Memory 3 and further

by cunningstuff

When the hammer falls, who is there to witness? Sometimes it is you or me…

My memory is shoddy and does not work well. I hate to be so bad at the whole thing, but it works in a reliable enough manner for myself, and lets me have all the freedom I want to change my past, my future, and my present. I do not lie, but I do love to embellish, and add or take from a story, and it is just fine with my memory, since it rarely has an opportunity to speak out against whatever idea I am using at the time.

*Note to self – Perhaps this is why my memory sucks?

Moving on, I am currently thinking about my third memory, which fluctuates over time. Mostly, it is about me getting into a big pile of fire ants, which to young person of four years or so of age, is rather horrible. I grew up in the humid torpor of Houston, and it is a great place to find out about why people hate fire ants. Well mowed lawns do not present a proper place for these creatures, but the unkempt edges of chainlink fences, especially before the advent of that great invention, the weedeater, provide hospitable zones of protection. My best friend and playmate for these times was a wonderful little girl named Kathy, and we would curl our fingers into the chainlink fence and just talk. I think I might have been a bit precocious, because she would always come and speak with me, whenever we were outside together. Just sitting or standing there, talking about I have absolutely no clue. There goes my memory, yay! One day though, I do not remember who promoted the idea, we got it into our heads to see who would stick their arm into the ant pile. I decided it would be me, and yep, I stuck my arm right into it. I do not know if you have ever disturbed a pile of fire ants, but I am pretty sure if the military ever gets the idea to follow the process, it would be the worst most horrible and unbeatable military in the world. Hundreds, possibly thousands of fire ants proceeded to use me as a stinging practice, and I was never more a screaming crying crazy kid than that day.

Another memory comes to mind when I think of that day, the memory of the lightening tree. Across the street, maybe a lot north from ours, there were two very nice old retired people. They had a lovely yard, full of flowers and nice things to look at, including a large, small-leafed deciduous tree, the ones that have the strippy bark, (perhaps a cypress?) that looks like it was shedding long strips of paper off its trunk. They were nice to me, and once in a great while, probably because they were lonely, I would get to come over and eat ginger snaps and be a kid with them. One day, a great thunderstorm rolled over our neighborhood, but this was a fairly common occurrence in Houston, so my mother was doing the normal let’s go get groceries in the car routine. We stepped out onto the front porch, and as she was locking the door, I was looking across the street at the friendly old neighbor’s yard. The tree exploded, white light and heat and such a tearing of sound, I actually can not describe it. I saw it however, and it was probably the most violent thing I have ever seen. I do not remember screaming, but I am sure I did, because this ghostly hollow scream tears itself from my throat every time I am near a lightening strike. The tree was there, green and leafy and beautiful, and then there was a bright white flash, and the tree was no longer there, bark and wood and leaves raining all over the neighborhood, as far as the eye could see. A stump of about five feet remained, from a tree that was probably about 30 feet tall, vaporized in an instant. I have seen the damage lightening can do since, but nothing has ever been as instant and as destructive as this. In many ways, I relate this to what people have described when talking about a bomb strike, or a landmine going off on someone. It is fearsome, and scared me in ways I can not come to terms with.

When I was about 16, I was working in a plant nursery, and being fairly knowledgeable, I was often called upon to sell pesticides and fertilizers. I was selling both to a gentleman who had a large yard and garden, and was expounding on the benefits of a particular nitrogen rich type of product, when lightening struck the electrical lines right outside the window of the building. I could see the arc of electricity surrounding part of the lines with a globular intensity, and the entire time I watched it, I screamed that same scream I had when I was five years old or so. We were walking past the pesticides at the time, and never once did we skip a step or slow our pace. Not five seconds later, I just continued my pitch, and sold a very hefty amount of product. Two thing stick out about this currently to me, one the gentleman never lost pace with the conversation, and I do not think he even heard me scream, which still evokes the question of whether he did hear me or not in my head, and second, I just put the two together right now, the silent scream I do not remember that my mother told me I did do, with the absolute lack of control and scream at that particular event.

I am never sure where my memories will take me, and since I tend to avoid pictures and recordings of my life, I do not know the accuracy. I can tell you the emotions, but since these memories are primal, I do not think I have to cover such. I do know these three memories pain me in some dark subconscious way, because I always think of them, all at the same time. I am not scared of lightening, or storms, but I’ll be damned if I don’t scream like a little child when it goes off near me.