#memory

IMAGINATION AND MEMORY

I never know what will happen…what memories I’ll see

but I love when my imagination merges with my memory.

 

My memory picks a person…sometimes quite randomly

and my imagination sets that person…right in front of me.

 

It happened at the end of a morning walk 

in the shadow of our oak tree

When I looked up…Deborah’s mom…was smiling next to me.

 

And it was just as I remember…though she left us long ago

the way her smile lit up her face and set her eyes aglow.

 

I was unable to say a word…I was captivated…enthralled.

She did not speak either…but her smile said it all.

 

It reminded me how she loved us…with a love gentle and kind

and when I found my voice I thanked her for the memories she left behind.

 

I told her not to worry…standing in the shade of that old tree

for I am taking care of your daughter

and she’s taking care of me.

 

Silently she nodded her head…as the night surrendered to the dawn

We exchanged another smile….and in an instant…she was gone.

 

As I say…imagination is a wonderful thing

when it merges with a memory…

You never know what might happen…

 

You never know who you might see.


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AFTER THE FAMILY VISITS

Our family visited but they’re gone now…the house is empty

but it’s definitely not bare

for the memories they left behind are echoing everywhere.

 

If I listen closely…I hear them

their echoes and so much more

as they blend with all the echoes they’ve left behind before… 

 

I hear children chasing each other around the house…

I see them running fast…and slow

the way they did this visit…and so many visits ago.

 

I see them playing football outside…

they’ve all gotten so much taller

and I see them playing years ago…

when they were all much smaller.

 

I see one grandchild up in our climbing tree…

I see Nana cautioning him

and I see his mother when she was small 

sitting next to him on that same limb.

 

Echoes of so many funny jokes…

that my family said were lame

but on the echoes of their faces 

I see laughter just the same.

 

I see so many memories bouncing around…

an abundantly joyous amount…

so many echoes from so many years 

that I long ago lost count.

 

I love how the echoes of today…

the latest ones they cast

so easily blend with yesterdays…

and all the echoes of the past…

 

Which is why I walk around our empty house with a smile

as from room to room I roam

surrounded by all the echoes 

 

that make this house our home.


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GRANDMA'S COAT

It’s old and a little tattered…the coat her grandma wore.

It doesn’t fit her all that good…it’s not in style anymore

 

It’s always by our front door…on the rack…just hanging there

She puts it on every now and then when she feels a chill is in the air.

 

I used to bring home new ones…I don’t do that anymore…

because she prefers to wear that old coat…the one her grandma wore.

 

Her grandma raised her after her parents died

It was in her grandma’s care she grew

She was too young to remember…

Grandma is the only mom she ever knew.

 

When she was sad or lonely or things weren’t going right

She would sit upon her grandma’s lap and grandma’s arms would hug her tight.

 

Through all the ills of growing up…through all the heartaches and thunderstorms

It was there in her grandma’s arms where she felt safe and warm.

 

When her Grandma passed away she left her this old coat

and there, on the inside pocket, she left a little note.

 

‘How many times over the years have I hugged you’…it read

‘I’ll never know the exact amount

because when it comes to hugging you

I long ago lost count.’

 

‘We all must die eventually for that is the circle of life.

This means I won’t be there to hug you

In times of happiness or strife.’

 

Which is why I’m leaving you my old coat…it’s the only one I’ve ever worn

It’s the one I was wearing when I first held you…the day that you were born.

 

Put it on when you are happy, when you’re excited or feeling blue

Put it on and know right then…I am hugging you.

 

Perhaps that’s why when she wears it…she also wears a smile…

 

and why that old coat her grandma wore…will never go out of style.


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ONE MEMORY AT A TIME

We pass them every morning as the day’s about to break

an old man and a young girl…seated by the lake.

 

They are sharing a moment together…a moment of solitude

and as we near them we walk softly…not wanting to intrude.

 

The other morning when he heard us coming…he smiled and turned his head

He told us his name was Charlie… “and this is Tess.” he said.

 

The next day he greeted us by name…and we were surprised we must admit

when he smiled looking out at the water….and invited us to sit.

 

They had no fishing poles, no equipment…so finally I said, “Hey…

Charlie, why do you and Tess sit by the water ever day?”

 

“At the beginning of this summer,” he said, “my wife,Tess’s grandma, passed way.

so Tess and I come to the lake to remember her each day.”

 

“I’ve spent my lifetime loving Tess’s Grandma

but in some ways Tess just met her…

I want her to know the kind of person her Grandma was

and I don’t want either of us to forget her.”

 

“We come here every morning.” Tess said.

as the the bells on the church began to chime.

“Grandpa says the best way to remember Grandma…

is one memory at a time.”

 

We listened to a few stories…

about how Grandma loved to bake,

how she loved to sing although a little off-key, 

and how she loved this lake.

 

Then we took our leave…as we were very much aware

we had infringed enough on these two…

this was their time to share.

 

And now we wave when we pass each morning…

as around this lake we climb…

knowing a Grandpa is sharing a Grandma with his granddaughter… 

 

one memory at a time.



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REMEMBERING WHITMAN

We’ve been dog sitting for two weeks now…it’s been amazing I might add

but it has also stirred up memories of the dog that we once had.

 

He was a Golden Retriever, his name was Whitman 

He was as gentle as can be

We spent a good twelve years together

(I wish we had 83).

 

Why did you name him Whitman, people would ask?

Was it because you loved Walt Whitman’s poetry?

If only…we would answer…

he was named after a bakery.

 

If you think naming Whitman after a bakery was crazy…allow me to elaborate…

Whitman’s made the best better cream donuts…our family ever ate!

 

An amazing feature of memories is how they seem to fly in on their own wings.

They pop into our heads when we least expect them…triggered by the simplest things.

 

Taking Bella and Matti for a walk…watching them unwind

Throwing a ball for them to retrieve…and Whitman come’s to mind.

 

Sitting with Bella on the couch…before she goes to bed

thinking that’s exactly the same spot Whitman used to lay his head…

 

I guess it is inevitable…and certainly no reason to be dismayed

that as we make new memories…we’re reminded of old ones we have made.

 

It gives us a chance to think back…to be thankful…to remember with a smile

a person, or in this case a dog, who was in our life a while…

 

Whitman’s bakery and Whitman are long gone now but we still remember their mystique

for a dog to be named after a donut…he must have been unique!

 

So as we sit with these two wonderful dogs…and try to get them to behave us….

 

It’s nice to remember our Whitman…and all the memories he gave us.


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MOON GLOW

If I may be so bold…when you start to get a little old

you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.

But for whatever reason…depending on the season

you may be treated to some fascinating sights.

 

Up last night it caught my eye…the moon up in the sky

because the light outside seemed to be flowing.

It came as a surprise to me 

when I stepped out on the porch to see

the ground, the sky and all the trees were glowing.

 

When I stand in the glow of the moon oftentimes I swoon

as I’m reminded of a place from long ago.

Where I was happily creating 

with friends whom I was skating

joy...at a rink…its name…Moon Glow.

 

I remember the freedom of the skate…sometimes I’d have a date

I remember sweating…skating backwards…having fun.

I remember gliding, falling down and then…

getting up…skating again

I remember dance contests and races I never won.

 

Every now and then when blinded…by the night…it’s good to be reminded

of the innocence of youth from long ago

A time of no responsibilities…

when we skated round and round with ease…

Perhaps that’s why I love the moon glows so.

 

And though my skates are now retired…my skating days expired

when I wake up in the middle of the night I never know…

what beauty I will see…spreading out in front of me

 

Like the nights when the ground, the sky and all the trees begin to glow.



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THE BEAUTY OF THE CARDINAL

He landed in the tree the two of us were sitting under

a lonely cardinal…red

Immediately we began to wonder:

Is that a relative whose dead?

 

Because we both are aware of the platitude

when you see a cardinal near

you should be filled with gratitude

it means an angel has appeared.

 

The platitude does not say with any certainty

(Which in the end I think is a plus)

as to which relative that might be

It leaves that decision up to us.

 

I closed my eyes…without a care

and in that moment I felt glad

glad there was a cardinal there

to make me think about my dad

 

I looked over at my wife

happiness on her face shown

as the person with whom I share my life

was lost in a memory of her own.

 

We sat in silence as he flew away

not a word between us….said

certain he had other visits to make that day..

our lonely cardinal…red.

 

For is that not the beauty of this bird?

Is that not his destiny?

To appear silently…without a word

 

and awaken a memory.


THE MEMORY OF HER SMILE

Their eyes met but for a moment 

only lingered on each other a short while

but it was enough for him to capture forever….

 

the memory of her smile.


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CAPTURE A MEMORY

She often wondered why her grandma stopped so often on their walks

stopped…

looked all around…

then smiled

Why her face would suddenly brighten 

with the innocence of a child.

 

Why she would close her eyes for a moment

for a moment without talking

and when she opened them again she’d smile

smile 

and continue walking.

 

One day she found the courage to ask her

ask her why she acted this way

her answer is the reason

she walks like her grandma did 

today…

 

“Time moves by so quickly,” she told her

“moments moving swiftly in front of me…

so occasionally I like to take time out 

 

and capture a memory.”


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