Friday, March 31, 2017

Living in the Past?

The Past - Thomas Cole (Source)
There are moments every now and then when my memories threaten to engulf me. Sometimes they are really good memories, sometimes they're not. I can't always pinpoint what causes the sudden remembrance of some event in the past, sometimes it's a scent in the air, sometimes it's a photograph, sometimes it's nothing at all. The memory swims up out of the depths of my soul, grabs me, then takes me away.

Usually not for long. Sometimes it's just a brief dip into the past but there are days when that memory will gnaw at me all day long. Until the next one pops up.

I think this happens more as I get older. Is it because I have more memories now than I did when I was in my twenties? Or is it the ever growing awareness of my own mortality? I don't know, I'm no philosopher. Well, I am but I suck at it. Don't have the attention span to really go after a thought and pursue it to a logical conclusion. Or not, as the case may be. (Not all ideas/thoughts have a logical conclusion. I think.)

You might say I'm a "greeting card philosopher," a couple of slick phrases that make you pause and say, "Wow, that was almost profound." Then I'm moving on to the next thought. Incidentally, that's how I shop for greeting cards. I stand there for a moment (no, not trying to remember who the card is for), look at the various cards, figure out what I want to say, then focus on the section that's close to what I want. Depending on who the card is for, I'll go serious, humorous, or religious. I'll read through a couple, and if one makes me pause and think, "Wow, that's kind of profound." Then I'll buy it.

I don't keep looking once I find what I'm looking for, which drives some people nuts. DAMHIK.

But yeah, the past, history, and memory. They all grab my attention.

Even the painful memories are sometimes necessary to re-live. Mostly to remember the people and places that I won't ever see again in this lifetime. While often painful, some of those memories also make me remember the good times. I cherish those moments, even with the pain.

That holds true for the good memories, but more so as there isn't as much pain.

"Isn't as much pain Sarge? Shouldn't there be no pain at all in the good memories?"

Well, yes and no. There are times I remember the fun we had when the kids were young. Those times are gone. There is a hint of pain in those memories. Perhaps it's more like melancholy. Sad and pensive. Melancholy is a good word.

The Present - Thomas Cole (Source)
While I don't live in the past, I do like to go back and visit.

From time to time.

Listened to those guys a lot back in the day.

Still do.

From time to time.


  1. I'm just about 10 years behind you, and I find the same thing happening. Revisiting my childhood has a lot of bittersweet. I remember things at the weirdest times, too.

    I had to read a story in college, and Literature is always about "the deeper meaning". I hated that, I'm a WYSIWYG. But one story we read told about a man and his son swimming one day, then putting on their still wet trunks to swim early the next morning. The trunks were cold and wet, and made them suck in a breath when they got them on. That was supposed to be a picture of our mortality somehow.

    I wonder if that's what is happening now. As we age, we are going back through the album of our memories. Revisiting the important things, people, and events that really shaped who we are now. Making peace with our past, so to speak.

    I'm not sure, but it is interesting how many old memories have flooded in my head in the last few months.

    1. I'm with you STxAR, I'm very much a non-subtle, WYSIWYG kind of guy.

      If I had read that bit about the swim trunks, my reaction would have been to either find a better way to dry them overnight, or have a back up set of trunks. But perhaps that's just me.

  2. "While I don't live in the past, I do like to go back and visit". So very true. I think the good memories
    and the painful memories help us appreciate where we are today. Of all the songs you could have picked, this
    song brought back a very painful memory and yet it is still one I cherish. This song was a favorite of my best
    friend at Udorn. In fact, he played it so much that I used to threaten to break his album!!

    He was a crew member on an U-34 delivering supplies to troops on the Plain of Jars when he go shot in the head.
    R.I.P. Sam!!

    1. Shame about Sam, we lost so many good ones over there.

      (Wow, UH-34, I had a model of that helicopter as a kid.)

  3. It's interesting to me how certain smells can snap me back. The most powerful snapping back smells are those associated with my naval service. Burned kerosene is remarkably potent; a whiff of that starts the pictures in my head and often has me scampering around like a twenty-something for hours or even days. The other one is "the smell of the carrier." The first time I stepped aboard Midway in her new guise as museum ship I nearly broke down and blubbered. No other smell like carrier smell.

    Jethro Tull. A name from the past, named for a name from the past. I wonder what music the agriculturalist listened to, and what memories he replayed in the 1730's?

    1. I remember the time The WSO took me into one of the hangars at NAS Oceana to see the "her" jet. It had her name on the side, the only one to have her maiden name on it. The others had her married name. Anyhoo, the sights and smells nearly overwhelmed me. Took me back to the late 70s, early 80s when I worked the mighty Phantom.

      Don't get me started at the feelings I get when I get into an old aircraft cockpit. The smell makes it feels like home in a way. Though anyone can tell you, there's some nastiness mixed into that aroma.

      Not many of my friends would know the "real Jethro Tull. Old Englishman that he was and not a band at all.

      Oh, and which one's "Pink"?

    2. "Military aircraft cockpits smell like sweat and fear." Forget who said that, but it's true in my experience.

    3. Couple other things as well. But that works.

  4. Packing and sorting ...or is it the other wat around... draws forth some memories I had totally forgotten.
    There are moments when I want to continue this move forever.

    1. I get that, don't linger too long, the past has a way of enveloping you.

      But you knew that, probably far better than I.

      Bless you Skip.

    2. It'll eat you alive if you concentrate on the wrong memories.

  5. Thanks for putting into words what many ( I think ) of us feel.

    Paul L. Quandt


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