When our TV goes to sleep we have this app that immediately awakens…it links to all our photographs…every photograph we’ve ever taken.


The photographs appear for a few seconds…chosen randomly from a vast array…enough to stir a memory before that memory fades away.


There is no chronology to their appearance…no rhyme nor reason…if you please…

They take us back and forth throughout our lives with alacrity and ease.


Birthday cakes, family vacations…a mountain landscape…a beautiful sky

Graduations…sunsets…family…holidays…all pass in the blink of an eye. 


Camping, people who have passed, grandchildren playing football on the lawn…moments…just like life…there for a moment…then they’re gone.


As this slide show plays out in front of our eyes…usually we smile…sometimes we’re perplexed…as our memory tries to catch up from one picture to the next.


Most of the time we just ooh and aah…as different memories burst before our eyes…It’s kind of like watching fireworks…exploding across the sky.


We’ve found ourselves watching these memories and losing track of time

realizing how lucky we’ve been as together through life we climb…


Which is why you’ll often find us sitting in our living room

searching for memories we’d love to keep…

as they burst upon the screen…

when our TV goes to sleep.


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Joyce Kilmer began his now famous poem:

I think that I shall never see…a poem as lovely as a tree

and the older I grow…the more I walk among them…

the more with Mr. Kilmer I agree


His beautifully simple poem…written in 1913…as a tribute to the tree…is what brought us to the Joyce Kilmer forest…in Robbinsville…NC.


After a beautiful drive in the country…at the entrance we arrived

and we realized we were here 30 years ago..with our children and Deborahs’s dad while he was still alive.


As the memories washed over us…memories with one another we exchanged…we thought how our life is so different 30 years later…but this forest hasn’t changed.


In truth…the trees have grown a little older…some have fallen…and their wrinkles aren’t as small…but when we stopped to think about it…that has happened to us all.


It’s a virgin forest (meaning it’s never been logged)…and is truly a sight to behold…There are 100 species of trees…some standing 100 feet tall…many over 400 years old.


As we began to walk among these giants…we didn’t travel very far…before once again realizing how huge are the trees that surround us…and how minuscule we are.


We’d find one of these behemoths…then at it’s base the two of us would stop…We’d turn our eyes to the heavens…but we could not see the top.


We noticed each tree is like a high rise apartment…some standing alone…others interweaved…with a host of animals, insects and plants living among their bark, their branches…their leaves.


Walking in the midst of these ancient giants…we felt blessed…we felt a joy within us release…..our hearts seemed to beat a little slower and our inner souls found peace.


His poem is not a very long poem…it ends as it began…quite lyrically…stating: poems are made by fools like me…but only God can make a tree


We added new memories to our old ones…

in a virgin forest we once visited 30 years before……

and as I try to put our feelings into a poem…

Mr. Kilmer I couldn’t agree with you more.

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What is it about bubbles…not only do they make us feel good…

but they have a way of instantly transporting us…back to our childhood.


I wonder…as we watch bubbles…soaring high up to the sky

if it’s possible to be angry when a bubble passes by.


One of the things I love about the mountains…about life in general, as we ascend…is all the wonders…all the surprises waiting around every bend.


We had been at the cabin for a while when as a new day before us dawned…Deborah came running out of the bedroom…she’d found a bubble wand.


The wand was filled with bubble solution…it hadn’t yet run dry

when Deborah pulled it out and said…let’s give these bubble a try.


As we watched perfect bubbles forming and floating all about

immediately our hearts opened up…and let our children out. 


We lost all track of time…the two of us…standing there…

Watching bubble after bubble dancing in the air.


Watching some soar up to the sky…trying to catch the ones that dropped…

laughing…just like children when certain bubbles popped.


Playing with the bubbles as they surrounded us was a wonderful endeavor 

while at the same serving as a reminder how nothing lasts forever.


Another way of reminding us…as countless bubbles passed

to enjoy each moment knowing…the moment will not last.


Reminding us as we grow older..to take the time play and scream and shout…

and even when there are no bubbles…to let our children out.


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It was just another campfire the old couple sat around…listening to the crackling of the wood…watching the flames push off the ground


Watching as sparks break off from the fire to be free…to fly…to soar…just another campfire…like so many campfires they've sat around before.


At this campfire it was just the two of them…in the silence of the night…snuggled next to one another…faces illuminated by the light.


If you were blessed to be nearby…and watching for a while

you’d have seen them close their eyes…

you’d have seen them laugh and smile.


You’d have seen how just another campfire has the ability to transcend...into memories of other campfires…with family and friends


If you’d have been inside their minds…you’d see them as children in all their glories…you’d see them toasting marshmallows…feeling the warmth…telling stories.


You’d see them with their own family…you’d watch the sweet togetherness a campfire brings…before life and time and growing up…chances everything.


You’d sit in wonder around this campfire…realizing why they love it so…knowing it is more than how the flames shoot up and oscillate to and fro.


You’’d see it’s not as just another campfire…but a campfire so boundless and vast…it has a way of connecting…through its flames…to all their campfires of the past.

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I was thinking about all the happiness I’ve experienced in my life…all the joy and laughter…and then…I began to wonder if some of the happiest words ever spoken aren’t….Do You Remember When?


Do you remember when we were kids?  Do you remember all the fads?

Do you remember all the trouble we got into?  Do you remember all the fun we had?


Do you remember the day we met?  Do you remember what was going through your head?  Do you remember the day we fell in love?  Do you remember the day we wed?


Do you remember when our children were young?  Do you remember all the places we traveled to?  Do you remember all the foods we ate?  Do you remember all those different views?


Do you remember when you first saw snow? Do you remember when we got cable?  Do you remember when all the chairs were filled…around our dining room table?


Do remember this movie?  Do you remember that song?  Do you remember the games we played?  Do you remember celebrating all those holidays?  Do you remember all those birthday cakes you made?


I think what gives these words their happiness…a happiness beyond compare…is not only the memories they evoke…but how those memories were shared.


For It does’t matter if we’re remembering something huge…or a memory quite small…memories we share…are the happiest memories of all.


How lucky we are to have the ability to be reminded of our happiness…again and again and again…every time we sit down with family and friends and ask the question…Do you remember when?



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One reason we are drawn to slow walks along the beach…besides the beauty we are shown…is that every walk along the shore has a magic of its own.


Even though we may walk the same beach…may amble the same shore

each walk is filled with subtle differences than the walk before. 


The sand beneath our feet has shifted since the last time that we came…and in all the times we’ve walked this beach…no two sunsets are the same.


It’s possible we could see some errant seagulls, hungry ospreys or graceful pelicans soar…and if we’re lucky a family of dolphins might be swimming just off shore.


There is a good chance we’ll catch a breeze as it rides the waves onto the land…or see the footprints of some animals left imprinted in the sand.


Today we witnessed a beautiful sight as a grandpa and his grandson waded into the sea…and I remembered when that little boy was my grandson…and that grandpa next to him…was me.


As I watched them in the present making a memory that in their life I hope will last…

I smiled as my own memories allowed me to step into my past.


On this walk we saw pelicans…and seagulls…and sea shells hanging in a tree…

We saw a kaleidoscope of colors in the sky as the sun set in the sea…


But seeing that grandpa and his grandson…allowed me back in time to reach…

Reminding there is always as much beauty on the shore…

as there is magic on the beach.



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I love swimming in the lake of my memories…closing my eyes and diving in headfirst…and bringing with me to the surface…memories submersed.


Take yesterday for instance…I dove in on a whim…and ended up, of all places, where memories of our granddaughter swim.


The memory of the day she was born…I remember the feeling of joy…

that we finally had a girl grand child…after the wonder of three boys.


The memory of the day when they all slept over on our floor…a memory I shall forever keep…not knowing where’d she be in the morning because she traveled in her sleep.


The memory of the day when she was older…just a couple of years later

when she found a comfortable place to sit…inside our refrigerator.


Yes, our granddaughter…who starts high school next year and is now almost as tall as me…I found the memory of the first time I bounced her on my knee.


As I dried myself off of these memories I found myself hoping one day she’ll understand…how important are my memories of when she’d run up and hold my hand….


As I stood upon the shoreline of my lake…I had to smile as I suspect…

there are moments in her lake…where our memories intersect.


And I’d like to think as we are swimming…in our memories…separately

that every now and then…for a brief moment…we share a memory.


For as wonderful as it is to make a memory…nothing can be compared….

to a memory that was made together…that forever will be shared

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That old blue chair doesn’t look that special upon one’s first perceiving…but, as often is the case in life, looks can be deceiving.


There’s a reason we keep that old chair in our house…a reason it will always be there…you see it has a history…it was Deborah’s great grandmother’s chair.


That chair has been in Deborah’s family for years…ours is just the latest house in which it dwells…If you chance to sit and listen…oh, the stories it will tell.


Sitting in a chair like this you realize…this chair is not just yours…as you rest your arms on the same arm rests where Deborah’s great grandma rested hers.


Memories in that old blue chair run through its frame…run deep…close your eyes and you can feel Deb’s great grandma rocking her to sleep.


Keep them closed and you can feel as she listened to her old phonograph…you can see her smile as she watched her family…you can hear her cry…her laugh.


That old chair is more than just a chair…through all these years it has survived…and the memories stored within it help keep a family’s history alive.


That chair will one day be handed down again and again and in other houses it will dwell…and to those lucky enough to sit in it…oh, the stories it will tell…


No doubt people will say that old chair doesn’t look so special upon their first perceiving…

until they sit down…

close their eyes and realize…

looks can be deceiving.


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We have this little chair in the children section of our store…given to me by a family whose children have all grown…who didn’t need it anymore.


It’s still in great condition besides being a little battered…a little bruised.  They wanted it to find a good home…where it would still be used.


Yesterday, as a family was leaving the store, the father stopped me with a story he wanted to share…He said his daughter was in a bad mood all day…until she sat in our little chair.


He said there must be magic in that chair…in that tiny little space…because the moment she sat down it put a smile on her face.


That evening as I was cleaning up I saw that little chair and the father’s words rang in my head…so I took a moment to think about exactly what he said.


And it made me wonder if there isn’t magic in our little chair…magic of some kind…magic from the family who gave it to me…magic their children left behind.


Magic from the memories those children made as they sat in that tiny little space…perhaps it was their magic that brought a smile to her face.


As I cleaned the arms of our little chair…and dusted off its foam…I thought…the family who gave it to me would be happy knowing their little chair has found itself a home.


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