By Sharon M. Kennedy
We all reach a certain age when the past is more real than the present. I’m not talking about folks with Alzheimer’s disease, just folks that have time to sit quietly and reflect on the years that slipped away. No matter how busy our days, the past never really disappears. It’s just tucked in a corner of our mind, and sometimes all it takes is a song or a scent or a whisper to bring it to the surface.
Daffodils poking their determined yellow heads through the earth remind me of the strength Mom possessed. When the wind carries the echo of a neighbor’s tractor I see Dad plowing the fields. The cheerful call of a robin tells me Jude is nearby. Gladiolas bring memories of Uncle Steve when he sold them at the Farmer’s Market in the Soo. I touch an old plaid shirt and feel the warmth of Aunt Marie’s hug.
Nobody can steal the memories of your past. People may try to thwart or sully them in some perverted way, but you know the truth. You know what your loved ones thought of you and how they treated you. After all, you were there.
I miss the past and the security of my family. I miss their protection. I never worried about anything when Mom and Dad were here. There was an unsurpassed sense of safety and belonging. The door was always open and everyone was welcome especially since the sideroad was peppered with relatives.
Daily living involved hard work, but folks still had time to visit and enjoy hot tea and conversation. Nobody called ahead to make sure you were home. They just stopped by and took their chances. If it was mealtime, you pulled up a chair and joined in. If a hockey or baseball game was on television, Jude popped another batch of popcorn and you were handed your own bowl. If the wood was being split, you grabbed an axe and chopped as best you could. If Gram was baking bread, you hung around until it came out of the oven and you were offered the heel slathered with butter and homemade jam. That’s the way it was when I was young.
Most children of today will never know a time when people had time to visit. Everybody’s so busy being busy in our modern world there’s no time for the simple pleasures. Families are scattered, get-togethers are limited to Thanksgiving or Christmas, and conversation is a tradition upheld by the old folks. Youngsters are preoccupied with phones, tablets, or video games.
I wonder what memories 21st century kids will recall when they are old. Maybe they’ll just sit around the table and text each other.