Serving the High Plains

Comments from the canyons: With age goes fleeting memory

Although I don't read nearly as much as I used to, I still like to leaf through books to try to find a few words that express thoughts and feelings. Of course, poetry is a major source of those thoughts and feelings, and I really enjoy browsing through those carefully tailored words that say so much without being wordy.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich, an American writer (1836-1907) when writing about memory, penned, "My mind lets go a thousand things, like dates of wars and deaths of kings."

Those of us in the "over-the-hill-gang" can certainly appreciate his words because they explain one of the major problems we face — forgetting things! On some days, for instance, I wouldn't have any exercise if it didn't forget what I was going after in one room and had to start all over again on the search. It seems that all I have to do is to put an item in an obvious place in order to lose it.

The most frustrating part of my forgetfulness has to do with names. I can see the person clearly in my mind's eye but have to think for all too long to find his name.

I think this causes many of us to become a little edgy because I notice that others have almost as much trouble as I when we are visiting about friends and suddenly just lose their names. When we are close friends, we usually know whom the other person is talking about even if we can't come up with the name either. Several of us are close enough that we call each other when the correct name surfaces.

Of course, remembering exact dates also presents problems and causes us to do all sorts of mental exercises in order to fill in the blanks. In the past, I could rely on my parents and other major sources of information, but now, I have to try to be self-reliant at a late age and am hard pressed to find the correct answers.

Fortunately, we have books and newspapers in which we can do some research, but most of the time, I don't want to spend all that extra energy just to find that something happened at 11a.m. on Feb. 28, 1976.

Who really cares anyway? Well, those of us care who like to look into the past and want to have some specific information in order to satisfy our curiosity.

I used to wonder why my parents and grandparents would look into the past in become so concerned when they couldn't recall the exact information that had interested them. Now, I understand that questioning and even arguing because I get just as frustrated as they did when my memory fails me.

If young readers see this, just remember that your time is coming and that young people will smile at you when you are talking about subjects of little interest to them and cannot remember all the necessary details to complete a story.

Yes, "memory is a fleeting thing," but where does it really go? Think that one over and see what answer you can find.

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.