Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Friday, October 28, 2005

If Memory Serves Me Right...

What an expression, huh? I mean, when was the last time memory served me right? Memory is such a strange beast, really. It may do a lot of things, but I think it rarely serves me right. Like most people I have problems with all the little things I forget to do or say, but what about all the big stuff - the stuff I'd rather not recall? Just when you think you're having a good day, it broadsides you like a semi, jack-knifing on the freeway, instantly crushing you between all the twisted pieces. You haven't thought of something in years, and the most innocent of circumstances will bring back the nastiest of memories - like with me yesterday. Just carefully turning onto our dirt road off of a dangerous blind corner brought the sensation of crushing metal to mind. For anyone who doesn't know that sound, it's horrifying, and when you can still hear it in your mind 13 years later, well, it's just horrifying all over again.

I've actually been really lucky with cars. I've only been in one real, bad accident. I was a teenager and was sleeping while my then-boyfriend accidentally took a little nap, too - while driving (I can't really recommend this). We were extremely lucky that it was so late, and no one else was on the road. His truck was totalled, but both of us came out of it with just a few bumps and scratches. So, why can I vividly remember every dreamlike detail of it 13 years later?

Most good memories need the use of pictures or other physical reminders to really get them playing out in your mind. For bad memories, though, all you need is a tiny sniff of a long-forgotten odor or a glimpse of a certain color, and the tears are sliding down your cheeks and your lips are quivering like a two-year-old's. I have actually had quite a bit of experience with this phenomenon since my grandparents' deaths earlier this year. It's truly amazing to me how many parts of my life the memories of these two people are wrapped up in. Despite the many, many miles that separated us throughout most of my life, they were a very important presence in it. Though neither one of them were very educated, they were a vast source of practical wisdom that I have missed every day since they died. Grandpa and Grandma were my very own chicken-raising, gardening and auto-mechanics gurus. There are so many wonderful moments we shared over the years, so why is it that it takes some amount of effort to drag those out of the cob-web covered corners of my mind, while the most mundane everyday detail can easily whip out the painful scenes of watching my frail grandmother take her last gasping breaths with the help of a ventilator? Memory is kind of funny that way, and dare I say, it doesn't seem to be serving me right.

I'm not a negative person, and I realize these thoughts do seem pretty negative, but to me they are just observations of how my mind seems to work. Just something I felt the need to express in words instead of just feeling the pain the memories can cause when they pop up so unexpectedly. I'm not even sure how to end this post, except maybe to say that I've got a hankering for some great cinnamon rolls - one of Grandma's great specialties. I may just have to make some in her honor.