07/11/2014 01:25 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Makes a Memory Stick?

When the summer season is in full swing, Northeasterners can't get enough of the warm sunshine and the long daylight hours. Every year, I want to squeeze in as many summer-related activities that this vibrant time has to offer, along with consuming farm-fresh produce and selecting menu items that we can easily cook on the grill.

As I look back at my summer memories, I wonder why certain situations are vivid in my mind while others I'm not able to recall. When I have conversations with my sister and brother about our childhood, some we can reminiscence to the very minuscule detail while other stories... there is no recollection.

When does an event become a experience that we can recall with the involved individual(s) and is part of the fabric of our lives?

In the children's book, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox, a little boy whose name is the title of the book , shortened my question. He simply asked his elderly friends who lived next door: "What is a memory?" The answers he collected were deliciously varied:

-something warm
-something from long ago
-something that makes you cry
-something that makes you laugh
-something as precious as gold

When I think of my memories from my childhood to the present, I definitely feel strong emotions, ranging from deep sadness to euphoria.

We citizens of the USA, recently celebrated The Fourth of July. I was fortunate to add a new memory to my happiness collection.


Here's my story:
The night sky was clear with sparkling stars and a glowing half-moon shimmering on the lake. The summer evening temperature was in the mid-sixties, a pleasant relief from the hazy, hot and humid days prior to the weekend. The sprinkling of boat's after-dark navigation lights lit up the horizon. My husband and I sat in a comfortable motorboat with our warm, caring neighborhood friends. Patriotic and summer tunes played from numerous homes along the lakeside and we sang along in unison. The fireworks show was designed and displayed by a generous family who traditionally finds great joy in entertaining all viewers with their favorite holiday. The intense preparation, timing and visual beauty in the sky was unmatched from any other fireworks the four of us had ever experienced. The euphoria I felt moved me to tears. The "stars were aligned" and a new memory was created! After the festivities, we stayed on the lake, not wanting the moment to end while the other boats drove off to their docks. We were in rapture with what we had just experienced.

In the future, I know that I will have many more memories filled with joy along with countless memories overflowing with sorrow.

When life gives you the opportunity to create a pleasurable memory, be mindful of the moment, treasure the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures. Drink them in!