Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Forge of Memory, pt. 2

Memories rarely stick when you think they will. You can't make them stay. They do or they don't; you aren't allowed into the decision. They're ornery that way. It's a neural hat trick, which events stay embedded in the folds of the brain, which get discarded. It's alchemy.

I remember few Christmas mornings. You're supposed to, of course, that's where the emphasis goes, what all the commercials point to as the most important moment. It's what everyone prepares for, when everyone takes out the camera. Why some families spend hundreds of dollars on presents and decorations: to make a perfect family memory. But it doesn't work, not very often. You can't force a memory. They do what they wanna do. Like I said: ornery.

My Christmas memories are of being on the roof putting up Christmas lights in the weeks beforehand, of playing with Play-doh in the languor of the days after. Of wondering what the giant present hidden in the closet is. Of watching my sister open wrapping paper with the cat's claw so she can see what the present is, yet preserve deniability by blaming the cat.

Toys breaking, I remember. Arguments, I remember.

Several years ago, the girls and I were putting up Christmas lights, and a deer wandered onto our block, elegant, unhurried, strolling from one lawn to the next. I called the little Hux out to watch. Then boom!, a backyard dog began to bark, the deer vanished in a series of leaps, pogo-ing away, all four legs pumping at the same time.

It's a reindeer, said the eldest. It's flying!

That, we've all remembered.

15 comments:

A. Rue said...

My father has been transferring old home movies to DVD. I watched some while I was home over Labor Day Weekend. The first was of the day we got the video camera: Christmas 1993. I hardly remember the day at all.

I would like a reindeer.

-Beth

Clowncar said...

We always have the camera out Christmas morning. We almost always forget to use it.

Will a hand-drawn reindeer do? We can handle that. I showed eldest your pic on Facebook just last night. She said will we see her again? I said, I hope so.

And I do. Lemme know if you want that reindeer.

Jasmine said...

Funny, you make me smile. Thank you for your comment. Shows me just how unconsciously spod like and jargonistic we can all be. I won't bore with you the real definitions. You will have far more fun imagining some up of your own :) xJ

ArtSparker said...

Heh, you can't plan these things.

meno said...

The things i remember are not the things that were designed for me to remember. Those things are forgettable, as all went according to plan. Things that deviate from the plan stick around.

Like the year that a parent thought it would be funny to give one of my brothers a lump of coal in his stocking. I remember the meanness of that act and the relief that it was not me.

A. Rue said...

I would love that. Both the picture, and the visit. Give the girls a hug for me.

Margaret said...

This brought on a very slight panic; I don't remember Christmases, either. Just the wait.

But, yes. Memory . . . ornery.

Fresca said...

I remember the anticipation of Christmases more than their culmination---expect that's a common condition.
As Spock says in "Amok Time,"
"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."

Sabra said...

A memory as fresh as a light snow fall at dusk.

Land of shimp said...

Just catching up here, Clowncar and I think that will be my new, official Christmas memory, if you don't mind. I'm not taking it, just sharing it :-)

Here, I'll give you our funniest one, not quite as magical or whimsical but it is very typical of our household. We used to live in a house in Denver that was built in 1912 and our first married Christmas there, we discovered that clay sewer pipes have this thing with roots growing in them, and backing up.

Santa brought up sewage water, thankfully, it was just the backup of sewage tainted water, not actual sewage, but it was awful enough to send us fleeing into the streets, gasping for fresh air where we all laughed our heads off because...good lord...what god of karmic retribution had we ticked off?

We eventually did track down the problem, and actually ended up having the sewer line replaced (wheeeeee) when we built on to that house...an unsealed "grease trap" proved to be the villain.

The very same villain that caused the same back up of sewer water one week later, on New Year's.

No. I didn't kill a man in Reno just to watch him die, or anything :-) I am, however, a bad Coloradoan as I didn't even know we had a state fair.

Enjoyed your memories, Clowncar and they sparked some of my own. Thank you for sharing them.

Clowncar said...

Thanks Jasmine. I can while away an afternoon wondering what "Blue Faced Leicester curls" are.

Art, you are right. Like contentment, like tornadoes, like death by spontaneous combustion, memories are hard to predict.

Meno, we once tried to dispose of a Chrismas tree in the fireplace. Flames came out the chimney, neighbors came out of their houses and watched. Deviating from the plan indeed.

Margaret, the wait, and the aftermath, rarely the thing itself. Isn't that odd?

Fresca, Amok Time! I can hear the music played under the big fight scene as I type. He's dead, Jim.

SS, what a nice (and nicely phrased) memory. Unplanned and perfect.

Shimp, nooooooooo! You didn't know Colorado had a State Fair? For shame! Come next year, meet us at the Tilt-a-Whirl, I'll buy you a corn dog. Oh, and nice memory, even if it was about sewage.

Hilary said...

And no doubt, always will. What a great memory.. it's a gift.

Fresca said...

CLOWN: Except in Amok Time,
it's "You're dead, Jim." : )

Fresca said...

P.S. You know Theodore Sturgeon wrote Amok Time?
Which helps explain why it's good ...though he also wrote "Shore Leave, which was bad.

Clowncar said...

Fresca, I killed the wrong actor!

Didn't know Sturgeon wrote either of those episodes, though you are right, Shore Leave was deeply goofy.

The only writer I know of connected to ST is that Harlan Ellison wrote City On the Edge of Forever. Which I loved, but recall he hated. I learned he hated it - and this'll date me - when he was on Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show. Remember tom Snyder?