COLUMN: Still the Simple Things | columns
“Memory is the diary we all carry around with us.” ~ Irish poet and playwright Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde
As we age – and we all do, no matter what age we are – we gain experience, talents, friends, likes and dislikes, and a multitude of memories.
Some memories are nice to us, some are not so good, and we all make mistakes. You may deny it to others, but you really cannot deny this fact.
For me, as I get older, it’s the simple things that stick with me more than anyone else.
And I find that comforting.
You’d think it’s the big things in life that we remember the most, but I’m not so sure.
Little memories, at least for me and I bet many of you reading this give us little joys from the simple things in our lives that will last forever.
I have no idea why this little reminder has kept popping into my head for the past week.
The reminder is on milk breaks at school.
Well, I’m not sure what your experience with school milk breaks was, but mine really love it.
As I recall from my elementary school days at Waukomis, those 2¢- and 3¢-a-carton milk breaks in the afternoon — with students taking turns as milk monitors, picking up a tub filled with ice and ice-cold milk — seemed like just the thing for one Time to come when I really needed that chocolate pick-me-up for my brain.
And for some reason that milk was always ice cold and I still carry that memory with me to this day when I just have to drink everything ice cold or it just doesn’t fit – or that fulfills memory.
All I can think of as I write this is that I’m in dire need of a tall glass of cold chocolate milk.
Another simple reminder is to wait for the bell to ring just before the end of the last lesson of the day.
Didn’t it seem like those last five minutes before the last chime lasted an hour or two?
That the second hand of that great Seth Thomas watch would never get there.
Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t wait to be on my way home or to the family print shop on Main Street.
Perhaps one of my simplest memories was hiking to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Or the reunion of relatives and cousins and great aunts and uncles. It’s still a memory that lingers.
Or maybe it’s the simplest of memories, when you feel that immense relief you felt after you introduced the guest speaker at your high school graduation and it was all over.
That burden suddenly lifted from your young shoulders after you had to stand there before that crowd rushed into the school gym – and you hadn’t embarrassed yourself and died of stage fright in front of the whole town.
Maybe it was that simple memory of seeing classmates for the very last time after graduation. You had spent 12 years day by day with most of these classmates until they were like your own brothers and sisters. And suddenly you got kicked out of school and you’re on your own in the world.
Well, cast out isn’t quite right. You graduated and you just didn’t know what to do with your life at the time, and you were no longer surrounded by others like you – they’re gone.
One simple thing for me, at least in the days after high school, was the sobering thought that I would have to make life-changing decisions about what I wanted to do after the ripe old age of 18.
Was it to join the military like your father and grandpa, uncles and cousins did during the world wars?
Was it to go to college and study law, or maybe to become a history teacher?
Actually, at that time in my life I had never thought of becoming a journalist.
There was the Vietnam War to consider, there were student loans and how to pay for college, there were part-time jobs and finding a way to pay for a car and transportation—suddenly there were obstacles in life to consider that went well beyond the math test at the end of the semester .
Looking back those were simple things, I just thought they were above my pay grade.
As the Oscar Wilde quote that opens this column says, memory is the diary of each of our lives – he of the three middle names.
Mine is full of simple things that still make me smile — and I only have a middle name.
So what’s in your diary?
Christy is the news editor at Enid News & Eagle. Visit his column blog at www.tinyurl.com/Column-Blog.