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Coffee Time: “SPRINGTIME LILACS OR SKUNKY MEMORIES”


Coffee Time: “SPRINGTIME LILACS OR SKUNKY MEMORIES”

Ever suddenly been transported back in time by just a whiff of a lingering smell in the air? The sight of a house? A quick glimpse of a stranger’s profile who instantly reminds you of someone in your past? Or the taste of a certain food that suddenly takes you back to Grandma’s kitchen.


Probably. Unless you suffer with complete amnesia, you have memories.


Memories can flare instantly, caused by the basic human senses of taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. All of us know what it is like to suddenly relive times in our life that made an impression. Pleasant, anger-filled, or tragic. And the emotions we felt back then? Those same feelings can surge over us with the force of a fifteen-foot ocean wave. You can be sitting outdoors in the middle of a crowd of noisy concert goers, and the sudden powerful aroma of a concert-detesting skunk can make you want to laugh while everyone around you is gagging. All because you’re caught up in the memory of your big brother’s skunk face-off many years ago.


Senses kicked into high gear have the ability make a forty-something year old man feel like he’s a first grader again. All because he picks up a piece of white chalk. The cool smooth texture on his fingers, and the powdery non-smell can trigger a memory of being the seven-year-old who back-talked the teacher. Consequences were instant and involved writing the ABCs fifty times on the chalkboard. Which also triggers the memory of the shame and anger that child felt.


Similarly, the heady powerful scent of springtime lilacs can bring on childhood memories of cutting an enormous bouquet of those blooms to bring in to Momma. Each time she would smile and faithfully fill a vase with water and plunk in those long-stemmed beauties. Some hours later, you would come in from a day of playing outdoors and find those same flowers wilted and hanging dejectedly over the side of that container. Today, the realization that your mom knew what would happen in just a few short hours makes you smile at her love and tenderness.


If memories are that powerful, and they are, then it is truly important to be careful making them. Oh yes, I know we can’t control our surroundings and the people around our family, only allowing a positive and happy environment twenty-four hours a day. But as adults, we need to make some effort at it for our children’s sake – for their tomorrows.


Do your best to create a happy home life for your kids. So that when they are your age, those instant pops of memory at a sight, a phrase, or a smell have a lot better chance of bringing a smile to their face.

 



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