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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bittersweet Memories

It is amazes me sometimes, the things in our lives that can spark a memory. A smell, sound, image, taste, or the touch of another’s hand can export your mind back to another time in life. It may be a moment of catastrophe or, if you’re lucky, a moment of great joy, but for that moment, you are there; you have time traveled back to that very moment. It’s all in your mind, but you can feel all of the emotions that you felt at the time the event actually took place; and then some.

Our memories make each of us unique, and they give continuity to our lives. Sure, they are hurtful sometimes; even the happy ones when they remind us that the loved ones, in a particular memory, are gone and no real semblance of that special moment can ever take place again.

Often, I am reminded of days spent at my grandparent’s home in North Carolina. Early on this mid-spring morning I hear the Blue Jays sounding their, what to most people would be a squawk suggestive of fingernails on a chalkboard, but to me is a reminder of some of my happier days as a child.

Image Right: My Grandparents, Troy and Rufus Bolton, on their 50th wedding anniversary.

At the time I would never have thought that the sound of a blue jay would bring me such bittersweet memories. Bitter because of the loss of my grandparents in the physical world, who I loved dearly, and sweet because of the reminder of the few happy memories of childhood. The dear blue jay shall remain a favorite of mine for this reason.

Memories of the smells of the North Carolina countryside, of my grandparents little house, of my grandmothers smile and granddaddy's unfailing patients. Memories of my cousin Jack and myself sitting high in the branches of the chainy-ball tree (Chinaberry tree), of eating watermelon fresh from granddaddy’s garden under the shade of the same tree that served as our world of solitude, of all things wonderful in a relationship with grandparents and cousins.

It has been thirty years since my grandparents passed away and I have only been back to their old home place one time; it was not the same and it never will be, and even though I burn with inner-pain from the memories and the fact that those times can never really be relived, the joy that they bring me will forever be cherished, and today I have the squawking blue jay to thank for bringing the wonderful memories of childhood, grandparents, and cousins back to life for me.

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  • At Monday, 03 April, 2006, Blogger Leslie Shelor said…

    Sometimes memory, triggered by the unexpected, brings me up short. The memories can be painful, but I wouldn't lose them for anything. Lovely post!


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