Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Memory

I know my head has lots of stuff in it. I know this because at odd times all sorts of personal history comes swimming to the surface. Making me think "Oh yes, I forgot all about that." only to have the memory float down again. I was determined to see some grave stones today to help drag up some recollections of people who are no longer walking around here.

I stopped at my Dads grave first. There are a lot of great things about my dad. He was one of those men who you would feel proud to be associated with. To be his son. Well that was icing on the cake to me. However this also leads to a problem of glorification that kind of dehumanizes the dead. It can turn them into caricatures in my mind. So on my way there, to that splendid hillside where one can see for a hundred miles, I tried to think of some memory that was not holy or grand. Some little memory.

When I was ten I had a fight with a friend. I cannot even remember what it was about. But I was mad about something a ten year old might be mad about. I was stomping around saying how I wanted to beat the kid up. My dad was in the yard and over heard me. He said, "Your not gotten beat anybody up." I was made madder that my own father seemed to be implying that I didn't have it in mean to do that.

I know now that is not what he meant. I have had to say the same thing to my kids at one time or another. My dad was a man who did not walk around with a chip on his shoulder and he didn't think too highly of those who did. I did not act on my initial impulse. By the time my friend and I were playing, in about an hour, it was all back to happy normality.

Another memory. My dad was a big kid who loved playing around as much as we did. I went into our kitchen one day and my dad had this big contraption sitting on the table. It was a volt meter, though to me it was like something out of a scifi movie. He had a wire wrapped around a tent nail. He proceeded to take the tent peg, that was galvanized, and stuck it into a potato. he took the wire and wrapped the other end around a light bulb. He took another wire and plunged it into the other end of the potato and then touched the base of the bulb. The light bulb lit up.

He then went on to explain how there was an electrochemical reaction between the potato and the metal electrodes in the potato. This somehow made electricity. At that time my only experience with electricity was finding out why you should not plunge scissors into a outlet. Events like this, to a young kid, helped me really trust what my dad had to say. Any guy who could light up a bulb with a potato and a nail was a guy to listen to. My inquisitive nature was never stifled by dad. If anything he was always showing me and my brother some other way to look the world.

This being said my dad was anything but an "intellectual". Some people like the idea of thinking of themselves as brainiacs or some how superior. My dad was not like that at all. He was a working man.

There are other memories. But they are mine for now.

1 comment:

lwlehmer said...

A very nice post, Scott. In fact, I quoted from it and linked to it at my personal history blog, http://whenwordsmatter.typepad.com. Thanks for the inspiration. -- Larry Lehmer