I had an apple for lunch today. A MacIntosh Apple. Remember them? Remember when “apple” was the SECOND word in a phrase, when it was a “something” apple, not an Apple “something”? All alone at home, save for the pet menagerie, I had a MacIntosh apple for lunch and I was transported back in time, born aloft on the wings of tiny memories.
We always talk about the big things when we talk about memories, don’t we? We just assume that the bigger the event the bigger the memory, and the bigger the memory the more it must resonate. Beth and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and this of course prompted us to reminisce about our wedding day. We had an absolutely spectacular wedding, one that our friends and family still talk about, still compare with other weddings. It’s funny, though, when I look back on that magnificent day all of the really big things that you’d think I would remember are really kind of running “fast forward” and filmed through a slightly out of focus lens. I remember them, I really do, the bigness is just kind of… big! What I DO remember though is every tiny detail about my first date with Beth. I burned the scallops! And yet many’s the night when I sit down to dine with my “netty empster” partner, just the two of us, and a tiny memory of that first date alights.
Tiny memories are different like that. Take that Apple I had for lunch. A McIntosh apple, the kind of apple that pretty much everyone I know thinks of when they think of an apple from childhood. I just started buying them again; I have no idea why. I don’t think I’ve bought any real Macintosh apples for some 15 years or so. Do you remember the apples of your childhood? I sure do. My mom wasn’t really a great cook, if you define greatness by complexity or the use of fresh ingredients plucked from some farm stand or specialty shop somewhere. My Mom was an expert at foods that created tiny memories, though.
We only ever had MacIntosh apples in the house. All by themselves they were something better than good. Every now and then there would be something a little bit special. Maybe Mom put the salt shaker out and we remembered to shake a little bit of Morton’s goodness on our Apple. Perhaps she whipped up a little bit of cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on the apples. This was usually REALLY special because cinnamon sugar apples were almost always sliced in a bowl! When she made apple crisp… even without ice cream apple crisp was an event.
I find that tiny memories can be triggered by equally tiny things, and those tiny memories always seemed to transport me back in time to to a warm and happy place. It’s not always a trip to childhood, although the first stop on the trip may indeed a be a place I knew as a child. It’s not that these places or that these memories evoke a better time or anything like that. I’m truly convinced that the best day of my life so far was today. No, it’s something else, something a little less and something a little more. The best of the tiny memories seem to be crystal clear in their details, kinda viewed in HD. Tiny portraits or little scenes whose details are surrounded and framed by happiness. Perhaps even by love.
Do you have these? These tiny memories that flit and fly across your consciousness like so many tiny sprites, floating aloft on wings so delicate they can’t be seen? No matter how hard your life might have been, I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have at least of few of these tiny memories. I can’t land at O’Hare or Midway without at least a little smile. Going to Chicago! That’s what I chanted when I traveled through the kitchen in the turkey basting pot. Who knows why Chicago. Every successful landing in Chicago comes with one of my tiny memories.
I wonder, as I get older, what will become of my tiny memories. Will they be the ones that will remain? Will they be the ones I’ll hang onto, call upon, resurrect as I plow on? I sure hope so. I sure hope that the first barefoot step on a beach, new or old, will still make me hear the screen door slam at the beach house in Manasquan. I hope I have to climb over someone on my way to the “way back” of some great big SUV, so that I can remember the epic climb over my brother and sisters to the back of that Chevy wagon my Mom drove. I hope I’m standing on the tee at some golf course watching some guy wiggle and waggle and generally make a fool of himself as he gyrates through his pre–shot routine, and I hope a tiny memory of my Dad barking at me or my brother floats in for a landing. “Quit farting around!”
Dad said FART!
Yup, I was home today for lunch, just me, the dogs, and Thug, the world’s biggest rabbit. I had a MacIntosh apple for lunch. Not sure which was sweeter, that wonderful, nearly perfect apple, or that tiny memory of a time long ago, the details in HD, so vivid. The details–the memories–surrounded by love.
I smiled. Someone had left the salt out.
This entry was posted on Monday, October 25th, 2010 at 6:33 pm and is filed under Random Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.