Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Night Lights

You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If one carries many such memories into life, one is safe to the end of one's days, and if one has only one good memory left in one's heart, even that may be the means of saving us.

***From The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky

Today it's a clear, crisp fall day. It's the kind of day where everything is more vibrant. Sunrises. The glad-to-be-home scent of an apple crisp baking. The triumphant blare of a marching band. The tartness of an apple. Even memories are more intense this time of year.

This time of the year I think of my Uncle Don. When I picture him, he's always smiling. Always. Uncle Don wore a megawatt smile, capable of brightening any room. Even as I write this and picture that grand smile, I smile. It's that powerful of a smile.

Every Friday evening in the fall, my Uncle Don and cousin Tim would pick me up and we'd go to the Pomona High School football game. While other kids played touch football or flitted about the concession stand, Tim and I were expected to watch the game. At halftime we would visit the concession stand for a bag of popcorn and Coke, and then we'd return to the game. Even if there was no doubt to the outcome of the game, we'd stay for the final tick of the clock.

I know that my words don't fully capture the memory, but that doesn't matter to me. What matters is that I keep trying to find the right words. What really matters is that I'm still able to step into a fall evening, close my eyes, transport myself back in time, and linger a little longer with my Uncle Don.

clear eyes, full hearts can't lose,


Ruth said...

he had a smile that made you want to join his journey in life.

Kevin said...

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

I don't regret growing up an Army brat. There was goodness in moving every two years, and in crossing the Mason-Dixon line with just about every one of them. Always starting over, emerging oneself in a new experience, and taking in all of America.
But the cost was that I'm a mile wide but only an inch deep. I can tell you how much faster the players on an 8-man football team are than your typical 11-man, or how the hot girls in Georgia were all cheerleaders but the hot girls in Baltimore played lacrosse, or how an inner city 7th grader might have no clue where the hamburger on his plate came from, but can navigate the city bus or rail system with his eyes closed.
What I can't tell you is what a certain time of the year smells like, or what the light is like ... because it was different every other year. In that respect, I have very few memories, replaced with colder experiences. And in that regard, I will always be envious of those with more firmly planted roots. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Michele just lost her Uncle Don last week. (Was supposed to get together with K but ended up leaving for Nebraska a day early.) I hate to sound self-absorbed, but those kinds of events with her family hit me harder than they hit her. When the entire family lives in the same town for a hundred years, you put down roots that are a foreign concept to this Army brat and life-long vagabond. Roots and memories. I so envy those of you who have them. Meanwhile, my mom and dad are flying out her for Esperanza's adoption ceremony ... and it will be the first time they've been in the same zip code in 25 years. I'm betting we'll be creating some memories ... just hope they're the good kind!