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  Thursday October 30th, 2014    

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Yesterday’s wine (08/14/2005)
By Janet Lewis Burns


     
One thing reminds a person of something else. It happens more frequently when one's on the farther side of racking up memories. Sentimental remembrances flash past us like innuendoes of fate.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957) speaks in a kindred voice, from another time. From "Missouri Ruralist," she muses, "...I walked to the church through the beauties of the sunny spring Sundays. I have forgotten what I was taught on those days also."

"But I can still plainly see the grass and the trees and the path winding ahead, flocked with sunshine and shadow and the beautiful golden-hearted daisies scattered all along the way."

Dusk was settling-in, through welcomed cooler breezes, one July evening as Pat and I were headed from our daughter's on County 25. Nearing town, lights of Lewiston, from tall elevators and streetlights, broke through my blank thoughts.

For a brief moment I was back in my teens; the excitement and anticipation of joining chums for girl talk, in lengthening moonlit shadows, pulsed through me. Beams from giant poles once brought the ball field and high school athletes to life, during charged football games.

Briefly the scent of rich grass, that din of a crowd in rhythm with spirited cheerleaders, and youthful faces from the old school, swept me back in a nostalgic aura. As intensely as we clasp them, those sensations soon fade.

Several stimuli can trigger hints of youthful Christmases at home. Sometimes it's the way red and green lights meld in a soft, fluid halo. The spicy aroma of mincemeat and the scent of black walnuts (which Mother always put in her divinity fudge).

The way steam rises from a platter of sliced ham and a mound of riced potatoes. Evergreen nodding in a forest of poignant, fecund patterns. Flannel pajamas peeking from festive holiday wrapping paper.

I brought home a bag of bing cherries this week, as fetching as they are tasty. Immediately, my Great Uncle Dick and Aunt Helen Wollin came to mind.

Every summer, a wooden box would arrive at our post office, from Kalispell, Montana. The charming couple tended fruit groves at their wooded property on Flathead Lake. I can picture her wispy, white hair enhancing a peaches and cream face, and his warm, chuckling demeanor.

The Wollin's guest cabins were nestled near a lakeshore spread of smooth, earth-toned stones. That crystal clear water swept us four kids "out to sea," as we frolicked with cousins.

Uncle Dick Wollin hailed from the Bethany area, ten miles north of Lewiston, before raising a family, as a high school superintendent, in Montana. Their yearly gift of bing cherries was a savory way to keep in touch.

Hiking in the forest up on Eagle Bluff near Lanesboro, I bent to examine strange, orange-colored lichen beside a dead tree trunk. As I spotted the foliage nearby, my heart skipped a beat.

My fingers danced across the cool, semi-circular, serrated fingers of "maidenhair fern." These are prevalent in Whitewater Valley, north of Utica, in wilderness spaces where precious snippets of my time were once spent exploring, before the steep, treacherous hill became too difficult to tackle.

Music can carry you away. Reminiscing can warm the heart, as well as invoke images of loss and regrets. Every time I hear "Rock of Ages" I wander back to sensuous, Bethany Moravian harmony, so smooth and flowing it brings tears to the eyes. Only the cemetery remains on its country plot.

Daydreaming and woolgathering bring to surface the most unexpected recollections. Then there are those rare instants of understanding, which graze your awareness so briefly that they slip from the clutches of our gray matter before they can flood us with TRUTH.

We are, as the song goes, "Aging with time...like yesterday's wine." So much forgotten...a full lifetime to recall. Dream on! 

 

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