Collecting memories is easy

I’ve been collecting stuff lately. The best thing about the stuff I’ve been bringing home is that I don’t have to put it anywhere; it’s all stored away in my memory banks. I have a theory that if you fill the shelves in your mind with good stuff, you eventually have to take the bad memories out and throw them away.

This amazing weather has truly aided in my treasure hunting. Two weeks ago, I took my old pick-up down to Fire Hall 5 to a car show. It’s only a few blocks away so the engine didn’t even get warm. The firefighters were raising money for Alzheimer’s and the end of the season car show was a huge success.

The lot was full and the gates were opened to the small field at the rear of the property. A dozen or so vehicles were parked down there in a perfect fall scene, with orange maple leaves tumbling down onto shiny red or black paint jobs.

I sat in my lawn chair in front of my truck and listened to conversations about tire sizes and horsepower. The smell of frying onions and hamburgers mixed with warm leather upholstery wafted in and out on a cool breeze. I tipped my cap back and sat for awhile with the sun on my face and locked away the sights, sounds and smells of this late September day.

Last week I was helping out at the Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley. In the morning dark we were setting up tables and chairs, putting up barricades and setting out traffic cones. The streets are empty and quiet at that time but soon the vendors arrive and set up.

By 9 a.m., the crowds start arriving and it is truly gratifying to stand at the front of the community hall and watch the festival appear before your eyes. By 2 p.m. we had sold 7,500 pounds of fresh cranberries. The main street and side roads that were so quiet before dawn are now choked with thousands of people.

In the late afternoon I found a quiet bench and sat down with a cup of hot coffee. The kids’ stage was off to one side and I could hear the laughter of the children being entertained by a juggler on stilts. Live country music was coming from the main stage across the square and I could recognize the voices of some of my songwriting friends.

Cranberry sausages cooking at the Freybe’s tent were blending with the familiar Kettle Corn smell. People carried fresh bread and pies past where I was sitting, and conversations varied from pickles and honey to candles and fudge.

I tipped my cap back and sat for awhile with the sun on my face and locked away the sights, sounds and smells of this early October day. I found myself thinking about Thanksgiving and how much I was thankful for.

Even as I write this, I am outside in my back yard on Thanksgiving Sunday and I can smell turkey cooking somewhere. I am writing in the shade but the sun is beckoning to come and sit for awhile. If I do, I won’t get anything done today.

But all I really have to do is move some of those old memories off the shelf and replace them with better ones. That’s best done from a lawn chair in the sun. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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