12:12:21 pm on
Monday 05 Dec 2022

A Touching Memory
AJ Robinson

I touched a memory the other day. It was most delightful. That’s a nice change from recent times.

Memories flashed and sparkled, rekindled in my mind

Over the last several months memories have been like live wires: sparkling, but deadly, at least metaphorically speaking. So many memories involve my mom or brother Greg. Those memories have been hard to deal with for quite a while.

Over the holidays we went to Springfield, Massachusetts, to visit our daughter, Alexa. Now that Damian has been adopted, it was quite the family gathering; it felt nice to be together for Christmas. After that, we made a point of driving over to Boston to visit the area for a couple of days.

During that time, many memories washed over me. I suffered a great deal of emotional pain. It was hard to be there without mom and dad, to know that a good portion of my past is gone.

Then came our time in Arlington. It is where I was born and raised. My old school changed. The house I grew up in had been renovated and painted a different colour. We didn’t bother stopping.

We went to the park down the street instead. Good old Menotomy Rocks Park is one of the play places of my youth. My friends and family went there quite often. It was where we played tag and war, hiked through the woods, took my dog Rex I for runs and where we fished and did winter activities.

The pond was partially frozen, which thoroughly fascinated Damian. Oh, he so wanted to walk out on the ice. We had to tell him that it was too thin and dangerous.

Tossing stones on the ice.

Damian settled for tossing stones on the ice to break it up; he got quite the kick out of seeing a huge air bubble get caught under the ice. It moved and flowed like a giant amoeba as it searched for a means of escape. Finding a crack in the ice, it vented to the outside, shrinking like a balloon deflating.

He found that awesome beyond all measure. Then came the old toboggan slope, pictured above, and the strongest memory arrived. I told Damian of how my dad would bring me and my brothers there with the family toboggan. The first time was before I’d started school, so we’re talking age four.

We’d plod on up that slope, get the toboggan in position and then Greg would hold it as the rest of us got on. I sat up front right behind the curly part. Then Dad would get behind me to help me stay put. Danny got in next. Finally, Dad would grip the ground to give Greg the chance to get onboard.

Then came the fun. Everyone would push off. Down the slope we started, slow at first and then we’d quickly pick up speed. The wind would almost tear the cap from my head.

The bottom seemed to race toward us. I’d shout and squeal as we reached the foot of the hill. Given our speed and momentum, we continued across the open field located there. Our distance was a function of the thickness of the snow and our weight.

It was all fun After that it was time to unload and drag the toboggan back up the hill for the next ride. It was amazing how many hours we could do that and not get bored. We could, on the other hand, get frozen right down to the marrow of our bones. So, then it was time to return home where mom would have hot chocolate and Christmas cookies ready.

I related all of this to Damian that he might know a little something of his new family. He enjoyed the story a great deal, at least that’s what he told me. I loved it too; not merely because I got to share the tale with him. No, it was that I was happy and smiling the whole time.

The comfort of a memory.

That memory came to me. It walked with me as I strolled around the ball field. I was able to touch it, embrace it and enjoy it.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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