Don't forget to remember (or maybe you should)...

by: Andrea Mulder-Slater

“It snowed again last night.”

Geoff already had the coffee on when I stumbled downstairs in my housecoat. It was Saturday morning – a nice day to sleep in.

“Yeah.” I said, peering out the window into the semi-darkness.

The truck was covered. So was the car.

“That’s weird.”

“What’s that?” asked Geoff.

“The van – it’s completely clear.”

Not a flake of snow had settled onto our burgundy van…

We all forget things.

My mom regularly leaves her sunglasses on random retail store countertops. My dad once forgot to pick me up after school, returning home instead with a container of milk and a newspaper. Geoff has, on more than one occasion, positioned coffee cups, wallets, and garage door openers on top of any one of a number of vehicles, over the years. Some items we’ve found back – others (like one garage door opener) were snatched by a gaggle of droll teens who delighted in opening and closing and opening and closing our door at all hours of the day and night… until we moved.

Me? I’ve forgotten more than I can remember. At least I think I have. Once, I arrived at the grocery store (a 25 minute drive from my house) to plenty of points and whispers. “Where’s the rest of him?” asked a gentleman while staring at the front of my vehicle. My heart pounded heavy in my throat – my head full of dark imaginings. I was more than relieved when I saw my jacket – arm whipped up on the hood - positioned “just so” on the front fender of my jeep. The wind was with me that day.

The afternoon before the night of the snowfall, the battery in our van died. It was around four in the afternoon when we discovered that we had left an interior light on – the day before. We had arrived home late and had done a last minute sweep for soothers, dolls and goldfish crackers – so as not to forget anything. Except to turn off the light.

“I’ll give it a boost and let it run for a while.” Geoff had said as he headed outside to jump-start the van. It sputtered and spit and came to life. It was dusk and the headlights were shining directly into the neighbour’s window. So, Geoff turned them off… at 5pm, Friday night.

Saturday morning, back in the kitchen, Geoff and I were both at the door – puzzled by what was in the driveway. “How can that be?” I asked. “This is so weird.” Geoff maintained. Was it a freak of nature? Did our van have a special snow shield we weren’t aware of? Was it a Christmas miracle? Could this all be explained by my ninth grade physics teacher?

“It’s almost like it’s running...”

It’s not everyplace where you can forget to turn off your vehicle and leave it running – keys inside, door unlocked - mere yards from the street, for fifteen odd hours. All that was missing was the “Take Me, I’m Yours” sign. Fortunately for us, we live in a small town – a place where folks haven’t forgotten what it means to be neighbourly.

Timothy Brady, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, “Forgetting is important because it makes it easier to recall new memories.” This makes me feel better. I figure, if forgetting helps me to remember, then I’ve got lots of great memories ahead of me.

No… really.

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