Memories Light The Corners Of My Mind


Friends from long ago are spending the weekend with us. Despite the ten-year plus gap of having absolutely no contact and having no idea how to contact each other, my friend opted to do a people search. I think he said he paid ninety-eight cents to find our phone number. Actually, he never located a working number for me. He did; however, find a number for Andrea Forrester.  That number turned out to be  our phone number. At some level that serves to substantiate the point of my blog yesterday: “You don’t always get what you pay for, but if you don’t pay for it you don’t get it.” Ninety-eight cents didn’t get him my number, it got him my daughter’s number that turned out to be mine. I’m grateful to have the renewed contact.

He mentioned in passing that he was also provided an opportunity to conduct a criminal background check. I smiled. Because of State regulations where I work and the number of different agencies I work with, I get five criminal background checks a year. I don’t live in fear that they will eventually come up with something, but it does seem like an extravagant waste of resources.

If I were ever arrested for anything, I’d be in a lot of trouble. For one thing, I’d hear my mother’s voice telling me: “This will be on your permanent record.” I heard that many times during my growing up years, but this time she would be right. An arrest record does have a way of lingering around for a very long time. In addition, if anyone ever suggested to me that I had a right to remain silent, I would mess that up before they completed the sentence. I have a history of successfully talking people out of shooting me. Actually, that’s not true. The Honorary General has never threatened to shoot me. However, I’m sure if she had killed me the first time she thought about it, she would be out of prison by now. That has to be a bitter pill to swallow.

Memories light the corners of my mind. James and I were friends in college. Friendship and shared time with James and subsequently, with he and Linda, his wife, fill many corners of my mind.  When we moved to San Angelo in 1970, James was living and working in Abilene. At the time he was single. When you are working and single, the ability to purchase adult toys like a boat for skiing is an option unavailable to many young families. The Honorary General and I used our discretionary funding to pay childcare for Craig instead of buying a boat. Of course in a perfect world I would have had both?

However, we really didn’t need a boat. James visited often through the summer months and he always brought his boat. As I thought about that memory in the corner of my mind yesterday, I asked: “James, help me with my memory. Were you really driving a Mazda to pull your boat?” He smiled and said, “Yes”. The boat was bigger than the car. For some reason, I never thought that strange before. Isn’t it true that you most often associate a ski-rig being pulled behind a pick-up truck or Suburban, instead of a vehicle half its size?

Sometimes James brought good music with him when he came our direction. I remember it well. I don’t remember the year, but it was during that same period of time. James brought an album by Roberta Flack. What a voice! I can still hear the lyrics to “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” rolling around in my head. It was and is an amazing song!

Another memory that lights the corners of my mind relates to the first time James and Linda came to see us after we moved to Fort Worth in 1974. We had just bought our first home. We were living in Wedgwood, southwest of downtown. It was a comfortable neighborhood where most of the streets begin with a “W”, such as Wedgmont, Wrigley and Winifred. We lived on Wedgmont.

By then, marriage had taken its toll on James (my words, not his). James had sold his boat. In addition, James and Linda opted to trade the orange Mazda in on a new Chevrolet Malibu. They bought the car when they came to see us. I guess it is always good to get out of Abilene. The car isn’t the only thing they bought that trip.

I had never been to “Pier 1” before, but Linda wanted to go. It was located in downtown Fort Worth. In fact, we were very familiar with the location. Both Treva and I worked in downtown. What I didn’t know about “Pier 1” is that shoppers can spend half a day at that location. Honestly, how long does it take to pick out new dishes?

One of the memories that lights the corner of my mind is the obvious fact that Linda has discriminating taste. She carefully opts to take her time making a decision. At least that was true concerning the dishes. James, being the dutiful husband, beautifully displayed the patience of Job. I remember being done with the store in fifteen minutes, but I was only one out of four. That probably isn’t the only time in my life that I’ve been the odd man out.

Craig was delighted to learn that James and Linda were visiting us this weekend. He, too, has many memories that light the corners of his mind concerning James and Linda. When he was young, our families spent a lot of time together. They couldn’t have been fonder of Craig. He liked spending time with them.

In fact, when Craig was in the third or fourth grade he had to have surgery. We sought out the doctor in Houston with whom Linda worked. He was incredibly nice and competent. One of the memories in the corner of my mind associated to James and Linda is the experience of their support when Craig had surgery. In fact, I asked yesterday, “Wasn’t Dr. Balm the name of the doctor?” Believe it or not, I got it right. Interestingly, today I couldn’t tell you the name of my primary care physician. I don’t know if that is because I’m forgetful or that I simply don’t see him as being particularly competent. I think the best answer is probably, “Both”.

One of the memories that Craig has related to James and Linda brings up a fear factor for him. He said, “Dad, I remember ‘Bosco’. As a child, I was terrified of that cat.” I’ve never been a cat person. I sense they are passive aggressive animals and they gravitate toward me like a humming bird seeking nectar. I don’t remember what kind of cat Bosco was, but he clearly was closely akin to a tiger. I was afraid of that cat as well.

Did I mention that the memories that light the corners of my mind concerning James and Linda reflect the reality that while some things have changed, most remain the same? Linda still has discriminating taste. She likes to take her time making a decision. They are celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary. James opted to buy her a very expensive purse. I don’t get it. If the Honorary General spent that much money on a purse, she’d have nothing to put inside it. At any rate, Linda changed her mind three times related to the purse she wanted. How many trips do you have to make to the mall to get it right? Obviously, at least three.

At some point yesterday afternoon, Linda mentioned to me that Treva was ready to replace some of her dishes. (The Honorary General is almost as bad as Linda when it comes to dishes and we have absolutely no room left to store even one more plate.)  Knowing that, Linda said, “If you’ll let Treva purchase pottery from Poland, she’ll get rid of the fiesta ware”. From my perception, fiesta ware is a slight upgrade to paper plates when it comes to casual dining.

I didn’t fall into the trap. For one thing, the Honorary General doesn’t need my permission to purchase anything. If for a moment, she thought she did, she’d purchase it just to prove that I’m not at the top of the organizational chart. Secondly, the Honorary General likes fiesta ware. I don’t get it, but I know her well enough to know that she may add to her collection of dishes, but she isn’t going to part with any.

At any rate, it is great sharing time with old friends. Craig and his family are coming today to see them as well. They haven’t seen Craig since his wedding. That was two decades ago, so they will share many memories that light the corners of their minds.

All My Best!



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