Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Remembering When

Memory can sometimes be a fallible thing. What we recall as Gospel truth may be just a figment of our imagination.

Not on purpose, but because things remembered are usually remembered to our best advantage. For instance, I remember the winter of 1977-1978 being the coldest, but it was actually the year before that we set the all time low of -25 degrees. How could my memory have failed me?

Probably because the Winter of 77-78 affected me personally, and because 35 years later things like that tend to run together. Like when you remember a Christmas when you got several things you absolutely remember getting because of the joy they brought you.

Then you drag out the old pictures to prove it, and find out that those toys came over the course of several years, and not all at once. The pleasant memories enjoyed each others company and congregated together, forming one memory, instead of several.

Does that mean all memories are wrong, or at least incorrect?

I don't thing so. As has been pointed out several times, we will always remember where we were when we heard the news on 9-11, or of the Challenger explosion, or of JFK's assassination. Or remember that feeling of standing in front of our families and friends and saying two simple words.

The important, life-changing events are usually etched indelibly into our memories.

Unless you are John Kerry.

The famous 'Christmas in Cambodia" incident isn't really a fair comparison; since the life changing event never happened, the memory was bound to be faulty.

There are certain things I remember about the day my first son was born. Like the trip to the hospital; the several conversations I had with her doctor, in the hallway, outside my wife's room discussing the issues she was having and the various ways to work around them; the risks and rewards associated with each.

And making decisions; decisions that would affect the life and health of both my wife and unborn child. 

I also remember the delivery room. And I remember the Doctor calling out a time of birth.

But I don't remember the time.

Memories are funny things.

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