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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I think of memory as an ocean that grows larger every day…a body of water that assimilates the things we do…and say,


An old photograph is like a stone tossed into that ocean sending ripples of memories to our shore…memories of a time and place we’ve visited before.


Just like when we throw a stone into the water and watch the ripples radiate and increase… we’re never quite sure how many memories a photograph will release.


Certainly we’ll remember that moment in time when the photograph was taken…but we’re also blessed with a host of memories that photograph awakens.


As our eyes scan that old photo of people and a place we knew before…we realize each person in the photo sends more ripples to our shore.


We ride upon those memories…as they drift upon the tide…happy to be taken on this sentimental ride.


Happy that one photograph can send it’s ripples wide and far

Happy to revisit some of the people…who helped to make us who we are.


That old photo makes us smile as as we remember memories entirely our own…perhaps that’s why we take so many photographs…

so we won’t run out of stones.

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The fence that surrounds our back yard is old and rickety…some of its boards we’ve long ago misplaced…for many years it’s been way past repair and probably should have been replaced.


But even though that old fence is leaning here and there..and in one section there’s a hole…that old fence has a history…it has a past…that old fence has a soul.


It’s the fence that has surrounded our back yard since our children and grandchildren were kids…we haven’t had the heart to replace it…and today…I’m glad we never did.


The young couple who live on the other side of our fence a young couple we’re just getting to know…who were pregnant when they moved next door…had their baby a week ago.


We were in our back yard yesterday…taking a little break…when we heard those distinctive sounds a newborn baby makes.


Joe, the father, was in his back yard holding Oliver, his baby, and Deborah and I were stunned…when he asked from over the fence if we’d like to see his son.


If you know anything about Deborah and I you know babies…we adore…

“Yes we would!” We shouted….like two kids in a candy store.


But in the midst of this pandemic we weren’t sure how this would commence…until Joe said, not to worry…I’ll meet you at the hole in your fence.”


So through the hole, that wonderful old hole, that years of weathering has produced…Oliver…Deborah…and I were formally introduced.


Oliver is beautiful baby…I say this with no pretense…and his beauty was framed perfectly by that hole in our old fence.


That hole in the fence that surrounds our back yard…where a few boards we've long ago misplaced….that old fence that surrounds our backyard…that we never will replace.


Because as we’ve grown old together….as our years unfold….

we find we’re less likely to get rid of something just because it’s gotten old.



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At first glance when you visit our house you might not notice it

but, by the time that you depart

you’ll realize you were in a museum filled with priceless works of art.


The works of art, though on full display, at first aren’t easy to discern

but as we take you on a tour…the more and more you learn.


There’s a walking stick in the corner an an old chair we’ve always had

you might not recognize their value but the artist was Deborah’s dad.


There’s a cookie jar sitting on a bookcase…

”That doesn’t look priceless.” You might say.

Until you see it’s filled with notes of remembrances

our children wrote to Deborah one Mother’s day.


There’s a framed black and white drawing of a young man

a little pensive…perhaps a little sad 

that was drawn by my own father long before he was my dad.


We’ll show you artwork from our children that still gives our hearts a lift

and our name made out of license plates given to us as a gift.


There’s an old closet door where you’ll see our children’s and grandchildren’s measures…

There’s an old chest in the back bedroom overflowing with more treasures.


Our house is filled with so much priceless art that can be found on every shelf

but the best way to experience it would be to see it for yourself.


Because what makes our artwork priceless…what gives our art pizzazz 

Is not how much it cost…but the story each piece has.


This means when you visit our house…for whatever reason you are there

we will gladly show you all our art…and all their stories gladly share.


Which is why, when you visit our house, by the time you all depart

you’ll know you were in a museum filled with priceless works of art.



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It seems to us as we continue to grow older the more and more we find

how often we climb the memory tree that grows within our minds.


A tree that’s nourished by our memories…at least that’s what we believe…

Memories that enter through its roots and form its branches and its leaves.


Last night our family sat around a campfire…toasting marshmallows…making s’mores

Which, except for the masks and social distancing, we’ve done a thousand times before.


And what a treat it was for us…what an absolute delight!

as we watched our daughter and our grandchildren aglow in the campfire light.


Suddenly we found ourselves high atop our memory trees…and near as we can tell

amid the branches and the leaves where our campfire memories dwell.


From where we perched upon our branches we were shown a wonderful surprise…

as memories of old campfires danced before our eyes.


Perhaps that’s why old people smile so much around campfires…

as they watch their reality and their memories blend…

and hoping time will at least pause…or this moment will not end…


But when all the s’mores were eaten, the campfire had burned out

and we said goodnight to our daughter and our grandchildren…

We were not sad…

we did not pout.


Because as we continue to grow older

it becomes easier and easier for us to see…

Our memories made today around the campfire

will find their way into our tree…


And if we want to visit them…any place or any time

All we have to do is smile…close our eyes…and climb.



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He had a friend when he was growing up…he’ll never forget her name

or the disease that ravaged her body…the disease she never overcame.


Her name was Lynn.  

She had long blond hair, loved flowers and playing in the mud

until the doctors found leukemia poisoning her blood.


When she became too sick to play and was confined within her room

She‘d point outside her window and marvel at the butterflies in bloom.


“I just love butterflies!” She would say as she pointed at the sky.

“When you think about it butterflies are the only flowers that can fly.”


So he would bring her potted flowers…making sure they were in bloom.

and he would catch her butterflies that would flutter around her room.


And when she could no longer get out of bed her smile would ease their gloom

as she watched all of her butterflies fluttering all around her room.


Memories of her flutter back to him every now and then

when he’s alone inside his room,

when he’s walking in the mud

or when he sees butterflies in bloom.


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