On the back roads of my memory

I had one of those moments recently. You know… one of those moments when you just could not remember something that is so basic that there was no way you could ever forget. I struggled trying to remember for a few minutes, then, in frustration, looked it up on my phone. Two thoughts hit me… First, I hope no one saw me or I extremely glad that this was the quiet moment it was.  Fortunately, it was not some question that another person had asked. Thus, I didn’t have to be embarrassed by my memory lapse. Second, is this an early sign that I am quickly heading toward an Alzheimer’s diagnosis? There has to be a “first sign” and, perhaps, this was it for me. This thing I was trying to remember is so familiar that, honestly, no one would believe that I could not remember it unless there was something wrong with me physically. I can remember the score at halftime of a basketball game 45 years ago and could not remember this? OK, so the moment passed and I have not experienced anything similar since.

There are so many good things in my life that I truly never want to forget. I remember that day in May a few years ago. It was a perfect day, sunny and 75 degrees. That was the day my daughter was married. Every part of that day was wonderful and I have tried very hard to etch its details in my mind in a place that can never be erased. Or, I remember holding each of my grandchildren for the first time. That look of pride on my son’s face when he handed me his first daughter occupies a special place in my memory. Or, I remember the excitement in my younger daughter’s face when she showed us her engagement ring and told us that she was marrying the love of her life. Or, the joy she expressed when telling us she would soon be a mother.

I remember my own wedding day and how beautiful my wife looked as her Dad walked her down the aisle. And, I remember how proud we were of our first home… a 12 x 52 foot mobile home with shag carpeting and a barely adequate heating system. I remember our first house, our first (and second and third) child being born, and the agony of moving away from friends. I remember the joy each time we reunite with those same friends several times a year for over 30 years.  I remember childhood memories, sporting achievements, my first hunting and fishing experiences, and family members now long gone. I remember our first new car, but recall that our first big purchase was a stereo system. I remember so many wonderful times together with the love of my life over our 40 plus years as a married couple.

Is it possible to store these wonderful memories in a place so protected that they will always be with me? I heard an old song on the car radio this morning as I drove to work. It was “Gentle on my mind” by Glen Campbell. You probably know that Campbell has been in the news over the last couple of years with stories detailing his own personal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, he can no longer perform concerts. There is a line in that song that struck me this morning:

“That keeps you in the back roads; By the rivers of my memory and keeps you ever gentle on my mind.”

I’m hoping that somehow, someway, no matter what physical ills may come my way in the future that I can keep these special times and memories “… in the back roads by the rivers of my memory.” Please, God, allow me to keep these good times etched in my memory. I realize that we cannot predict what may come in the future, but I ask that you allow these sweet and wonderful memories to remain.

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