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Memories are never true. As they recede further into our past they become more of a fantasy than an actual occurrence that really did happen. It is the mind coping with what pieces we manage to hold onto.
For example, a picnic at the beach with relatives on the 4th of July, becomes a roaring good time, with the children (us) playing and swimming and eating hot dogs and playing water tag and splashing the girls who are attempting to bronze the skin of their emerging woman.
Adults drink beer, smoke cigarettes, tell stupid jokes, some of which are funny, and sit around talking about relatives who are not there. The men are waiting for the women to cook the burgers, hot dogs, or whatever else was brought, from potato salad, to sauerkraut, and some kind of fruit salad this writer never has liked.
The women talk about the latest pregnancy or recent birth and how fat or thin so-and-so has gotten and shouldn’t she be wearing a dress and not those shorts so soon after the birth etc. Gossip, as a mainstay of conversation, is always fashionable.
Maybe it did happen that way. Maybe there is some truth in those buns and marshmallows ready to be burned over an open fire, and consumed as a gooey, sticky, mess of melting sugar. Maybe the youngest boy in the group did cry and beg and plead to light sparklers before dark and got his way. Maybe not.
These are sometime memories that are savored and cooked over a brick grill in a Wisconsin park and tasted every so often with the relish of fading memories. The scene is just yards from a wonderfully cold lake, waiting for humans to invade and squeal their way through the summer.
But the memories of going over to mom and dad’s on a Sunday, having dinner, watching t.v. or cooking on the patio, and then relaxing in the late afternoon sun have more significance. Those days are missed like a severed limb, a foot no longer attached that is a phantom one can feel but never touch again. You know it’s there, but it isn’t.
It resides solely in the mind and slowly changes, evolves, and becomes bittersweet with age. Those were days when it felt like nothing would change, and life would be peaceful, good, satisfying, and always the welcome place, and always there. Those are times missed more than any other.
Driving to mom and dad’s and being there, just content to be there. It was the safe place of this soul. It was the place no outside war, or battle with life could enter. It was an impenetrable fortress of peace, and safety.
There is no place like that now. One cannot go anywhere and feel that relief of being safe, comfortable, relaxed, and at ease with the world. Being in the shelter of parents, even as an adult always gave this writer breathing space, a calm, a haven, a nest of security.
Yes, there are made places like that, but not ever like those places. Being with the boys, or my brother is as close as one gets. Being with a loved one is also the best comfort, arms surrounding each other in a warm, eternal, embrace. May it always be so.
Thank you. I am grateful for your visit.