Posted by: ritagone | June 29, 2011

Memory and memories

We had a great time last week – Michael and I – with two other couples in Pismo Beach, up the coast about two and a half hours’ drive from our house for two full days of sun and food and fun with old friends.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Well, three or four days would have been even better.

We stayed in a hotel called The Cliffs, overlooking the ocean.

I love the ocean.

I love the sound of the waves, the regular rhythm that you hear all night long when you keep the sliding door open, the cool, damp air that you feel only at the coast.  I love waking up to the misty, foggy mornings you find at the ocean.  I’m not sure I could live there all year long, but an ocean vacation?  I’m all for it.

And there we discovered the best clam chowder I’ve ever tasted at a tiny little café near the pier in Pismo proper.  There were lines of people waiting to get into the restaurant that has become so well known that it can’t accommodate its clientele.  And a dinner of cracked crab, complete with plastic bib because shell and crabmeat are flying all over the place as you try to maneuver the tools and utensils and the drawn butter and such.

It was a memory.

And back in the larger of the three rooms we had rented, we played Polish poker, an innocuous card game that is so easy it enables you to carry on conversations and laugh and reminisce while you’re playing hands and elminating players one at a time until a winner is declared. And when the friends you’re with go back 30 years, believe me, you have a lot of stories to tell, adventures and travel experiences and hardships and shared memories that make the current time together even more special.

A little bit of shopping, wine drinking, laughing, oh, lots of laughing.

I love short car trips like this, where you can talk and recall the fun of the time away.  We came home in time to rest for a while only to drive downtown with our daughter and son-in-law to see the 25th anniversary production of “Les Miserables,” my very favorite musical theater production of all time.  And a wonderful production it was, with superb soloists and great sets constructed to accommodate a smaller stage, so well done and overwhelming that I even managed to stay awake on the drive home near midnight, capping off three of the most wonderful days I can recall in recent memory.

I wonder how sad our lives would be if we didn’t have old friends and memories like these, plus the many new ones we build year upon year and experience upon experience.  I am amazed at how much I have forgotten in my life.  Whole chunks of my past seem to have disappeared.  I remember having both of my children; I can even see myself on the delivery table as if it were yesterday.  But it’s as if their childhoods belong somewhere else, as if they weren’t my kids and I had no part in them.  I remember one or two things of my college days, my working life and key moments like my wedding and highlights of travel experiences.  But so much is gone.  I wonder if this is a small taste of what it must be like to have a disease like Alzheimer’s, to discover that your mind is slowly disintegrating and evaporating.

My husband and I laugh about words and names that fly out of our memory like birds on the wing.  He has an especially hard time with Gene Hackman.  Try as he might, that actor just keeps eluding him.  He tries to set himself up with signals, hints, whatever will help him to keep Popeye Doyle’s name in his mind.  No good.  Nothing works.  He has to rely on me to remind him.  And we help each other with this.  What I can’t remember, often he can.  We’re like walking googles for one another.  If one of us were to die, the other would lose a great portion of his or her memory storage.

That’s why it’s good for me to remember a great time away with friends that is so recent, and then to recollect other wonderful times in the past that have been meaningful, savor them, reconstruct the events and the sights and sounds and aromas and tastes that I remember…because I know that one day they might not be readily available on my cerebral hard drive.

So today let me encourage you to think about something from your past…and to relish it.  Savor it.  Make it last and make it meaningful.  Maybe call someone up who you shared the event with.  Tell them how great the time was.  Say it  and describe it while you can.

If you’re reading this and you and I have ever shared a moment or a day or an experience that you thought was a happy time, a time that brings a smile to your face, I’m glad.  Make sure you reconstruct it occasionally so that you don’t forget.  Bring it up and remember it, like Gene Hackman’s name, so that it won’t get more difficult to retrieve but easier.

On another note, remember that I’m trying to migrate my email Rita’s Ramblings readers over to the blogsite at  Hope you’ll sign up and start reading my weekly writings there rather than via the emails, as within about a month, I’m going to stop sending them out as an email.

Meanwhile, have a great rest of the week and remember to remember something good today.


Remembering the goodness of God today, for one amazing thing,



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