I’m definitely an “in the moment” type woman. I don’t dwell on the past, and while I anticipate the future, I truly live today for today. Being such, it often surprises me when I find myself in a loop of memories. I don’t mean the sporadic memory triggered by a song or a scent, but rather when one memory trigger is followed by another and another and another. Such has been the case the past few days.
It piques my curiosity when this happens. Is there something I need to know? Is there a need I’ve been neglecting? Even more curious is that each memory in this current loop involves the same town. The town I call home. That, in itself, is odd. You see, I have lived in many places, from one coast to the other, and despite spending the least number of years in this particular town, I still feel it is where I’m from. I’ve been away 32 years and when asked, I still answer that I’m from there.
This memory loop began when I was cleaning out my paint cabinet and opened a can of walnut stain to see if it was still good. It splashed onto my hand and stained my skin. Like a flash of lightning, I was transported back to a time when my brother and I collected dozens of burlap sacks full of black walnuts. We were going to sell them and become “gazillionaires”! What actually happened was we had bags weighing several hundred pounds, and with no way to lift or transport them, they rotted and we had nothing to show for our efforts. Except stained hands.
The next memory trigger occurred after I decided to rent and watch War Horse this weekend. I thought it was a family movie and was totally unprepared for such an emotional tale. As a former horse owner, I found myself tearing up over and over again, but when Joey (the horse) got caught in barbed wire, I lost it! I mean full-out sobbing. I knew it was only a movie and the horse was fine, but it triggered a memory of the night my own thoroughbred horse ran through a barbed wire fence. I couldn’t find him and was frantic. The next day, a neighbor about 2 miles away called–there was a horse tangled in barbed wire hanging out in her back yard…was it perhaps ours? Yes! Happy reunion; followed by permanent loss when he was sold while I was away at school.
Today I decided to make potato soup. For some reason, I cannot make potato soup without thinking about high school Home Ec class, in that same town. In particular, I have memories of making potato soup with (for?) the varsity football team. Thankfully, I’m in touch with some of my h/s classmates so I’ll have to ask someone else if they remember details of this or if they, too, think of Home Ec class whenever they make potato soup.
Pulling out my cookbook for my favorite potato soup recipe also became a memory trigger. It was given to me by Grandma Bea, my best friend’s grandmother, while I was back for a visit.
It’s one of those “church ladies” cook books; this makes me smile. Holding it in my hands, I remember potluck suppers, incriminating stares, and kind hearts. Flipping through the pages, I recognize names from the past and wonder about them all. I wonder where they are, if their families still enjoy their cooking, and if they know how precious their 1990-91 cookbook is to me. While many things trigger memories of this town, the cookbook is the only item that allows me to recreate a little bit of my past.
While I may no longer be in my hometown, my hometown will always be in my heart. Perhaps that is the singular reason I still call it my hometown: it got into my heart. Sometimes we all need a little bit of home, regardless how it comes to us.
Thanks for the memories!
The Yellow Kite