This I Believe

Daniel - Wayne, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in memories. Memories are physical, liquid years condensed into a convenient format for all to use. They are the only things left to remind me of how things used to be. I remember South Carolina in 1994. The thirteen hour drive was severely trying on my patience, but there were many things to be seen, and I saw them all. Such was the way when I was that age. The trucks passed by in twos, leviathan constructs, casting pinched, rectangular shadows across the car seats that would occasionally erupt into paranoid splashes. One of the trucks had the letters “G.O.D.” emblazoned in a bold red across the side. Puzzled by this aggressive exhibition, I was compelled to ask what God was. My father tactfully let my mother answer. I was soon told a tale of magic and infinite good. But mother wondered why I had asked a question of such magnitude. I pointed to the truck and then to its driver. God was right there next to us, I was sure. My mother was not, and she refuted by saying the deity in the truck in the other lane was just another human wisp.

When we arrived in South Carolina and got to my grandfather’s house, I got out, ran up the concrete walk, pulled over a long-stemmed flower and smelled it. We all went inside and were greeted by my father’s father. He had a perpetual crew cut, a precisely engineered hairstyle for a precise Swiss engineer. He lived by himself and cooked. The kitchen, a small alcove, was a hamlet where he would retreat to prepare majestic feasts, aided only by a small kitchen timer that I am sure has made it up to my attic. I was not allowed in the kitchen, but that was fine because he had the most interesting board games just outside of it. We all crowded around the television and watched reruns of old dramas and ate our dinner.

We still get some of my grandfather’s mail. It usually consists of a free trial offer and a coupon.

I do believe in memories. I believe in a time when God was a trucker, a time when I was not allowed in the kitchen, a time when trivial pursuits were the only and best kind, a time when the marshal always gets his quarry. Memory, the happy primitive.