March 15, 2020

Probably nearly everyone has heard or used the expression “strolling down memory lane.”  It’s just another way of saying you want to look back on some things in your life.  I’m going to do that in this post.  There’s a reason I am going to take that stroll.

The past few weeks have been so filled with bad news from around the world about the panic the coronavirus is causing.  My blog post was about that last Wednesday.  Probably 50% of the news coverage recently has been on that fear.

I want to take a rest – a break from all that doom and gloom.  I know that avoiding a bad subject won’t make it go away, but sometimes in life we need to focus on positive, pleasant thoughts.  That’s what I intend to do in this post.

I want to share with my readers some of my most precious memories.  They mostly involve my family, but please don’t quit reading because I bet you have some great memories involving your family too.  And I encourage you to focus on those memories often.

One of my earliest memories was when I was about five years old.  I had just been bought a pair of shoes that had shoe laces on them.  The problem was that I didn’t know how to tie shoe laces.  Mother kept trying to show me how, but I just couldn’t do it.  It was too hard, I said.

I remember I was over at my Grandmother Mae’s house and my shoe laces came untied.  Rather that me trying to tie them, I just kept walking around with them untied.  Finally, Grandmother said, “Spencer, I’m going to teach you how to tie your shoes.”  I told her I didn’t want to learn how, that I had already tried and it was just too hard.

But Grandmother insisted I try again. And she showed me how to do it, and then told me to do it.  And then she told me a story about a little bird learning how to fly.  She said the little bird had to try over and over again.  It would fall down to the ground, but kept getting up and trying until it eventually learned to fly.  Grandmother told me that’s what I would have to do, too, to learn how to tie my shoes.

Then Grandmother said, “Now let me see you tie them.”  I tried several times and she kept helping me until I eventually learned how to tie them.  It was a wonderful accomplishment for me. 

I have used this story many times in my life to illustrate to people to keep on trying when you don’t first succeed at something.

Many years later, when Grandmother was nearly 100 years old and in the nursing home, I went to visit her.  At that time in her life, she was nearly blind, could hardly hear and had many other health issues.  Not only that, but both of her children had already died (my mother and aunt), and Grandmother was just very lonely.  She told me that day, “Spencer, I just don’t know why the Lord continues to let me live. I’m tired and worn out and not good for anything anymore.”

Grandmother told my sister, Lana, the same thing once when she went to visit her.  But I said to grandmother Mae, “Don’t ever let me hear you say that again. You’re good for lots of things.  Every time one of us grandchildren sees you or thinks about you we are full of memories of how you helped us and inspired us and encouraged us all our lives.”  Then I told her of how I remembered how she was the one who taught me how to tie my shoes. She said, “Yes, I still remember that.”  And she went on to tell me all about that experience all over again.

And then, I had to think about Grandmother Mae’s mother.  All the grandchildren called her Grandma Clark.  When I was about nine or ten years old, I was visiting Grandmother Mae’s and Granddaddy Jay’s house.  That’s where Grandma Clark lived.  She had been blind all my life and I don’t remember for sure how long she had been blind before I was born.

On this particular day, Grandma Clark asked me what I was doing?  I told her I was looking at the Sears-Roebuck catalog.  She asked me if I liked to read.  I told her I did.  Then she told me that she had always loved to read, too, before she went blind.  Then she changed the subject on me a little.  I know now that she knew what she was doing.

Grandma Clark said,”  Spencer, bring me the Bible”  So I handed her the Bible and remembered thinking to myself, “What does she want the Bible for?  She can’t read it.”

Then, Grandma started turning the pages in the Bible until she found what she was looking for.  It was a photograph of her being baptized in her brother’s pond.  She was an old woman in the photograph.  She told me she would never forget that day she was baptized. She said she was very scared the preacher would drop her and she would drown.

Then she told me how happy she was that she had been baptized.  She said she had wanted to be as a younger woman, but just kept putting it off.  Then she explained to me all about her reasoning of what baptism was.

I never forgot that conversation from that day, because it was then that Grandma got around to really telling me what she wanted me to know.  She said, “Spencer, you can read.  Be sure and read this Bible as much as you can.  I have read in it a lot in my life and now that I’m old and blind, I still have precious memories of what I read in it.”

I could write for many hours about strolling down memory lane, and I’m sure you can too.  I would love to write my memoirs some day, if for nothing else but for my children, grandchildren, and hopefully my yet-to-be-born great-grandchildren, to read them.

I have truly been blessed in my lifetime.  And it does me a lot of good to look back on wonderful memories of family and friends.

When you get discouraged , or down in the dumps as many people say, take your stroll down memory lane.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley