Special Days to Last a Lifetime

What if you could return in time and relive any day in your life? That question came up over the holidays and has rumbled around in my head ever since. Would you return to a big event day such as a wedding? It would be wonderful to relive a joyous celebration, although I have pictures of those special days and I’d probably choose something else.

How about returning to a special family day? I’m thinking about one when I bundled up the kids in their snowsuits and we trekked off to pick out a Christmas tree, old hound dog bounding alongside. Or how about a remarkable travel day? I could choose the day I hiked up a steep hill in Banff National Park and came around a corner and saw an exquisite turquoise lake. Or maybe I’d want to relive snorkeling alongside a sea turtle in Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay. Any of those would be spectacular, but days like those are already clearly formed in my memory. I can pull them out whenever I want.

I might pick a day when I was in my early twenties and my father was still alive. We could sit at the old kitchen table, and I could ask him questions. I’d start by asking him about his childhood in Tigerton, Wisconsin. He’d tell me about how he and his siblings had to pick rocks out of the poor farmland and haul them to the field’s rock wall.

I’d show him the photo of his family when he was 14 (included below) and ask him about picking cucumbers, bagging them up, and loading them in the old car with partly deflated tires. I’d quiz him about a story my aunt told me after he died. It’s become a favorite. He and his brother took two great horned owl fledglings out of the nest so they could raise them. The owls got excited anytime my father brought his gun outside. Seeing the gun, the owls would fly alongside Dad, eager to be rewarded with the gophers he would shoot.

I would fire even more questions. “Here’s a photo of you in a hay wagon, steering a team of horses. You couldn’t be overe nine years old. Did you ride horses, too? Were you good at it like you were good at shinnying up trees? 

Tell me about the crow you taught to say a few words. And the baby skunk you brought home for us kids intending to keep it as a pet until Mom said, “No way.” And the feral kitten you brought home—the one that we named Bucket and who had an extra claw on each foot. Where did you find her?

My dad, never one to sit, might get antsy. “Hey, Dad,” I’d say. “How about if we head outside?” 

He’d shoot to his feet. 

“We could go back to that trout stream where we fly fished,” I’d say, “or rent a boat and fish for white bass on the Wolf River again. I’d love to go pheasant hunting with you again and then stop at the bar in Honey Creek for those great onion rings. Or we could clear off the old pond and lace our ice skates again so you could twirl me. Maybe we could follow it up with hot chocolate and Grandma’s famous poppyseed cake. 

Ah, yes, I’d choose to spend my day with someone I miss, surrounding myself with enough memories to last a lifetime.

3 Replies to “Special Days to Last a Lifetime”

Rachel Gravunder

What a treasure you are, Amy! Thanks for your insights and special memories. This picture is amazing.

Enough memories to lasts a lifetime. Thanks for sharing yours

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