“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

The rain came during the night. It started around midnight. I could hear the drops on the air conditioner. I listened a short while then fell asleep. When I let Gracie out this morning, the driveway was still wet so I figured it rained for a while. The day is dreary, dark and damp. The breeze is strong. It blows the flags in the front yard so they flutter back and forth. Even the oak trees bend.

Yesterday I complained about having little to say then filled the page with small memories, the day to day stuff. I forget sometimes that something memorable doesn’t have to be big. I have these odd pictures hanging around my memory drawers. They relate to pieces of my life but aren’t important in themselves. They are part of the whole, but for some reason, they stand alone.

High school graduation was huge. It was my biggest step forward. The whole ceremony is somewhere in my head, but I have a few small, bright pictures of that day. One is of my dad in the audience. I had just received a scholarship, and he was mouthing to me, “How much is it?” My mother made lasagna for the party afterward graduation. I’m sure there was plenty of food, but that is all I remember.

College left several images up front. My friends and I sat at the same table in the canteen every morning. We drank lots of coffee and each of us did the crossword puzzle in the paper. It was a race to see who would finish first. I remember Fridays in my cosmology class. Three or four of us sat in the back against the wall. It was for support because between our 8:30 class and cosmology at 1:30 we went drinking. Vodka and orange juice was our drink of choice. It was, after all, still morning. I remember standing in my cap and gown downstairs from the auditorium. One of my professors who was from the history department came by to wish us well. I had had her for two classes, two of my favorite classes. She was stopping to chat with soon to be graduates she knew. I was one of them. She asked us all what we were doing after graduation. When I told her Peace Corps, she seemed thrilled and offered to send books or whatever else my school might need. I remember her well.

The flight to Ghana has three singular memories. One was flying over the cape, and I watched with my face to the window until it was out of sight. Another was my stuck seat belt. It got caught between the seat and the wall, and I couldn’t use it. That was after a fuel stop. The stewardesses, as they were called in those days, were going up the aisle checking the seat belts. I just held the one side of mine, and she kept walking. The third picture was flying over the Sahara. The sand seemed to go on forever. I could see ripples. I could see Africa for the first time.

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6 Comments on ““Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.””

  1. Richard Says:

    I’m all in a ‘celebratory’ mood today – managed to walk to the compactor and back with (so far) no adverse effects. It’s good to be ambulatory (I paraphrase Mel Brooks’ “It’s good to be the King” here).

    Those little ‘memory scraps’ are, perhaps, more important in the ‘gestalt’ of memory than are the large ‘bright shinies’ that are immediately able to be recalled. I have memories of old black and white photos my uncle took when he entered the concentration camps in Germany as an Army combat photographer. Fishing lures all bright ’n shiny with new chrome and treble hooks. Long cane fishing poles. Nights in the country in an Army surplus jungle hammock that sagged just close enough to the ground for my brother and first cousin to toss cherry bombs under my behind. Orchid corsages my aunts gave me for my Prom date each year (they grew orchids). The first time I got behind the wheel of the 3-on-the-column Plymouth and began learning the magic of working the clutch and gas pedals.
    High school graduation … 500+ kids in my graduation class. I double-dated with another guy after the prom and we wound up on some now-nameless road in New Orleans East with our dates until dawn. No, don’t ask.

    College … I’ll get to recall all of the ‘Petty Wars’ in June when my old roommates come to Memphis. Food fights. Midnight raids of the strawberry farms. My English teacher asking me if I’d like to become an English major. Military history class with Stephen Ambrose. Lunch with my brother at Teddy’s on Franklin Avenue, then finding a Thunderbird with splayed front wheels dug into the grass of the roundabout by UNO because its driver evidently just didn’t see it coming … go figure.

    I doubt I’ll ever forget my flight to Seattle for a trade show. I had a window seat, and as we began our descent, I saw what I thought were islands in what I believed to be the ocean. I remarked to my seatmate how neat it was to see islands in the fog – the realisation immediately followed that I’d displayed an amazing degree of stupidity after I realised I was looking at mountain tops punching through the clouds. Lesson learned.

    Since tomorrow will see me all bizzied up with the MRI ’n stuff, I present our Guest Artist a day early. Monday in N’Awlins is typically wash day, and the Monday meal is typically red beans and rice ’cos it can be put on early and left to simmer all day. Celebrating that linkage is one Dr John (a/k/a Mac Rebennack), who advises the Lady of the House to ‘Wash, Mama, Wash’ … and now, to begin …

    • katry Says:

      I found your memories filled with warmth. They took on an importance which lets them travel with you through time. They are bright with amazement, joy, fun and all those moments of growing and changing into who you are today.

      Good luck tomorrow. I’ll be thinking of you.

      I have been a long time Dr. John fan.

  2. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a really nice day here, rather warm but cloudy and a weak breeze that was just cool enough to make me comfortable. It wasn’t that nice in the morning, not much different but high humidity and very little wind, I never thought the day would turn out to be as good as it was. Tomorrow will reach above 80F! That is even unusual during hot summers and we haven’t really reached summer yet 🙂

    I do remember my highschool graduation rather well. We have a tradition that all graduating classes sing a last song on the stairs to the school and my class was the last one to get out to sing. Our song was The Bare Necessities 🙂 This was June sixth and just as we were going out on the stairs a furious snow storm passed by 🙂 🙂 Everyone outside had run away to take cover so we all stood there singing our song, freezing like mad all alone 🙂 The second we were finished the snow stopped and the sun started to shine again 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      It was a weird day today. It was chilly and damp despite the sun. Right now is really humid. More rain is due tomorrow.

      That is really warm. We won’t hit 80 until August.

      That is a wonderful tradition. We used to have something similar. Each class sang their class song written by classmates. I don’t remember when that ended. Now they have a last assembly and it is always a poignant ceremony.

      Flower shopping tomorrow!

  3. flyboybob Says:

    The view from above is one of the things I miss about flying. I used to fly a Citation 650 which was certified to fly at 51,000 ft. We could never get our airplane that high because of weight but would ask for block airspace from 45,000 to 51,000 and let it climb as the weight of the fuel burned down. The highest I ever flew was 47,500 and at that altitude you can just make out the curvature of the earth and the sky above takes on a dark blue color. I remember an afternoon flying over West Texas above 45,000 ft. and looking up at the tops of the thunderstorms towering above us as we flew between the cells. Those are the kind of storms are the called super cells that can spawn tornados and large hail. They look very delicate but can destroy an airplane attempting to fly through them.

    When I go on a short trip, less than four hours, I like to sit by the window and watch the cloudscape or the landscape. Airliners don’t fly above 41,000 for regulatory reasons so the view is never as spectacular. At night the landscape in your part of the country looks like thousands of diamonds sprinkled on a black velvet cloth. Out west over Nevada the landscape is nearly as baron as the surface of the moon.

    Today is partly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms late tonight and in the morning. The temperature will top out in the mid to upper 80s.

    • katry Says:

      I love the view from a plane. When we are close enough to see what is below, I am at the window the whole time. I remember the snow on the Alps and flying in a small plane over the Andes. We were close enough to the mountains that we could see the shadow of the plane.

      I would love a flight so high you can see the Earth. I remember night flights with only black below us when all of a sudden we’d fly over a city bright with lights.

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