Here he comes for his Friday night memory trail. I swallow some impatience and prepare to hear the story again about apple cider and the Martinellis. The daughter who was 5”10 in her stocking feet and has never been forgotten.
“I really wish I could find my old year books. Then you would see how pretty she was.”
It’s not a bad story, and I wonder if he has forgotten that he has told me this same story for the past three months or if he just relives this memory because it stands out among all the others. The impatience I swallowed has found my blood stream and I’m fully immersed in all the moments when I wonder about old age and if I’ll repeat my stories to others until they can recite them by heart – and which ones will be worthy of retelling.
Others sometimes join me at the desk and lament over the heartaches. Sorrow has pulled their faces into permanent frowns, their eyes toward the ground.
What can be learned in the scrapbook of someone who is nearing a century?
My regular talks about free cider given to the Martinelli employees and I can taste it now, wondering if I should buy a few bottles for the fourth of July. The man warns of consuming too much cider at one time and snickers at those memories that little boys would find funny.
His eyes light up like he’s reliving prom again. “Alice liked us tall guys. We could look her straight in the eyes.”
In between the potty training and those things that make me want to crawl back into bed, my thoughts shift to syrupy kisses on pancake Saturdays, and how sparkling cider sometimes accompanies celebration in our own home. Squeals of joy are the best played music and I hope they become memories that play like a broken record so I don’t forget the joy amidst all the work that goes in between them.
Will these be my cider stories?
I sit back and decide to drink in his story like it’s the first time I heard it. I will be back at the cider factory with him, peering from the behind the Martinelli warehouse, learning how to live moments so rich that I will have made plenty to live off of for a lifetime.
And then, I will be able to tell my children how life is peppered with shadows, but its beauty will shine through if you stand tall enough to look at it squarely in the eyes.