My wife, Janice and our small family celebrated the birthday of her 91 year old mother this past Saturday. Janice, my two boys, my daughter-in-law, and me sat around the dinner table, she was asked, “If you could take anything from this time back with you to when you were a child, what would it be?”
I jokingly suggested that it would be her cell phone because I knew how much she hated hers (it never works right and it is never due to human error of course). Or maybe even television where she could have total access to her news channel she listens to constantly. Instead, she began to talk about how, as a child, she would have access to some magazines (“Secret Lives”) in the privy (outhouse) that she would not otherwise have. She fondly remembered how her mom would reach down into the flour drawer and with some kind of special magic, bring out just the right dough for mouth watering biscuits. A special smile came to her face when she remembered her dad playing the fiddle on the porch at night. She “reportedly” had to walk five miles to school each day and had to stop for a while after her sister graduated until she was old enough to walk by herself.
Her memories were filled with feelings of joy as she remembered a more innocent time in her life and in our country. As I listened to her, I began to realize that there was little that she would take back with her and a bunch that she had brought with her to today.
The older I get, them more hurried my day, the more cynical I become with the governments of this world, I am glad I have memories of a more innocent and joyful time. I remember a neighborhood filled with kids my age, a mother who always had a meal on the table and my clothes clean, a father I knew worked very hard for the family and always seemed to make it to all my sports events. I am so glad for such memories also. I don’t think I would take anything back with me either.
As my mother-in-law experiences the twilight years of her life, the only regret I hear from her is that she does not have the love of her life still with her. Every once in a while, I will see her eyes fill with tears and I know where she is. She is back in his arms enjoying the unique love the two had for each other. Another sign that she would take very little back with her, but she had packed her bag full of great memories to carry with her to the future. Hopefully, my bags will be just as full.