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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Gray Matters:Interaction and memories

Monday, July 23, 2007

My wishes for an interactive column have been partially realized by responses to my recent Fourth of July Gray Matter. Let me explain.

A young friend charmingly agreed that little things do so often remind us of loved ones no longer with us. She told me that whenever she eats a fresh peach, she thinks of her paternal grandpa. He loved the fruit and, too, he always addressed each of his grandkids as "Peach." Meanwhile, the word Yatzee inevitably brings his wife, her maternal grandma, to mind. She thoroughly enjoyed the game and nothing made her happier than playing it with her grandchildren.

On the other hand, my friend said, "Seeing a little old lady carrying a purse that matches her shoes, even if they were bright red, gets me to thinking of my other grandma. No matter what she was wearing, her shoes and purse always matched."

Then came the following story from my daughter-in-law in Des Moines. Their eldest daughter was married not long after her grandfather (my daughter-in-law's father) died. She related that on their daughter's wedding day, as she was loading the altar flowers in the back of her van to take to the church, the wind swept one arrangement over, breaking the container. So on her way, she had to stop at a shop to pick up a replacement. As she rushed toward the back of the store, she suddenly realized that "Closer Walk With Thee", the Pete Fountain clarinet version, was coming from the sound system. Her first reaction was, "What a strange song to be playing in a store." Then suddenly, remembering that it was one of her Dad's all-time special favorites, she said she knew, "It was his way of letting me know he was a part of my daughter's special day. It still brings tears to my eyes." What a precious and beautiful story.

This proves my claim that you readers have many stories out there which we would all enjoy hearing. There may be no way to get them into print, but don't let that keep you from preserving them. Write them down or record them electronically. Nothing will be more appreciated by your kinfolks in the years to come. If you are of the older generation, take the time to do this right now. If you are of a younger one, go to your parents, grandparents, or their peers, and urge them to do this before it's too late.

In addition to the touching reminiscences, as above, there are many tales, comic, tragic and in between, that should not be lost. Be sure, too, to preserve the vital statistics, birth, baptism, graduation, marriage and death records, that someone will be seeking some future day.

Local archives, and historical organizations, as well as all sorts of computer software, are available to make these genealogical processes easier than ever. So go ahead, do your part to prevent someone's bitter disappointment in years to come. You will never regret the effort.