Each generation has its own music imprinted on its soul with all the emotions that it brings.

We have the beats we like to dance to and the songs we like to sing.


Our music tends to stay with us…no matter how old we get.

The music of our youth…is music we’ll never forget.


Perhaps that’s why, once the music of our generation

gives way to the next generation’s style

whenever we hear music from our past…we have a tendency to smile.


For once that music hits our ears…our hearts begin to stir

as we think about the person we are today while remembering who we were.


I tend to think of the people in my life as music…each playing a certain role…

each person is a different song…imprinted on my soul.


Some people’s music will stay with me…no matter how old I get

because the music I associate with them…is music I’ll never forget.


Perhaps that’s why once their music has been ingrained in me

once I’ve experienced their particular style

when they’re gone and I hear their music…I have a tendency to smile.


For once their music hits my ears…my heart begins to stir

and I am thankful for who I am today…because of who they were


Because like the music of my youth…their music tends to stay…

and though it sometimes fades into the background…


it will never fade away,.

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One thing I love about memory 

is how a song, an aroma, or simply something that’s been said

can awaken a memory from where it rests and pop it in my head…


Our family noticed them on a walk…a young couple with their retriever…golden brown

we were walking up a hill while they were walking down.


As I stopped to pet their golden and we began to talk

I suddenly thought of Whitman, our golden, and how he loved to walk.


I scratched George, their golden, behind his ears…a tail wagging ensued

and I remembered how, when I scratched Whitman there…his tail would wag too.


I wondered why they named him George…and in my reverie

I remember how we named our Whitman after a bakery…


As I continued petting for a moment…right there and right then

It was as if I was petting Whitman and he was alive again.


Before they walked away I thanked the couple for sharing George with me

and I whispered into George’s ear…”Thanks for the memory”.


I watched them continue down the hill feeling glad that we had met

and I smiled because my memories of Whitman hadn’t finished yet.


Once his memories faded away…and returned to where they rest

I caught up to my family…feeling lucky…feeling blessed.


And in awe of how once they’re awakened…

even for a little while

memories can seem so real…


memories can make you smile

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Remember when our children and grandchildren were babies?

How we were immediately taken with their charms?

How we could not wait to pick them up and hold them in our arms?


To them we must have looked like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall 

To us they looked so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.


We realized these little miracles were so beautiful…so light

and we immediately fell in love with them…

it was…love at our first sight.


And we found different ways to express our love…

it seemed we had a knack

remember how we’d perch them on our shoulders…

or let them ride upon our backs?


And remember how there came a time, 

though we were still captivated by their charms

when they grew too big to pick up and hold within our arms?


When putting them on our shoulders or playing horsey on the rug

gave way to kisses on the cheeks, or a smile and a hug.


And how every now and then we stop…and ask ourselves 

as every day they grow taller…

Have they really grown that much…

or are we just getting smaller?


And now they look like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall

And I imagine to them we look so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.


But no matter how big they grow…

we’ll continue to be captivated by their charms

as we remember the babies…


we once held in our arms.

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Over the years watching Deborah bake cookies with our children and grandchildren

has always been a treat…

because after they do all the work…I get all the cookies I can eat.


Her cookies have been eaten in our house and on the beginning of many a trip

and I think I speak for the family when I say our favorite cookie is chocolate chip.


They’re made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, a cake mix 

and on a cookie sheet are formed

and they melt in your mouth if you’re lucky enough to eat them when they’re warm.


Cooking with Nana is easy…there’s no pressure…no strain…no stress

In Nana’s kitchen you’re supposed to have fun…and it’s okay to make a mess.


The other day I appreciated all the baking lessons Nana ever taught her

when I had occasion to bake chocolate chip cookies with Ava…our granddaughter.


Somewhere in the baking process…while watching Ava working with the dough 

I began to understand why Nana loves it so.


When I saw our smiles mirrored in the oven window 

while her chocolate chip cookies were baking

I realized the cookies weren’t as important as the memory we were making.


The cookies, although essential to the process, are actually secondary 

The time we spent together is the memory we’ll carry.


When Ava said, “These taste just like Nana’s.” It was music to my ears…

and if I was a sentimental fellow I might have shed some tears…


Thinking how Ava learned Nana’s lessons well

She made sure we had fun 

she was messy…not very neat…

and most importantly…

she did all the work

and I got all the cookies I could to eat.


Yes…I would have shed a few tears thinking how this memory turned out great…


If I wasn’t so busy eating cookies…I stopped counting…after eight.

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A rickety old chair sits in a corner of our house…it’s a chair no one can fit in.

Which begs the question why hold onto a chair we never intend to sit in.


If you asked I’d tell you, “That old chair, the one in the corner you’re looking at…

Deborah’s dad made it with his own hands…we can’t get rid of that.


Our house is filled with children’s books…books we definitely no longer need.

Which begs the question why have so many books we no longer intend to read.


If you asked I’d tell you a secret…one every parent knows

They were all books we read to our children and our grandchildren…

we can’t get rid of those.


We have our share of knick-knacks…on which only dust accrues…

Which begs the question…why have so many objects we never intend to use?


If you asked I’d tell you…and I’m sure that Deborah agrees…

Every object reminds us of someone, some time…some place…

we can’t get rid of these.


By now it must be obvious…I believe my point…I’ve proved

The reason we can’t throw these things away

 is they’re all too heavy to move.


Not too heavy physically….for we can lift them all with ease…

What makes them difficult to throw away…


are the weight of their memories.

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They walk a different path each morning

as a new day’s begins to glow..

They fill a picnic basket and they drive

It doesn’t matter where they go.


They gather with their friends and family 

to spend a moment or two.

sometime they sit

sometimes they eat

It doesn’t matter what they do.


They love to play any kind of games

their children and grandchildren might choose

It doesn’t matter if they win

It doesn’t matter if they lose.


If you ask them why it doesn’t matter 

they have a simple reason why.

If you ask them why it doesn’t matter

they have but one reply…


You see…they know that life is short…and precious

and every moment they’re awake

it’s not the size of the memory that’s important


it’s how many they can make.

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Yesterday at a restaurant with family…during our talking, laughing…eating

one again I realized how every moment’s fleeting.


A story is told, we laugh but that story’s laughter does not last

because another story takes its place and it slips into the past.


So when a moment surfaces…before the next one arrives to displace it

I try to let that moment surround me and quietly embrace it.


Basically when I am seated with friends and family near

I try to capture as many moments as I can before they disappear.


Which moments to capture are subjective…they’re for each one of us to define.

They could occur while looking at a menu…or ordering some wine.


When our nephew tells us of his travels or about the tennis he has played

or when his wife relives her marching in the Macy’s Day parade.


When our niece talks about turning 50…when her daughter shares her fears..

Or when her other daughter tells a story…only for our family’s ears.


(I will not give away her story…but here’s a little peek

It had to do with something that landed on her cheek)


Or the moment we celebrated my birthday early and I noticed a gleam in every eye

as they sang happy birthday to me…while I stuffed my face with pie.


When following Deborah and the crew as around town they golf carted…

or in the tenderness of the hugs when everyone departed.


These are just a few moments I captured recently

at a dinner in a restaurant...surrounded by family.


I know these moments are fleeting….that they have a small life span

which is why I like to stop….and catch them when I can.


Because once I capture a moment…I can store it in my memory


where a moment that once was fleeting…can last an eternity.

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Her father was a gardener his shoes were never clean

They were always brown and dirty…which helped his thumbs stay green.


She remembers watching him with his plants…she remembers being amused

Sometimes all she saw of him was the bottom of his shoes.


He could grow anything he put his mind to…flowers…vegetables…fruits…

and as each new growing season awakened he’d slip on his old boots.


She asked him once why wear those old shoes…why not get something new…

He smiled and said, “Their comfortable and I trust them.” 

and she thought…they’re just like you.


She was cleaning out his workroom the summer after he died… 

deciding what to keep and what to lose…

when in the corner where he always left them…

she saw her dad’s old shoes.


She smiled, picked them up, held them close…

and when she lifted them…some dirt

from the bottom of her father’s shoes

had rubbed off on her shirt.


She keeps his old shoes as a reminder…

of a father who was wise and gentle and kind

and every time she holds them 


she thinks of the footprints he left behind.

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We use to walk together…in the mountains…by the sea

before the sun would rise each day…my golden retriever…and me


We chose to name him Whitman…people assumed we loved poetry

and though we do love a good rhyme…he was named after a bakery.


He was soft and warm and beautiful inside…to us he was a dream

Is it any wonder we chose to name him after a donut filled with cream?


When we would take our walks in the early morning breeze

I would look up at the stars in the sky while Whitman sniffed grass and trees.


My view from atop my two legs was different than what he saw on four

and I never could determine which one of us enjoyed it more.


It’s been many years now since those walks we had to abort

because as any pet owner knows a dogs life is too short


Still today as I began my walk in the cool, crisp morning air

I know this is not possible but I saw Whitman standing there.


He was young…the way he once was…without a leash and free

and before I knew it I could feel him…walking next to me.


I’m not sure I ever enjoyed a walk more than in today’s early morning breeze

I noticed how the moon was full while Whitman sniffed grass and trees.


When we got home I wanted to thank him as we walked across our lawn

but when I looked down to tell him…I was alone…Whitman was gone.


I was left with a smile and a memory and the lesson he taught me today….


How those we love, even when they’re gone, are never far away

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