“You’d worry less about what people think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
I don’t remember who said that; it might have been me—sounds like something I might say, but I’m thinking today that I might also say, “You’d be surprised how often I think about you, and what I remember you saying.”
As I filled the dishwasher, a conversation from 42 years ago ran through my head:
“Finally I have a dishwasher!” Alvera announced with joy.
“How do you like it when you’re doing your baking?” Charlotte asked.
Automatic dishwashers weren’t common in the circles I ran in 40 years ago, and I listened intently as they sang the praises of their new kitchen appliance. How handy for cleaning up the mess from baking projects. How completely it rinsed the coffee carafe. What a relief to have the kids load and unload the dishwasher rather than nagging them to do what was surely a sub-sanitary job of washing dishes by hand.
We were still living in a duplex at the time, and certainly didn’t have a dishwasher in our kitchen. At the core of me I believed I’d be happy forever if I had one of my own.
Parenthetically, when I did eventually have one, there was no real thrill. It was as if I’d never been without one. There’s a lesson there, too, but the thing that strikes me today is that 42 years since I heard that conversation, and at least 25 years since I’ve seen either of these women, I still remember them each time I open the dishwasher.
There are others I remember:
When I’m driving my car, the remembered voice of my Dad, who passed on to Heaven in 1979, reminds me to “Look ahead. Keep in mind what you’d do if suddenly a car veered over into your lane. Is there a ditch you can drive into? Or is there a culvert that you need to stay away from? Always be aware where you can bail out.” He was a firm proponent of defensive driving years before it had a name.
In church this morning, the fifth of July, we had a portion of the service dedicated to a patriotic theme. It actually was lovely, laying to rest concerns I had about equating worship of country with worship of God as has been our experience on some previous holidays. In fact, I remembered Nancy, who seemed to worship the flag and said “America!” in the same reverent voice as she said “Jesus!”
I never eat tuna without remembering Jane who laughed when I waxed eloquent over an elaborate, many-ingredient tuna salad she served at her beach house.
Sitting on our back porch, watching golfers go by on the fairway, brings a memory of Carl and his friend Dallas in matching rocking chairs on the patio, sharing the same old stories, laughing at each others’ jokes.
Dallas died last year, so that’s a bittersweet memory, as memories often are. Friends do die. Friendships fade or sour. Friends reject us and move on, and new friends move in making new memories. Friends move in an out of our lives like seasons, and like a cold front, a storm may accompany a change of season.
Memories swim into my consciousness at the most unexpected, often inconvenient times, still attached to emotions that accompanied the event.
I wonder if anyone remembers me. And if they do, what do they remember? I’m sure none of the people I remember knew they were saying something I’d remember years later. Have I said anything memorable? And was it a good word to remember?