father knows best

1 09 2008

Ubiquitous donut shops.  There are probably hundreds of them around the country – but they aren’t Chuck’s.  The six stools that line the bar is the seating of choice even though there are tables.  One carton of milk with one donut.  No more, no less – but there was an exception.  That is what he remembers.  The time he got two.  

That wasn’t the only time he got to go there…over the years it has to number into the hundreds of times.  He doesn’t remember them all.  He doesn’t remember the ones that she remembers.  Even if they remember the same one – there will be different details, different nuances.

Over the years I’ve been fascinated by the gymnastics people go through to create perfect memories.  Elaborate schemes to make some impression on the gray matter.  I keep coming back to the fact that I can’t control WHAT a person remembers.  Some of the best memories aren’t pre-calculated.  

My dad wasn’t setting out to make some kind of impression on his grandkids.  He just wanted to give them a treat.  That is what they remembered.  I don’t know if my kids remember the efforts my parents went to in order to  make a trip to visit us in Spain.  That was a huge deal to my parents – getting passports, packing for a long trip, traveling overseas, bringing suitcases of just presents.  Photos might trigger memories for the kids but the ones that spill out without missing a beat are the simplest things.

It’d be refreshing if we’d all just chill out a bit with our families a be a bit more like Homer Simpson.  “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”