Collective Memories

Every childhood memory I have is surrounded by sunshine as it seems that I don’t remember anything when it was raining or cloudy. Even the winter days I remember have sunshine. In fact it has become a standing joke that everyone chimes in with my usual comment “oh I remember that day, the sun was shining”. I suspect if you polled my siblings they would remember days when the sun wasn’t shining.

kids 1961
I don’t remember this event but I’m sure my brother does! I think I was 2 or 3 here.

I find it very interesting that a group of people can share the same experience but everyone remembers something slightly different from the event. Years ago I would painstaking plan out menus when company was coming to stay for the weekend but I realized after a few years that no one actually remembers much about the specific food. What everyone remembers is the great conversation and laughs that are had around the dining room table. Or how the whole party occurred around the kitchen island as is often the case in our house although if the weather is nice then the party often revolves around sitting by the fire pit which is what we did tonight. As an aside it was very disappointing that tonight the northern lights chose not to come out on display.

Alex’s parents, Judi and Craig, during their visit to Canada. Spencer has built up a stellar fire here which was enjoyed by those two thought it was bit cool out!

Now having said that comment about food I do remember some specifics and we were discussing them tonight as we have a young Australian friend, Alex, and her boyfriend staying with us. I mentioned that when her parents were here two years ago we had saskatoon pie. The discussion then turned to the first time we stayed at her grandparent’s house and how the meal had come plated from the kitchen which had been a unique experience for us. I’ve forgotten a lot of details about that trip to Australia but I also remember that there was pumpkin (which they call squash) served as a vegetable as here in Canada it is usually reserved for desserts. We then discussed the time we were in Australia with our children and stayed at their sheep station. We had also met up with them post family reunion in Bendigo and had spent the night at the Shamrock Hotel. Our children, their English cousins and the Aussie girls had such a fun time that night and bonded so well. It was a very special evening. Each one of us had a slightly different memory but when we pooled them we rounded out the edges that we had forgotten.

Saskatoon Pie – classic dish we usually serve company! We do try to feature local foods but I truly have quit stressing about the menu. It’s the fellowship that lingers on not the taste of the food.

I often wish I had a stellar memory like my brother, daughter and two of my colleagues. They can all pull up details from two years ago or two months ago with such clarity. In the case of my brother it’s really scary as he can remember most of my life better than I can. There are days when I have problems pulling up specifics from yesterday. I know that memory can be trained and I often think that I should have started on that a long time ago. I know that for me much of the memory is about how I felt and not so much about the actual details. I do know, that I will remember fondly, that Alex and Brandt chose to drive from Banff to Muskoka via Saskatoon (Aberdeen) for a visit with our family. It’s the stuff that memories are made of even if the northern lights stayed hidden.


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