Enjoy the memories

Published 9:00 am Sunday, July 9, 2023

Hi, all. Just a thought to help start your weekend.

My wife and I just enjoyed hosting our 34th family “4th” cookout get-together. Not every year’s event has been on the 4th, as was the case this year, but we gather within a couple of days before or after that date. We cook a lot, eat a lot, laugh a lot, pass around whatever little ones will let us (this year a 4-month old!), and have a grand ole time. As my Dad tells me quite often, he and my Mom especially treasure these family events as they get older and are less able to travel and get around like they used to.

The older I get, the more I agree. There is no time more valuable to me than the hours, however short, that I get to spend with my grown kiddos and their spouses. I have always been one of those that loved and appreciated family time, gathering with the older generations, and watching the younger ones. Now that I’ve grown so much closer to that “older” generation’s age, the more I realize how precious time is.

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The morning after the majority of our guests had left, I heard myself telling my wife that my knees ached, my back hurt, and my head was throbbing, but it was all so good! I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

You’ll see nothing special about this photo of me perched on a rock bench in front of a quaint little museum in the small town of Parkdale, at the base of Mt. Hood, Oregon. But it’s what you don’t see that tells the story. We’d just stepped off a train that had taken us up to that point, and I had sprinted across the street, hopped up on what I thought was a large rock so my aunt could snap my picture. What I didn’t realize was that the back half of that large rock had been hewn away to form a nice bench facing the museum. I went over backwards, both feet in the air, landing with the center of my back on the edge of the rock, soaking up all the previous day’s rainwater that sat on that rock bench. 

By the time you see me smiling here, I’m hurting, and the back of my shirt and jeans are dripping wet. And in case anyone is wondering, none of what took place interrupted the gentleman on the porch who saw it all happen. He went right on with his rocking.

You see, one of these days, we’ll look back at all the photos of days and family members gone by, and it’s the “rest of the story” that will be missing. Those moments we cherished the most have suddenly slipped by, and we are left to go on our own way, taking whatever hurts along with us. But, oh, it’s good.

I’ll never trade the pain for the memories. Hold close those you love. Cherish every moment in time. Take photos till they’re tired of smiling for the camera. Just do it. We may carry the pain of yesterday, but we can also carry the wonderful memories as well. And those very memories will carry us through today and into tomorrow. What a blessing it is!

Just a thought. ’Til later.

Brad Campbell can be reached at mastah.pastah@yahoo.com.