their golden and we began to talk

I suddenly thought of Whitman, our golden, and how he loved to walk.


I scratched George, their golden, behind his ears…a tail wagging ensued

and I remembered how, when I scratched Whitman there…his tail would wag too.


I wondered why they named him George…and in my reverie

I remember how we named our Whitman after a bakery…


As I continued petting for a moment…right there and right then

It was as if I was petting Whitman and he was alive again.


Before they walked away I thanked the couple for sharing George with me

and I whispered into George’s ear…”Thanks for the memory”.


I watched them continue down the hill feeling glad that we had met

and I smiled because my memories of Whitman hadn’t finished yet.


Once his memories faded away…and returned to where they rest

I caught up to my family…feeling lucky…feeling blessed.


And in awe of how once they’re awakened…

even for a little while

memories can seem so real…


memories can make you smile

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Remember when our children and grandchildren were babies?

How we were immediately taken with their charms?

How we could not wait to pick them up and hold them in our arms?


To them we must have looked like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall 

To us they looked so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.


We realized these little miracles were so beautiful…so light

and we immediately fell in love with them…

it was…love at our first sight.


And we found different ways to express our love…

it seemed we had a knack

remember how we’d perch them on our shoulders…

or let them ride upon our backs?


And remember how there came a time, 

though we were still captivated by their charms

when they grew too big to pick up and hold within our arms?


When putting them on our shoulders or playing horsey on the rug

gave way to kisses on the cheeks, or a smile and a hug.


And how every now and then we stop…and ask ourselves 

as every day they grow taller…

Have they really grown that much…

or are we just getting smaller?


And now they look like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall

And I imagine to them we look so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.


But no matter how big they grow…

we’ll continue to be captivated by their charms

as we remember the babies…


we once held in our arms.

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Over the years watching Deborah bake cookies with our children and grandchildren

has always been a treat…

because after they do all the work…I get all the cookies I can eat.


Her cookies have been eaten in our house and on the beginning of many a trip

and I think I speak for the family when I say our favorite cookie is chocolate chip.


They’re made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, a cake mix 

and on a cookie sheet are formed

and they melt in your mouth if you’re lucky enough to eat them when they’re warm.


Cooking with Nana is easy…there’s no pressure…no strain…no stress

In Nana’s kitchen you’re supposed to have fun…and it’s okay to make a mess.


The other day I appreciated all the baking lessons Nana ever taught her

when I had occasion to bake chocolate chip cookies with Ava…our granddaughter.


Somewhere in the baking process…while watching Ava working with the dough 

I began to understand why Nana loves it so.


When I saw our smiles mirrored in the oven window 

while her chocolate chip cookies were baking

I realized the cookies weren’t as important as the memory we were making.


The cookies, although essential to the process, are actually secondary 

The time we spent together is the memory we’ll carry.


When Ava said, “These taste just like Nana’s.” It was music to my ears…

and if I was a sentimental fellow I might have shed some tears…


Thinking how Ava learned Nana’s lessons well

She made sure we had fun 

she was messy…not very neat…

and most importantly…

she did all the work

and I got all the cookies I could to eat.


Yes…I would have shed a few tears thinking how this memory turned out great…


If I wasn’t so busy eating cookies…I stopped counting…after eight.

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A rickety old chair sits in a corner of our house…it’s a chair no one can fit in.

Which begs the question why hold onto a chair we never intend to sit in.


If you asked I’d tell you, “That old chair, the one in the corner you’re looking at…

Deborah’s dad made it with his own hands…we can’t get rid of that.


Our house is filled with children’s books…books we definitely no longer need.

Which begs the question why have so many books we no longer intend to read.


If you asked I’d tell you a secret…one every parent knows

They were all books we read to our children and our grandchildren…

we can’t get rid of those.


We have our share of knick-knacks…on which only dust accrues…

Which begs the question…why have so many objects we never intend to use?


If you asked I’d tell you…and I’m sure that Deborah agrees…

Every object reminds us of someone, some time…some place…

we can’t get rid of these.


By now it must be obvious…I believe my point…I’ve proved

The reason we can’t throw these things away

 is they’re all too heavy to move.


Not too heavy physically….for we can lift them all with ease…

What makes them difficult to throw away…


are the weight of their memories.

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