Mark Ballard

Gathering with friends and family evokes memories

From left to right. Debra, Diane, Blake and Mark Ballard at the celebration for Blake and Diane’s wedding.
From left to right. Debra, Diane, Blake and Mark Ballard at the celebration for Blake and Diane’s wedding.

There are childhood memories that secretly attach themselves to our minds where they remain quiet until awakened for a visit. These may doze for years or even decades but love to come out and play when woken up.

If you really want to awaken some childhood memories that belong to you and your grown children, all you have to do is gather a group of close friends and members of your family. Debra and I did just that recently with a celebration of the wedding of our son, Blake, and his new bride, Diane.

My sister, Denise, arrived early to help with the festivities. Any time the two of us work together in a kitchen, memories fill every mixing bowl and measuring cup. “Isn’t this old Tupperware bowl Mother’s?” Denise asked while holding a battered, partially melted plastic bowl from the 1970s. “Yes, it is one of my favorite bowls!” I replied. “Just think of the deliciousness it has held over the decades. It even has the scars to prove it,” I said running my finger along the rim that partially melted when Mother forgot and put it on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher.

As we prepared for the reception, many of the recipes belonged to our mother who we had watched prepare them many times. Dicing, stirring and spreading all afternoon gave us ample time to relive our childhood days in the kitchen. One memory begged for another and we laughed our way through the process while using the same bright orange stackable measuring cups Mother used.

When we decided to have the reception, it was our goal to include as many of Blake’s childhood friends and their parents as possible. When you combine adult children with their middle-aged parents you get memories coming at you from two completely different perspectives. Four walls could barely contain the memories that rose so quickly from the depths of our minds.

It had been ages since we had seen both the parents and kids, some of whom are now parents themselves. The funny thing was that at times the parents’ and the kids’ memories didn’t totally square up. It’s always interesting when you find out something new that had previously been kept from you. “We’re over 30 so the time limit has passed for punishing our transgressions,” a friend of Blake’s said. The parents held our breath as we received new evidence of past disobedience. “You did what?” I exclaimed an octave higher than normal. “You were where?” another parent chimed in. “Just keep what you did to yourselves,” I said trying to cover my ears with my hands. One recollection lead to another and we all laughed so hard we cried.

At one point I stood still and just gazed around the large room soaking it all in. In many ways it was a reunion of all of our younger selves. I reminded myself to store away this special night’s memories to pull out at a later time.

Memories are precious things we should never take for granted. They are one of the few things that can’t be bought or sold. They are special little bits of sunshine that life gives us to pull out on a rainy day. Memories are best served when you are among the people with whom you made them but also help you feel closer to them when they aren’t around. I don’t know how much storage space I have left in my mind, but I’m going to keep filling it up until I can’t any longer.

Join Mark at Christmas Made in the South at the Macon Centreplex, Nov. 3, 4, and 5. Mark will have his 2017 holiday merchandise and much more! Check out www.madeinthesouthshows.com for times, tickets and discount coupons.

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to 3514 Ridge Avenue, Macon, GA 31204; call 478-757-6877; email mark@markballard.com; follow him at instagram.com/mark creates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.

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