“Mem’ries light the corners of my mind, misty water-colored mem’ries, of the way we were.” What an appropriate lyric. I’m fascinated with the way the mind establishes certain memories, freezes them with crystal clarity in the mind and yet totally discards whole segments of time. How much do we “water color” scenes we only imagine or wish had happened? Lawrence Block, in one of his Matt Scudder novels, wrote, “The memory is a cooperative animal, eager to please: what it cannot supply it occasionally invents, sketching carefully to fill in the blanks.” Our lives in retrospect are strings of pearls, polished and reshaped with handling. Looking back, we realize how short the strand really is. All the more reason to take them out of the mind and store them on paper, if only for our own satisfaction or the curious eyes of our children and their children.
I keep wondering why the local tv news programs so insist on reporting things I don’t consider news, like every damn house that catches on fire in the Valley. Why do we need to know about every one of them? We get this shot of a burned out shell of a house, usually the second floor especially blackened and an estimate of the damage. Or the gruesome fact that three small children were found dead upstairs, or an old man or woman, and often that the cause of the fire was children playing with matches, or the old man or woman smoking in bed or a sofa and falling asleep . . . never to wake up. And automobile accidents, and stabbing on X Street, and driveby shootings on Y Avenue. Surely there must be stories more newsworthy than just death and mayhem. Why not the man who just donated his 200th pint of blood? Why not the woman who works for the phone company and saved a family of starlings who had taken up residence in one of their transformers? I realize these are all human interest stories and not really timely (chronos, chronicle, time, thus news). Would yesterday’s news be olds? So why not have some olds on our news? And what restricts the news to bad news? Why not good news? Or at least news that isn’t gruesome?