We have this little chair in the children section of our store…given to me by a family whose children have all grown…who didn’t need it anymore.


It’s still in great condition besides being a little battered…a little bruised.  They wanted it to find a good home…where it would still be used.


Yesterday, as a family was leaving the store, the father stopped me with a story he wanted to share…He said his daughter was in a bad mood all day…until she sat in our little chair.


He said there must be magic in that chair…in that tiny little space…because the moment she sat down it put a smile on her face.


That evening as I was cleaning up I saw that little chair and the father’s words rang in my head…so I took a moment to think about exactly what he said.


And it made me wonder if there isn’t magic in our little chair…magic of some kind…magic from the family who gave it to me…magic their children left behind.


Magic from the memories those children made as they sat in that tiny little space…perhaps it was their magic that brought a smile to her face.


As I cleaned the arms of our little chair…and dusted off its foam…I thought…the family who gave it to me would be happy knowing their little chair has found itself a home.


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I think of memory as an ocean that grows larger every day…a body of water that assimilates the things we do…and say,


An old photograph is like a stone tossed into that ocean sending ripples of memories to our shore…memories of a time and place we’ve visited before.


Just like when we throw a stone into the water and watch the ripples radiate and increase… we’re never quite sure how many memories a photograph will release.


Certainly we’ll remember that moment in time when the photograph was taken…but we’re also blessed with a host of memories that photograph awakens.


As our eyes scan that old photo of people and a place we knew before…we realize each person in the photo sends more ripples to our shore.


We ride upon those memories…as they drift upon the tide…happy to be taken on this sentimental ride.


Happy that one photograph can send it’s ripples wide and far

Happy to revisit some of the people…who helped to make us who we are.


That old photo makes us smile as as we remember memories entirely our own…perhaps that’s why we take so many photographs…

so we won’t run out of stones.

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The fence that surrounds our back yard is old and rickety…some of its boards we’ve long ago misplaced…for many years it’s been way past repair and probably should have been replaced.


But even though that old fence is leaning here and there..and in one section there’s a hole…that old fence has a history…it has a past…that old fence has a soul.


It’s the fence that has surrounded our back yard since our children and grandchildren were kids…we haven’t had the heart to replace it…and today…I’m glad we never did.


The young couple who live on the other side of our fence a young couple we’re just getting to know…who were pregnant when they moved next door…had their baby a week ago.


We were in our back yard yesterday…taking a little break…when we heard those distinctive sounds a newborn baby makes.


Joe, the father, was in his back yard holding Oliver, his baby, and Deborah and I were stunned…when he asked from over the fence if we’d like to see his son.


If you know anything about Deborah and I you know babies…we adore…

“Yes we would!” We shouted….like two kids in a candy store.


But in the midst of this pandemic we weren’t sure how this would commence…until Joe said, not to worry…I’ll meet you at the hole in your fence.”


So through the hole, that wonderful old hole, that years of weathering has produced…Oliver…Deborah…and I were formally introduced.


Oliver is beautiful baby…I say this with no pretense…and his beauty was framed perfectly by that hole in our old fence.


That hole in the fence that surrounds our back yard…where a few boards we've long ago misplaced….that old fence that surrounds our backyard…that we never will replace.


Because as we’ve grown old together….as our years unfold….

we find we’re less likely to get rid of something just because it’s gotten old.



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At first glance when you visit our house you might not notice it

but, by the time that you depart

you’ll realize you were in a museum filled with priceless works of art.


The works of art, though on full display, at first aren’t easy to discern

but as we take you on a tour…the more and more you learn.


There’s a walking stick in the corner an an old chair we’ve always had

you might not recognize their value but the artist was Deborah’s dad.


There’s a cookie jar sitting on a bookcase…

”That doesn’t look priceless.” You might say.

Until you see it’s filled with notes of remembrances

our children wrote to Deborah one Mother’s day.


There’s a framed black and white drawing of a young man

a little pensive…perhaps a little sad 

that was drawn by my own father long before he was my dad.


We’ll show you artwork from our children that still gives our hearts a lift

and our name made out of license plates given to us as a gift.


There’s an old closet door where you’ll see our children’s and grandchildren’s measures…

There’s an old chest in the back bedroom overflowing with more treasures.


Our house is filled with so much priceless art that can be found on every shelf

but the best way to experience it would be to see it for yourself.


Because what makes our artwork priceless…what gives our art pizzazz 

Is not how much it cost…but the story each piece has.


This means when you visit our house…for whatever reason you are there

we will gladly show you all our art…and all their stories gladly share.


Which is why, when you visit our house, by the time you all depart

you’ll know you were in a museum filled with priceless works of art.



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It seems to us as we continue to grow older the more and more we find

how often we climb the memory tree that grows within our minds.


A tree that’s nourished by our memories…at least that’s what we believe…

Memories that enter through its roots and form its branches and its leaves.


Last night our family sat around a campfire…toasting marshmallows…making s’mores

Which, except for the masks and social distancing, we’ve done a thousand times before.


And what a treat it was for us…what an absolute delight!

as we watched our daughter and our grandchildren aglow in the campfire light.


Suddenly we found ourselves high atop our memory trees…and near as we can tell

amid the branches and the leaves where our campfire memories dwell.


From where we perched upon our branches we were shown a wonderful surprise…

as memories of old campfires danced before our eyes.


Perhaps that’s why old people smile so much around campfires…

as they watch their reality and their memories blend…

and hoping time will at least pause…or this moment will not end…


But when all the s’mores were eaten, the campfire had burned out

and we said goodnight to our daughter and our grandchildren…

We were not sad…

we did not pout.


Because as we continue to grow older

it becomes easier and easier for us to see…

Our memories made today around the campfire

will find their way into our tree…


And if we want to visit them…any place or any time

All we have to do is smile…close our eyes…and climb.



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He had a friend when he was growing up…he’ll never forget her name

or the disease that ravaged her body…the disease she never overcame.


Her name was Lynn.  

She had long blond hair, loved flowers and playing in the mud

until the doctors found leukemia poisoning her blood.


When she became too sick to play and was confined within her room

She‘d point outside her window and marvel at the butterflies in bloom.


“I just love butterflies!” She would say as she pointed at the sky.

“When you think about it butterflies are the only flowers that can fly.”


So he would bring her potted flowers…making sure they were in bloom.

and he would catch her butterflies that would flutter around her room.


And when she could no longer get out of bed her smile would ease their gloom

as she watched all of her butterflies fluttering all around her room.


Memories of her flutter back to him every now and then

when he’s alone inside his room,

when he’s walking in the mud

or when he sees butterflies in bloom.


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There are many reasons I love my morning walks…many ways I find to be enthralled

but sometimes the best moments…are when I do not walk at all.


Today as I began my walk…in the street I quietly stood

listening…as all around me I heard echoes of our neighborhood.


I heard the voices of children playing…children who are no longer there.

I heard sounds of joy and laughter filling the morning air.


I heard balls bouncing, children signing…I heard the clomping of their feet.

Echoes they left behind as they played upon this street.


There was a symphony of children’s voices flowing to and fro…

I heard our children’s voices…as well as children I did not know.


I imagine these echoes are always here drowned out by the cricket and the birds…

so why on this particular day…did they make their voices heard?


And then I realized…they weren’t for me…all these voices I heard today

but for our neighbors, who just moved in…who have a baby on the way.


I think these voices came together in anticipation of the day

when another baby…another voice…will join them in their play.


The day when the voice of this new little miracle will mix and blend with theirs

And the symphony will become more beautiful as as it drifts upon the air.


I didn’t get much walking done today….as in the street I stood

I was too busy eavesdropping…

on the echoes of our neighborhood.

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They’ve spent so much time at home…many a night and day

No traveling, no restaurants…from the experts guidelines they do not stray.


Since they could not physically journey…no traveling to or fro

they decided to travel through time…and oh the places they would go.


They know time has a way of controlling life…

for schedules they do not lack

They know time keeps moving forward and is never moving back.


But they know memory is different…they think of it as one of life’s little jewels.

Memory snubs its nose at time and refuses to embrace her rules.


So they’d go back in time and remember moments when they were children

when all they did was eat and sleep and play…

Specific moments…they’d remember…as if they happened yesterday.


He remembered the first time he said, “I Love You.”

He remembered a feeling so wonderful and new.

He even remembered what he was wearing

when she said…”I Love You, too.”


They remember the day they were married…when their began life anew

They remember so many moments as they grew old together too…


They remembered when their daughter was born…

Holding in their arms…a life so precious and new

and in the next moment they remembered

holding her daughter in their arms too.


So they’ve spent a lot of time together

remembering moments of their life with ease…

forward and backward…flying through time

stacking memories any which way they please.


They say time travel is impossible…

but this couple…now old and gray…

as they sit home during this pandemic…

has somehow found a way


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Time is like a cloud that passes quickly overhead 

but if we’re lucky we will find…

after she has passed…

the shadows she’s left behind…


And in these shadows that remain

that have not continued flying on the breeze…

is where our memories rest…

In moments such as these:


Moments when two grandchildren were young…

When their life was more innocent…and free…

When they played in our backward

Where they spent time up in our tree…


When they thought that I was magical…

When out of their ears I would pull money…

When they would laugh at all my jokes…

When they thought that I was funny.


Picnics, movies, sleepovers,

dinners where joy and laughter flowed with ease…

Life is made more beautiful

by moments such as these.


And as time’s passed over our grandchildren

how wonderful it is to find…

still floating in our memories…

the shadows she left behind.

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