Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on July 26, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with one comment

A walk down memory lane


“Remember when we said when we turned gray,

When the children grow up and move away,

We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad,

For all the life we’ve had,

 And we’ll remember when.”

Remember When – Alan Jackson


Do you ever feel that things are moving way too fast and that you wish the world would slow down? It feels like we just celebrated New Year’s and now the summer is “slip slidin’ away” like a river after torrential rain. Is there a way we can put the brakes on or are we permanently on fast forward?

The other thing that concerns many of us is the general state of the world. Mother Earth is experiencing such extreme weather. Wildfires seem to be breaking out everywhere and at the same time, once in a hundred-year floods seem to be commonplace. The world is beset by wars and conflicts and many of the world’s most important politicians are taking us down very dangerous roads. Democracy, for those who still believe in it, appears to be threatened.  Is the world going to hell in a handbasket? It’s enough to cause one to bury their heads in the sand or, at a bare minimum, in a good book. Escapism is rampant. Just check the stock prices for Netflix’s parent company.

Gee, Len. You’re brimming with optimism this morning.

The greatest form of escapism I know is nostalgia. I wrote a piece last week that was oozing with “the good old days”. I received a lot of feedback and I mentioned to someone that if I could bottle nostalgia and sell it, I would be a wealthy man. Like a runner’s high, I believe that nostalgia releases endorphins! Let’s collectively put our heads in the sand for just a few minutes.

As we make our way through the muggy dog days of summer, let’s put our feet up, pour ourselves a cold one or a cup of courage (also known as coffee) and let our minds wander back to a simpler time when the clock moved slower.

Do you remember?

Do you remember your very first step? Of course, you don’t but I certainly remember many missteps in my life.

Do you remember your first birthday? Hell no. I can hardly remember my 71st birthday let alone my first. I’m sure most of you have a birthday that stands out. My 10th was one of those. My birthday is on the 10th. I was 10 years old, and I had 10 friends attend my party. How’s that for synchronicity?

Do you remember your first day at school? Sadly, yes. Because I was an August baby, I was young to be going off to school. I lasted until lunch time on day 1 and then took an extended leave for a year.

Do you remember your first confession? Only Catholics need to answer this one. Seriously? How many grade 2 children have sinned? It’s an awful thing telling a priest that you’ve sinned when you haven’t. Of course, at your second confession, you can tell the priest that you lied the first time you talked to him. Now, you are a legitimate sinner!

Do you remember your high school graduation? Many of my graduating class met at my parent’s house after graduation for a party. My father opened one beer which twenty of us shared. I believe that this was an early version of “safe grad”!

Do you remember your first job? For the princely sum of $1.00 an hour, I mowed graves at the cemetery. I worked alone and none of the residents complained about the quality of my work! The only time I got a break was when there was a burial.

Do you remember your first kiss? My first kiss was feeble and that’s being generous. It was memorable for me. Not so much for the unfortunate girl.

Do you remember your first love? It was memorable for me. Not so much for the girl. To protect the good name and reputation of this fair lass, I will say no more. Do you see a pattern here? We all remember our first love, usually followed quickly by our first (of many) heartbreaks.

Do you remember your first ice cream cone? There was a famous restaurant in my hometown called The Brigadoon. They had the best ice cream, milkshakes and sundaes. The back of that restaurant was the location of the bus stop.

Do you remember your first car? I bought a VW Beetle in the early 1970’s in Victoria, B.C. I paid $500 for it, and it wasn’t possible to squeeze $5.00 of gas into the tank. It remains my favourite vehicle of all time.

Do you remember the first movie you saw on the big screen? I can’t say with certainty, but I think my first movie that left an impact on me was Ben Hur. In 1959, our allowance was .50 cents. It cost .37 cents to go to the Saturday matinee. That left .13 cents to purchase penny candy at Dot’s canteen just across the street from the Capitol Theatre. With .13 cents, you could buy enough candy to keep all the dentists in Antigonish busy.

Do you remember your first UIC cheque? I contributed to Unemployment Insurance my entire life and drew exactly one cheque back in 1974. A number of my friends back then were on “pogey”, the term most frequently used to describe one’s state of unemployment. “Yes. No. Yes. Yes. No.” If you were out of work, you had to fill in a record of your unemployment status. There were five questions. If you were on pogey, the answers were easy to remember. Very often, when the UIC cheques arrived, we would have a pogey party to celebrate our good fortune. I believe that they now call it Employment Insurance but to my mind, pogey is still pogey!

Do you remember your wedding day? If you don’t, you’re either deceased or in witness protection. There was a hurricane the day before our wedding. It was still very stormy as we walked down the aisle.

Do you remember the birth of your first child? If you are a woman, I am not going to try to explain what you went through. In 1982, this was an era when men took an active part in labour and delivery. It was one of the scariest and most humbling experiences of my life.

Do you remember the first death that you experienced? An elderly neighbour passed away and, back then, the wake was held in people’s homes. It was a strange sensation entering the living room (which seemed like a misnomer on this ocassion!). I distinctly remember the overpowering smell of all the flowers and staring at the lifeless form of someone who once gave you cookies.

Do you remember the first (vinyl) record you bought? Was it a 33, 45 or 78? Being a 10-year-old in the early 60s, it was likely a Beatles record – a safe bet. I had a substantial LP collection which I sold for a song during a yard sale in the 1990s. Who would have believed that vinyl would make a comeback? I would love to listen to “Dark Side of the Moon” on vinyl one more time with a good set of headphones (and some legalized marijuana?!).

Do you remember buying your first home? We bought a very nice, practical, child proof home back in the 1980s for $86,000. Today, that wouldn’t be enough for a downpayment on a house in many Canadian cities. It would, however, buy you a nice truck.

I could go on ad infinitum, but I know that you have better things to do today than to sit with your eyes glazed over, thinking about the good old days.

Get your heads out of the sand and head to the beach and put your feet in the sand.

Have a great weekend.



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