The value of memory

As the days grow shorter and the holiday season begins, thoughts inevitably turn to the empty spots at tables. Friends and family have all embarked on journeys which we, the living, cannot make at this time. While sad, it is also a time of joy. A stray thought, an image, an old picture, bring to mind happier times and the joy that our family and friends brought to us.

I talked with Amy a few days before she left and we soon fell into remembering old jokes and familiar lines. We laughed and commiserated. Two friends, remembering.

Years ago she worked for the state, helping others navigate a brutal system of social services. The former governor was indulging in his pastime of ranting. I found a small windup character that looked like a tribal medicine man. Amy loved it. It fit quietly on her desk and acted the way super boss did. The unwinding spring gave the toy an animated action much like a fulminating volcano. She called him Paul. A quiet moment of rebellion that brought joy to a life well lived.

It’s those little things that bring a smile to the mind. So lift a thought to those now gone and remember their jokes and antics as they explored the world with vigor and vitality.

And thanks to Barbara from Ashland for the simple card and good-humored gift enclosed. It made the day.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television, later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.