Isn’t it wonderful when good news greets us unexpectedly? That’s what happened to me a few days after Thanksgiving.
The day began like many others with slices of fresh strawberries topping my Honey Bunches of Oats. Not long after breakfast a message popped up on my phone stating, “You have a new memory!” That was thrilling to learn as my old memory may be beyond repair.
It does, however, concern me that my phone has access to so much personal information. If my phone knows I need a new memory, it’s probably obvious to others who are just too polite to mention it. Several of my more senior friends have told me that Memory Depletion Syndrome doesn’t get any better. That was my thinking too until I read that delightful phone message.
A few years ago, I was in a small boat fishing for big bass with Groves Jeter and Ronnie Kitchens. We caught several lunkers, any one of which would have easily broken the longstanding Georgia record had they been weighed instead of fileted. I don’t recall why, but our jovial banter slowly drifted from fish tales to memory issues.
We discussed the frustration of being unable to call the name of someone familiar, or of struggling to find a word that’s needed to complete a sentence. Groves shared with us that he’d recently bought a bottle of Prevagen, the highly advertised jellyfish supplement which claims to boost mental health. I asked Groves if he thought Prevagen was helping him. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t remember to take it.”
An appendectomy, when I was almost eight, may have led to some of my memory issues. Dr. Baker in Hawkinsville removed my appendix just before the start of third grade. He sealed it in a bottle of alcohol which stayed under our farm shelter until the day we ran out of fish bait.
Prominent medical experts maintain that the appendix serves no function. My opinion, however, is that its purpose is like that of a book appendix which provides additional information. Not every book has an appendix or needs one, but for complicated matters it can offer clarification. It seems quite unlikely that a dual use of the word appendix evolved by coincidence. Sound reason almost dictates we assume there is a connection.
It’s comforting to know I’m not entirely alone in dealing with memory challenges. A decade or so back I was one of five pallbearers who kept watching the church doors for our sixth man. Our good friend had been distracted by something that day and had forgotten the funeral. I’ve admittedly had worse lapses but have been fortunate to escape unnoticed most times.
During my early days of banking I kept a small calendar in my back pocket and wrote down appointments and other notes. That crutch was paired with another one in the form of a giant monthly planner on my desk which was further enhanced by tons of scribbled notes on slips of yellow paper.
In the latter part of my career I sent a daily email to myself with a to do list that was updated late each afternoon. The most pressing matters were at the top with intermediate ones in the middle. Near the bottom were those which often died from negligence.
There aren’t many things which are critical that I keep up with since retiring and that’s a blessing. When I leave home in the mornings to head to the farm, I try to remember to take the four Ws – water, watch, wallet, and walkie talkie. The 4W system works terrific as a memory prompt except when I forget to review the list. Or on those mornings when I can’t remember what all the Ws stand for.
I’m beginning to suspect the new memory I got so excited about isn’t coming. That same phone message has shown up several more times with no instructions, just pictures. Apparently, the new memory is created by looking at old pictures. I’m fine with that too as I love good memories both old and new.
At first it was a little disappointing to realize I’m not getting the new memory I expected, but a little time will no doubt take that off my mind. My memory may be less than stellar, but my forgetter is working better than ever. Isn’t it wonderful when good news greets us unexpectedly?