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By Forrest Hershberger
View from the Handlebars 

Cherish the Memories


February 2, 2022 | View PDF

When the concept of chicken and waffles came out, my first thought was somewhere in time a family, probably a mom struggling to assemble a family dinner, combined what was left from the night before with what remained in the pantry. The same could probably be said when steak and eggs were introduced in the morning

I can almost hear the “Well, we’ve never done this before but what the heck,” or “This is what we have so this is what’s for dinner (or supper depending on the region).” It became comfort food when through the generations people recalled surviving that period when full shelves was a luxury.

Once in a while Hollywood gets it right, in concept at least. So often the sitcoms focus on people who have enough issues for a doctoral discourse in psychology, people who wouldn’t even share a sidewalk, much less a block in the neighborhood.

The episode I’m thinking of is not one of these. This is a story of a family in all its dysfunction and how the hot mess is what makes them family, how doing their best with what they have, and showing each other love at the end of the day, is what defines family.

In one of these episodes, the family had to deal with loss. I have to admit I was curious how the writers would apply this. Would the main character, the son, go completely nuts or would he keep composure? By the way, he also had to give his mom’s eulogy. So, on top of dealing with loss in his own way, he had to keep it together long enough to honor his mom, and his family, publicly.

The storyline takes him to a bar, a place where he appeared uncomfortable at first, even among friends. Throughout the day, he had momentary “vacations” when he got to relive the past, including his mother cooking “his favorite lunch,” a moment he argued about.

Even with the argument, the favorite became a moment in memory that never went away.

After the funeral, children at the table and his wife trying to quickly plan a meal, he offered to cook… and out came the same lunch his mom made. The $2 investment became priceless with him as an adult and children of his own.

In the eulogy, he said it wasn’t growing up at the family house, and wasn’t easy for his mom either. But through it all, it was home. The $2 lunch warmed him years later when it probably cost $5 or $6, and was priceless.

Truth be told it wasn’t about the bowl of soup or the cut hot dogs. It was about the moment, about making the most of the time they had.

Sometimes the stress moments moments of one period of time become our fond moments in the next. It doesn’t make sense immediately. Actually many of us would rather have a fast-forward through those moments. That all changes when you are at the point in live when any memory is an important memory, when the memory is connected to making it through the hardships.

It is awkward to say until you reach that point, but even the stress is worth remembering. The dysfunction in life shows we are human. We have frailties of our own, some we spend too much time growing out of.

We grow through the difficulty, not by walking miles of perfectly groomed and warm grasses. The fondness of memories is in knowing that even in the hard times, relationships lasted, and even when they didn’t the memories live on; the teachers that stays with you.

“You don’t need the pain to remember the person.”

— Grace to Grieve workshop


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