It all started with a simple question. Big Mike was the instigator. He was trying to come up with the three music icons that started Farm Aid. “There’s John Cougar Mellencamp, Willie Nelson and?” There was a long pause, and then he said, “Matt, who’s the third one?”
Matt scowled for a few moments and said, “Why did you have to ask me? I knew it, and when you asked it flew right out of my head. I can picture the guy in my mind (where else, in your arm?). It’s right there on the tip of my tongue!” It’s funny how lost memories make it all the way to the tip of our tongue and then disappear.
That is a typical conversation with the guys I have coffee with. Everything goes along fine, then a memory lapse surfaces, usually a failed attempt to come up with a person’s name or the name of a restaurant. It’s often something I know nothing about because I’m the old guy in the group, and out of touch. Except, when Ray shows up, then there are two old guys.
The rest of the group is decades younger than Ray and me, yet their memories have as many holes as ours, at least some of the time. When it happens, I stay quiet, because I spent all my memory cells making sure my shirt was on right-side out, my shoes matched, and I brought my wallet with me.
It’s the highlight of my day when these “youngsters” exhibit memory issues (like mine). When it’s an inconsequential fact that has slipped away it gets funny. “Was it September or October? Let me think,” a storyteller will get stuck, and say. Then his eyes will roll up into his head, as though the tidbit he is searching for lies there waiting to be retrieved. Everybody will yell, “Forget what month it was, what did you do when the guy pulled out a gun? DUH!”
I feel defeated when it’s my turn to get yelled at. Which is why it’s such a treat for me to watch Paul or Daren or Matt or Andy or one of the Ricks, or even the baby of the family, Eric, scramble to come up with a lost fact. I chuckle to myself and don’t let on what has me concerned. That I can’t, for the life of me, remember if I drove my car to the Owego Kitchen or walked. I do not want to go out the door and head down the street only to be yelled at by one of them, “Where are you going? Your car is back this way.” I try to make sure I’m last to leave. When I remember to, that is.
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