“There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for a memory” — Josh Billings
My poem below raises this question — Can one really know what was a memory vs. an imaginative mind?
Memories: The Frozen Pond
Childhood memories are hidden within the thickening fog,
Or, maybe filled with pollution and covered in smog.
Digging deep in my mind and pulling feelings from the heart,
Pieces come to me like camera flashes, with no end or start.
The good ones come slower, the bad spark too fast,
I wonder how many I dream up and which are truly our past.
I do remember ice skating the pond before the big thaw,
You ice fishing with Daddy until your breath froze and your toes raw.
Fall football games under the stadium lights,
Star running back, varsity cheerleader echoed the large speaker every Friday night.
After the games did we sit by the pond,
Ignoring Mom’s calls to come in and we didn’t respond?
For sure we hid behind the couches hoping to catch that rare glimpse,
Of Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, and when you made me kiss the frog for my prince.
Telic Run Road was our favorite family spot,
Running up and down Marv’s hill showing off each fish that we caught.
Or was that just me on the hill each day,
Fishing for trout in the fall and bass in May.
I have your photo of joining ROTC and having to leave,
Just like you said, I checked the ponds water each day because you would be back at first freeze.
Halloween’s were the best, I couldn’t wait to take out the screen from the door,
Letting me tag along with the big kids I could have exploded, I couldn’t look up to you more!
We sat at the pond dock each Halloween night,
Sorted and traded our candy under the moon’s starlight.
Now that I ponder, I was always with mom,
I sat at the pond with our little dog Tom.
Sunday morning church couldn’t be more boring,
Remember, we watched a spider make a web in a man’s head who was snoring?
This memory is vivid this one must be true,
We always ran in the aisles and sat in the very back pew.
If our behavior was good ice cream was our treat,
We would build snow chairs on the frozen pond and shiver as we would eat.
Oh wait, that was not us it was me watching our kids,
Our memory, no it’s not, I feel like an auctioneer making bids.
As we grew — the pond would thaw and then it would freeze,
The grass would grow long and our canoes would move in the breeze.
Are our stories real, or a just childhood I wished for,
Swimming down the street after the rain would pour?
Each memory found now fades over time,
The smells and the noises, the changing colors of trees we would climb.
Now that I think, we never climbed a tree,
Or did anything special with just you and me.
I think back to my first car, but you were not around,
Or my graduation day I looked in the stands but you were not to be found.
Or buying my first house, I didn’t see you for over a year,
You never came after a nightmare as I lay frozen in fear.
On my wedding day, I saw you there,
But, you were so high and stumbling I didn’t even care.
I skated the ice alone in my dress,
Our frozen pond captured my tears and absorbed all my stress.
When she was born, I did plead,
But the nurse made you leave because you smelled too much like weed.
I took her to the pond and told her each tale,
I then said goodbye and put the pond up for sale.
I hope one day I drive past and see,
A boy and girl making memories I wish had we.