memories pressed between the pages of my mind

Exactly when issues of remembering events, dates, names, etc., become a problem varies from person to person. (And I am not referring to short-term memory loss brought upon by the smoking of marijuana.) Suffice to say that failing memory is very common among seniors, a social sub-genre of which I am now a member. With that, I would like to illustrate the extent of these problems with a personal anecdote in the form of a conversation between myself and my wife, Berni.

For ease of reading, I wrote it in the third person and in the present tense so that it reads like a joke being told:

Several hours after dinner, Berni and Neal are sitting on the couch once again watching their collection of Northern Exposure (it is the episode titled “Only You” in which Chris in the Morning is having issues with his pheromones causing every woman in his proximity to be attracted to him, causing Neal to fondly recall his younger years—but that’s another story). Neal puts the disc on hold and stands up and starts shuffling forward.

Berni asks, “Where yuh going?”

“The kitchen.”

Berni says, “Bring me some ice cream!”

“Okay.”

And as he turns to leave, Berni says, “Now don’t forget!”

And Neal turns and says, “I’m not gonna ferget—you want a bowl of ice cream!”

And he turns to leave again.

“Wait!” orders Berni.

“Now what?”

“I want whipped cream, too,” demands Berni.

“Okay.”

And as he turns to leave, Berni repeats, “Now don’t forget!”

And Neal turns and says, “I’m not gonna ferget—you want a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream!”

With a huff he turns to leave again.

“Wait!” orders Berni.

“NOW what?”

“Peanuts!” exclaims Berni. “I want crushed peanuts on my ice cream!”

“Okay!”

And as he turns to leave, Berni says for the third time, “Now don’t forget!”

And Neal turns and says, “I’m NOT gonna ferget—you want a bowl of gawddamn ice cream with whipped cream and crushed nuts!”

For the final time he turns and stomps off to the kitchen.

Thirty minutes later, Neal shuffles back from the kitchen and with a look of modest triumph, he hands Berni a plate of bacon and eggs. She looks at it for a long time then mutters, “I knew it! I knew it!”

“What?!?” exclaims Neal.

“You forgot the damn toast . . .”

PS: The title for this article is taken from the lyrics of the song Memories, recorded by Elvis Presley for his Singer Presents Elvis NBC-TV special of 1968. “Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine.”


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