Your earliest memory. Capture every detail. Document the quality of the memory — is it as sharp as HDTV or hazy and ethereal, enveloped in fog? Write for 10 minutes. Go.
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My Earliest Memory
Crystal clear, the rare memory comes to me. Unexpected. Poignant. The breath-stealing glee of the moment. I’m three years old and we’re in our old green Chevy wagon beneath the faded red and white metal car port. My homemade dress and petticoat are awash in lace and ruffles, a bit scratchy against my skin, but a testament to my mother’s sewing talents. Tucked into my white patent leather shoes and ruffled socks, my feet long for the freedom of flip-flops.
Inside the car is a potpourri of Old Spice and Final Net and the smell of kids’ sweaty hair. Chatter surrounds me as my family emerges from the vehicle resplendent in their Sunday worship finery and someone lifts me from their lap. Mama orders all to change and vows she’ll have lunch on the table in a few minutes. My mind plays tricks on me now, supplying another scent memory, of pot roast wafting from the oven.
“Bump me, Daddy.” My feet have barely touched down in powdery soft dirt dotted with ant lion dens when I ask. Perhaps I say it twice, a little begging in the second request due to the fact he’s had a long work week and is hungry because our pastor was long-winded. Suddenly, I feel his large hands close around my tiny chest from behind. He swings me over his head, sits me on his shoulders and still holding my hands, pretends to bump my head on the metal rafters of the car port.
Six feet above the ground, I soar above the Earth, squealing my delight at the feeling of flying, of freedom, of danger! I can indulge in the fright of possible injury because I have complete trust in the hands that hold me, the gentle care of the man who protects as he pretends reckless abandon. My laughter rings out in shrieks of delight, bathing me in a golden moment. It’s one which holds such perfection and unconditional love, I still wonder today if that’s what it’s like in the Heaven my Sunday school teacher talked about.
My Daddy went there six years later, leaving me with far too few of these perfect, golden memories.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this memory, served up in response to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge. It is but my recollection, with scents and sounds and emotion clouding what was. Others who were there may remember it differently, or not at all. That is not to say that they are wrong, nor am I for these things are connected to feelings and are therefore fluid and fragile and fleeting.
As a dad, I want to know what it’s like on the other end of my hands, how a simple lift and play will outlast so many memories, how it will feel like my baby girl is flying. Those moments aren’t fleeting for me, and I hope they’re not for her.
I know have evidence they’re not.
Absolutely, they’re not and I normally have a horrible memory for things like this.