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Letter: Memories make us who we are

During a long sleepless October night I have come to the awareness of the “known.” It is a time when we must all face the loss of what was and of letting go.

I no longer need to replace my fraying towels, the springs in my beloved chair, nor the broken dish from my best china. Even the town I loved is no more. It’s no longer a safe haven nor is it treasured by the newcomers or the young. It has lost its smile. The only precious thing left to us, the old ones, the sages, is a small island on the edge of town. A place I would share with the awakening wild things on a summer morning or an afternoon by its lake feeling the quietness, the softness of its summer air.

When I leave this place, where I was born, I’ll take no more than memories but they are my treasures. The look of pure love and trust on a small child’s face. The aroma of Sunday dinner as I walked through the door of my mother’s home, the trust and sharing with a friend, the kindness of an employer, Christmas Eve, snowflakes, a summer storm, new shoes, a new tube of toothpaste, reading in a hammock, a new recipe that works, sitting in the tree of a blossoming apple orchard, the first day I could count to 100, a new box of crayons, new shoe strings during the Great Depression, the satisfying snap of biting into a hot dog or crisp apple, dandelions because they cheer me and are the first flowers brought to me by my little boys, the scent of little boy sweat, and the tender vulnerability of their small necks, the clink of ice cubes in a glass of lemonade, and laughter — always laughter.

These things and more I will never leave behind with my old towels. We may be only flowers in the wind but until I know better, I am satisfied with knowing that I always have had enough. Memories are all we have but they have made us who we are.

Patricia Harding