Saturday, August 07, 2010
A Memorable Friday Five
We were asked to share:
A treasured memory from childhood: Going to the grain elevator with my dad in the summertime, and getting a quarter to put in a rusty, battered old Coca-Cola machine that sat in a dusty corner. The elevator smelled of grain...molasses...mineral blocks. Sparrows chirped from the rafters. I would buy a bottle of Coca-Cola, and split it with my dad. It's never tasted the same since I was a little kid.
A teenage memory: Another farm-related memory: Making hay. It was a great summer job. I drove tractor while my dad stacked the hay bales. My father was very exacting about baling and wouldn't tolerate lost hay; I had to practice to aim the baler right down the middle of the windrows, and turn corners so that not one strand of loose hay escaped the baler -- or else I'd have to go back, after the field was baled, and pick up all the missed corners. Once I was sufficiently schooled in that task, though, I was happy to drive around and around, thinking my own thoughts, composing Great American Novels, observing the wildlife around me in the fields and surrounding pastures. I really think every teenager should have a job that involves some sort of manual proficiency, and a tangible work product.
A young adult memory: Other than my university years, I don't have a lot of happy young adult memories. After I graduated from college I couldn't find a job in my major, or indeed any kind of college-graduate-worthy job, and wound up working in a bookstore. If you have to slum, that's about the best slumming job there is. But I recall walking home from the food coop one day, and being overtaken by a wave of despair and hopelessness. I will never find a real job, I remember thinking. I am going to become one of those burned-out college town lifers who haunt the sidewalks and cafes decades after their university careers. It actually took me two more years to escape that fate.
A memory from this summer: We just made a good memory, this very weekend, by taking a spontaneous two-day stealth vaycay up to Suttons Bay for the Suttons Bay Art Fair. (This pleasant surprise was made possible by the Saginaw Chippewa tribe -- ironic considering my profound lack of interest in gambling. Earlier in the week FT had been called away from a stained glass project for The Kids by her sister, whose car had broken down -- in Frankenmuth, two hours away. No one else was available to help. FT reluctantly made the trip downstate, got her sister back home, headed north -- and stopped en route to discharge some frustration at a regional casino. Ten minutes into her grumpy arrival she hit a jackpot at a nickel machine. When she called me, she was so excited that she could barely make sense. FT's 10-minute flirtation with Lady Luck pretty much paid for our excursion. I'm not complaining.) We had a romantic evening meal at North Centennial Inn, a restored inn with a lovely wrap-around porch overlooking a shady perennial garden. The food was wonderful; the service was professional and discreet; the atmosphere was evocative of historic "lake country." It was a beautiful way to spend a cool summer evening.
A memory you hope to have. I would like to be able to, at the end of my days, genuinely say, Thank you for the gift of my life.
Bonus: And on that note, here's Dave Matthews singing a favorite Beatles song of mine: