Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, April 15, 2016

proud or reminded

 My wife was cleaning out the closet, you know how you do, and in the back corner was an old picture frame with cracked glass. In this frame was my certificate from having transited the Suez canal on Jan 16,1991. That was, of course back in my Navy days. I was aboard the USS Nitro AE-23, affectionately called The Duke of Earl. I wasn't overly fond of this boat but that's another story entirely. Her homeport was Earle, New Jersey. That explains that. Earle is also the home of one of the worlds longest " finger " piers. That pier juts out nearly three miles. Ammo ships tie up there, at a safe distance from the population of New Jersey ! Comforting thought isn't it ? But all that is an aside. What I am getting to in this essay is what happened to me. I looked at the date on that certificate and realized that it happened twenty five years ago ! Yes, you read that correctly, twenty five years ago ! I admit it doesn't seem like yesterday but still, surely it was only a few years ago. Did the math again and yup, twenty five years ! What's that, a silver anniversary. I know I have gray hair, didn't need that reminder.
 I did go to Walmart and purchase a new frame. I hung that certificate in the hallway and figure to enjoy it for a while. I was thinking about the other certificates I have that are not displayed either. I have one for being a " Plank Owner " on the USS Yellowstone AD-41, I crossed the Artic circle on board USS Pawcatuck AO-108 and crossed the Equator on board Yellowstone. Perhaps I will locate them and display them. I was thinking that after I am gone they will mean little to anyone else. I can't see my sons or grandchildren wanting to display those things. Hopefully they will save them, but they do take up a lot of wall space. I mean , here it is twenty five years later and I am just now taking an interest in them. Well, I must have been interested at one time , I did frame it. Funny how that is.
 I have known people that hung those certificates immediately and displayed all their " accomplishments " proudly in their homes. I saw that as advertising and usually didn't do it. Thought that way about getting tattoos as well. No US Navy tats or ship names and such for me. While active in the Navy I was inactive in the displaying of such. Now decades after the fact I feel comfortable displaying that stuff. I guess that is what aging does for you, you begin to display your memories. The question is do you display those memories out of pride, or to serve as reminders ? I had almost forgotten about those certificates. That is why it was in the back corner of the closet, tucked way and neglected. Sorry treatment for a memory ! Truth is it was just something I did. I was there and participated. How many thousands, millions even, have done the same I wouldn't hazard a guess. Does that lower the value ? I used to think so but now I'm not so sure. Often the most interesting part of anything is the back story. I think that may be true with most folks we meet as well. At least the " senior " folk among us. That is if we " seniors " are willing to share the story.
 In the displaying of memories the observer often provides the story. That is, when you look at a certificate or picture you immediately start forming a story to fit it. That is a natural reaction. If I am not there to tell you of my passage across the artic circle you will still envision what that was like. You form a mental picture. Photographs are often mysteries as they may not hold any clues. Unless explained they become almost fictional. I'm no fictional character. So I'm thinking now I need to display those things and tell the stories. The final chapters in our lives will be written in memories. When should we start writing ? Guess that depends on just how much of the story you are willing to tell.