What sounds do your memories make?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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Ssshhh… can you hear it? Basketballs bouncing in the driveway. Giggles and screams and a blur of children running across the front lawn. Coos from a little one in a highchair working patiently and purposefully as she tries to bring a Cheerio from the tray to her mouth.

Listen. The phone’s ringing, the doorbell’s dinging, and the oven timer’s buzzing. The stack of mail silently begging for attention must wait because it’s time for homework to begin.

And finally, the noise moves upstairs and becomes muffled as baths are taken, teeth are brushed, and prayers are prayed. Then, a quiet voice from a gentle child (Elise) utters the words that set my world in motion all over again. “I need a current event report for tomorrow.” Even this memory makes me smile, for it brings me back to a season of my life that has ended.

What do your memories sound like? Don’t worry. I’m not really hearing things. It’s just that I’ve been playing games with my grandchildren, games I used to play with my children, like Operation, Life and Monopoly, and sounds of my yesterdays accompany the memories these games evoke. (Especially that buzzer that sounds when the patient’s red nose lights up during an Operation.)

Photographs bring memories to life as well. In addition to the stories captured by those prints, I remember what was going on beyond the boundary of the picture, the things I would have captured with a wide-angle lens and a tape recorder – the sights and sounds of days gone by.

When my first child was only a few months old, I looked at her and prayed, “God, let me enjoy every stage of Monique’s life. I don’t want to rush her to sit up, crawl and walk. Neither do I want to mourn the past and wish she was still a newborn. Let me just enjoy and fully appreciate every day.”

This prayer is being prayed again as I realize the pictures I take today and the stories I tuck away in my heart are the memories I’ll savor in the future. I hope to always be able to recall the sounds of the precious past.

Except for that whole “current event” conversation.

Ronny Michel can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.