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Memories Are A Fickle Beast.

I was sitting on my recliner watching TV wondering what my next post was going to be about when out of the blue I got a message from my old friend Richard. “Hey, you ever think about writing about your fathers train set in Hampstead?”

Suddenly I have an entire post written out in my head. But as I started to write I realized I had nothing. My memory of the train set is only a whisper, an image sitting at the very edge of my mind.

I emailed my father asking him what he remembers about the train set. He did not recall a train set in Hampstead, neither did my mother. They did however remember one in Cote St Luc that took up a quarter of basement. We moved out of that house in 1968, I was three. All of which makes sense. The train set Richard and I remember took up a large portion of the basement. And while Davey Crocket may have “kilt himself a bear when he was only three” I was not so advanced and rather than out killing bears I could have very well been trying to stand on my toes to look at a train set.

The problem is Richard, we met in elementary school there is no way he was ever at the house in Cote st Luc.

Any way one looks at it memory is a fickle beast.

The other day the song “Me and My Bobby McGee” was playing on the radio, the second Roger Miller got to the line ‘windshield wipers keepin time I held Bobby’s hand in mine…’ I was transported to my youth. Vivid images danced through my head of my father and one of his friends sitting in the country house, fire roaring in the fire place guitars in hands singing and playing that particular song. It is a Norman Rockwell moment forever etched in my brain.

The smell of gasoline conjures up memories of my fathers speed boat he had back in the day. I remember having to fill the two little red gas tanks that sat behind the back seats. And from these memories others spill forth. They are wonderful, the good the bad and the ugly.

I love photographs, I’ve got an ipod an ipad a camera many sd cards with loads of photograph’s on each one. We have boxes and albums after albums of photos. And I will keep them, add too them and eventually they will be passed along. But at the end of the day the memories that mean the most to me are not the ones in the photo’s. They are the ones forever etched in my brain regardless of how fuzzy or inaccurate they are.

I’ll forever remember my polar bear teddy bear, (I still have it) and how Teddy saved me from the dark nights and bad dreams. I’ll never Forget the t-shirt with Flipper the dolphin on it. Or how about my brother scaring the crap out of me with the large paper mache indian mask. Or the time the steering wheel wouldn’t turn the wheels on the bumper cars and I was stuck in a corner of the track. Or the theme from the six million dollar man running through my head when the orderly was wheeling me into surgery.

When all is done it is not the photograph, it is not the object. It’s the mind and the feelings that are evoked. I don’t think we can control preserve or dismiss them. They just are.

A Visit

So the parental units came a visiting from Montreal. They were waiting for us in the hotel lobby when we got off work. We shook hands hugged and kissed and agreed that we all looked wonderful. Then we had to ask the big question, where to go for dinner! While this may seem trivial in most families it is a serious issue in mine. We decided that we would take the conversation up to the hotel room because it was just too big of a decision to make sitting in the lobby.

And then the fun began.

The four of us, my mother, father, wife and myself packed ourselves into the tiny elevator to make the journey to the third floor. Before the elevator doors closed my mother looks at my father, “Phil, you left my purse in the lobby!” She runs out of the elevator while my father tries to hold the doors open leaving my wife and I wondering when it became my fathers job to keep track of my mothers purse.

Finally we are all in the elevator with all our belongings, the doors shut, my wife and I on one side, my father and mother on the other. My father at the controls. We engage in the usual chatter about the drive up the unusual amount of rain and just as I’m thinking that we are in a very slow elevator my wife says to my dad, “did ya happen to push the button?” We all had a good laugh and my father sheepishly pushed the button and like magic the elevator began to rise.

My mother looks at me and says, “I smell a blog coming” I looked at the floor, chuckled and as I looked down it struck me, my father and I were wearing the exact same shoes.

Empty Nesters

We are now officially and literally empty nesters. Thirteen days after the eggs hatched all four have flown the coop. The first one left around 10:45 last night. We had just returned from our first ever wine tasting and we saw one of the little guys on the deck. As we approached to get in the door he jumped off the deck and into the grass. We tried to catch him to put him back in the nest because evil lurks in the darkness but we could not get him. The other three were all hunkered down. This morning as we were leaving to go grocery shopping the other three were looking eager to leave. When we got back home they were all gone. They did leave us with a parting gift, as you can see it is a blob of bird poop. So that saga appears to be over I will return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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For those paying attention it has now been nine days since the Robins eggs on our front deck have hatched. The eyes have opened, they have found their voices, pin feathers are turning to full fledged feathers. I imagine it won’t be long till we come home to an empty nest. When I first saw the nest I didn’t think they had a chance being where it is. look where we are now.

Day 1

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Day 9

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Five days have passed since the Robin eggs have hatched on our balcony. I honestly did not expect them to make it this long as the nest is very exposed to predators and the elements. But here they are in all their glory.

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It is spring here in Happy Valley. We have more than mice, wasps and bears. This robin’s nest is on the railing of our front deck. They hatched this morning and it now seems to be dinner time.

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So I’m getting older. Yeah I know, what are the alternatives? In my head I don’t feel old but my body tells a different tale.

Sure I identify with those posts of Facebook. Yes I was born before we had home computers. I remember Television without a remote. I grew up in a world without a phone attached to my hip. And if you wanted HD you looked out the window.

But none of that is what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about struggling to finish one Big Mac meal never mind chowing down two like I did in the olden days back when a Big Mac was actually big. And what is with salt all of the sudden? Are they making it stronger? If I eat a Pizza I’m up half the night guzzling water and the other half is spent peeing. I used to order whatever I wanted and the more the better, now if the picture on the menu looks like it has too much food I order something else.

Back in the day I was captain of the relay team many years in a row. Now I don’t run. Run? Who am I kidding I don’t even bend. Two weeks ago I threw my back out removing clothes from the dryer.

At work we have bakers racks where we put equipment. There are four sometimes five shelves to a rack. I’ve never put anything on the bottom two shelves lately even that third has become daunting.

Socks! Don’t even get me started. It is not the socks so much as the feet. I’ve never been a huge fan of feet. But who in their right mind put them so far out of reach of my hands? I need a nap after putting on my socks.

And what happened to all the actors and actresses? Growing up all the stars were older than me and I could look up to them. Now all of them are so young, exactly when did the scale tip? But as young as they are, that doesn’t bother me nearly as much as Doctors. Doctors are supposed to be older more experienced wiser people. I really don’t like Doogie Howser telling me how I should live my life. (Google it)

I remember my father who used too, (still may) lie down after a shower while he was still wet. He would tell my mother, “I’m drying” Dad, I understand. I really do. I’ll stay in the shower a little longer to delay the drying process.

There are advantages. Sex for example is wonderful, especially the one in the winter.

I’m 47.

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