Snapshots of Joy


There must be something about happiness, comfort, safety and love that particularly imprint long-term memories in the brain. I have these moments frozen like snapshots in my head.

  • My mom sitting in a living room chair holding me and singing a Christmas song to me on a dark December morning after my brother had left on the school bus.
  • The first time I had a dream, told my mom I’d seen a story in my brain in my sleep and said to her, “That’s what a dream is, isn’t?!?”. (It was about my white German Shepherd, Prince and the circus.)
  • My brother speeding me down the hill in our backyard on the handlebars of his green Schwinn bicycle.
  • My daddy coming home after being out of town and bringing me my own tiny softball cleats. (This was UNHEARD of, a girl having cleats!)
  • Anything in the Douglasville Public Library.
  • Sitting in my mom’s lap looking at the Sears Christmas catalog the moment it showed up in the mailbox! (We still did this WAAAAY after I was too big to be in my mom’s lap!)
  • Standing in the driveway and punting a football again and again over the electrical line that ran to the house.
  • Standing behind the house and throwing a softball against the house and catching it – over and over again.
  • Playing H-O-R-S-E with my brother in the driveway. (Fare thee well for I must leave thee…)
  • Making a fort during the summer with my canopy bed, a jump rope and a bunch of sheets. Laying in there in front of an oscillating fan and reading all afternoon. (We didn’t have air conditioning.)
  • Going to Granny and Aunt Jo’s and getting to go and pick out a drink in the glass bottle from the wood crates the man delivered to their house every week.
  • Spending the night with Granny and Aunt Jo. Granny making hot fresh biscuits every morning.
  • Book fair day!!!
  • Riding in the backseat of Daddy’s car and listening to WPCH “easy listening” music while Momma rested her hand on the back of Daddy’s neck.
  • Making the varsity softball team as a freshman.
  • Getting fouled under the basket by cross-town rival Betsy in the 9th grade basketball tournament. Laying on my back on the block and seeing my shot go in!
  • Blocking the same Betsy off the plate in a high school softball game, tagging her out and looking at the black cleat mark on my pants afterwards! Awesome!
  • Riding in the car with Daddy and listening to Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album.
  • Watching “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” series for the first times.
  • Getting to stay up late by myself during the summer to watch Braves west coast games. On the couch, in the dark with the attic fan running, listening to a tipsy Skip Caray bemoan the pitiful team.
  • Eating cheese grits and chicken sandwiches at Cuz’n Catfish in Rome.
  • Looking out my office window at Oxford during a pouring rain an imagining the squirrels running up and down the tree outside are fish. *shrug*
  • Sitting in my car under a shade tree during the summer at Oxford, eating my lunch and reading a book.
  • Sitting on the porch of a house in the North Georgia mountains while the man I loved worked. We listened to old country music on the staticy radio. I don’t think I’d ever felt safer as an adult.
  • Running in the pitch black dark at Hinton Rural Life Center hoping I won’t run off the side of the road. After my eyes adjust, I realize I’m was running under a canopy of fireflies lighting the trees overhead.

It’s funny to realize nothing big makes the list. It’s the little things.


One thought on “Snapshots of Joy

  1. Very nice. I like the cataloging of memories, rendered in simple but poetic language. Over time, unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with many of my childhood memories, both good and bad, though if pressed I could summon them again. A few months away from my 70th birthday, there is, however, one recurring image of me as, perhaps, a 6 or 7 year old boy skipping along Canal Street under a canopy of live oaks; how totally alive I felt. It was perhaps the most joy and freedom I’ve ever felt in my lifetime. What happened?


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