Call – Opelika-Auburn News
Reliving pleasant memories is
good exercise for the mind
The mind’s capacity to remember is a marvelous gift when
wisely used. We can remember the bad and the good. As we mature we learn the
importance of forgetting most of the bad stuff. Not forgetting can ruin our
lives by allowing resentment to take lodging in our hearts.
Alzheimer’s disease can totally erase
a person’s memory. When that happens the victim is forced to endure a condition
worse than death. There is only one positive thing to be said about
Alzheimer’s. When this disease takes over the mind of a person obsessed with
hatred, no memory at all seems better than one filled with hate. But such a
terrible remedy no one would prescribe for a mind sick with hatred.
Absentmindedness is a common
affliction. Most of us have occasional memory lapses when we forget where we
parked the car or what we walked into the kitchen to get. However some of us have
better memories than others. My wife can remember the design and colors of a
dress she treasured as a child. I am amazed at her memory while there are days
when I find it hard to remember ever being a child.
That is why I intentionally try to
“exercise” my memory. I go back in time, my time, and recall as much as
possible about certain experiences tucked away in my memory bank.
One of the places I go on my memory
journeys is inside the big yellow school bus that took us to school. Our home
in the country was at the end of the run. After picking up me and my siblings,
the driver started the long, bumpy route back toward town. All the roads off
the main highway were gravel roads so for an hour we choked on a tortuous blend
of dust and hot air.
Reading was one of my first loves. I
got in the habit of reading books about Tarzan and the Rover Boys during those
bus rides. How I managed to read while bouncing over pot holes and breathing
that dust I will never know. But it helped to pass the time.
When I was a fifth grader I persuaded
the bus driver to do something he might be fired for doing today. At one point
Each day the driver allowed me, James and Tom get off the
bus so we could play in the sand by the side of the road until he returned ten
to fifteen minutes later. That was high adventure for us boys. It never dawned
on me that the driver might be a little nervous until we got back on the bus. It
was exhilarating to get off the bus and show the other kids what courage we
had. For a few minutes we were real men.
Another place I go to in my memories is the swimming hole in
the creek down behind our house. In the summertime my cousins and I would strip
off our clothes, splash the water to scare the snakes away, and enjoy a break
from the heat. In later years I shuddered to think about the risks we took,
playing so carelessly around Cottonmouth Water Moccasins. But back then we were
young, naïve, and carefree.
In my memory, that swimming hole was huge. We did a daring
thing to swim across to the other side. Since those days I have gone back to
that old swimming hole and discovered that the distance to the other side of
the creek is only 10 to 12 feet.
Daddy’s farm included some rich river bottom land that
Scuppernongs in the woods were a delicacy provided by God
without any human help. The sweet juice quenched my thirst as I plucked and
savored one after another, spitting the hulls on the ground. Sometimes I would
go back with a bucket and pick enough for Mama to make a few pints of jelly.
Reliving pleasant memories is good exercise for the mind and
an excellent cure for boredom. For me it is good fun to wander back for awhile
into some of the places tucked away in my storehouse of memories. Not all are
precious but some are good medicine for an aging mind. +