I can still remember Bob Hope specials where he would sing "Thanks for the memories..." On occasion, I’ll start to sing that tune or Barbara Streisand’s "Memories, like the corners of my mind, misty water-colored memories of the way we were." Inevitably, I’ll forget the words apart from the first two or three, and Tammy will beg me to give it up. Then she’ll go on to sing the correct lyrics in a much better manner than I can. Admittedly, Tam's voice is more pleasant than mine, but my version of the lyrics are funny...at least to me.
Anyway, I’ve felt for a long time that family holidays are important because they build important memories together and contribute to family bonding — even if the holiday doesn’t turn out as planned. A decade ago we had a great holiday to Scotland and the Isle of Skye; when we tried to repeat it the following year our car broke down in a campsite we had already visited, and it rained continuously on our too-small tent making it miserable for all of us.
We still talk about it, just as we talk about visiting Longleat House and Safari Park during our first summer in England 13 years ago. When we repeated that visit a dozen years later, just before leaving the UK for our current stateside assignment, we remembered the first visit while making new memories to remember....such as Andrew screaming "Giraffes" and finally getting his skateboard, albeit in miniature. I’m chuckling and thankful even now for such memories and the family bonding we experienced.
And so it was in Orlando last month when we met the kids there for a family holiday together. Whether it was the four of us crammed together (joined by Phill from England for one night) in a small hotel room with copious complaints of my snoring (replaced by Phill’s sonorous sounds for one night), or taking a group photograph around a bowl of fruit for our friend Vicki in Arizona, we built memories. And we bonded. And we were family. Together. And that too is a gift from God.
Photographs bring pleasant memories too. I mentioned in an earlier blog seeing our friend Julie in Dallas, for the first time in 24 years, who was in our youth group in our home church in Eugene. She managed to dig up a photograph from some aged archive and shared it with us. I couldn’t dig all the names up from my memory banks, but some of the youth sure imprinted their mark on me. And maybe we did for them too.
Such is our hope, and our thanks, for the memories.