A friend of mine, one I have not seen for 15 or so years, died in October. His family cremated his remains and had a service to celebrate his life on his birthday this past Saturday. He would have been 57.
The reason it had been so long since I had seen him is he was a No Show in 2002 when I went to Churchill Downs to meet up with him and my buddy from Florida who was in town for a visit.
My friend from Florida could not make the service and I assured him I would represent us both. I recognized no one at the funeral. I commented to the woman siting next to me, who knew the Departed from working with him during the 1980's, that everyone needed to strip off 20 years and then I might know a face or two.
I called my Florida friend afterwards and described the service, what was said, and described the people who were there. "I didn't see So and So" I said, "but, I did see this guy who looked familiar and he had salt and pepper hair......blah blah blah......" and he would know who that person was. I did it several times and he would say, "That was So & So's daughter."
I was really hard on myself afterwards, that I could not recognize anyone and then I had a revelation of sorts. I was raising a small child at the time! I was not running with that crowd every week-end and every chance I got. It was every so often at the Butchertown Pub that I would run into the crowd. And the Departed was the boy friend of my room mate at that time, so it would make more sense that she would know the people at the service. That made me feel a little better about my lack of face recognition and fuzziness of memories that my Florida friend was reminiscing with me. And I without a clue.
But my lack of memories made me sad.
The next day was the grand babies birthday and I was, as always behind the camera instead of in front of it. When I came home and powered up the chip and began to crop and remove red eye I had a second revelation. These are memories that I will never forget and if my rapidly shrinking brain needs stimulus, I am able to whip out the photo album and have the day return to me in a warm fuzzy rush.
I picked up a camera in the early 1990's when I found a Nikon Series F in a pawn shop with several lens and a beat up soft leather butter color bag for $150. Big bucks back then, but it gave me my own memory catcher that was certainly more reliable than my flesh and blood personal CPU.
Still, I have my memories of the 1980's, being a single parent with one of my best friends as a room mate and the struggle of working, going to school in the evenings, and trying to raise a child.
Is it any wonder my brain is fried?