Mis­taken mem­o­ries

The Covington News - - The second opinion - COLUM­NIST David Mccoy can be rea­cyed at davm­c­coy@ bell­south.net

Some­where, in one of your clos­ets or in your base­ment, do you have a big box of “sen­ti­men­tal” items that you just can’t part with? Un­til last week, I had three big con­tain­ers of cards, let­ters, ar­ti­cles, draw­ings, awards, and all the trap­pings of a his­tory that I wanted to keep for pos­ter­ity. And there were more pho­to­graphs than I could count. I sup­pose I could have kept the tubs in a closet un­til I was in a nurs­ing home. “Oh, did you see Mr. McCoy’s col­lec­tion of an­tique Christ­mas cards? They are re­ally, re­ally old!” Well, that’s about as de­press­ing a thought as I’ve heard in years, so I de­cided to gut the col­lec­tion and keep only what re­ally mat­tered. And that’s when I learned a few things I wasn’t ex­pect­ing.

I learned that the cards I re­ceived weren’t nearly as in­ter­est­ing as the en­velopes they came in.

The cards were nice, slick, pro­fes­sional ones from the store. But the en­velopes were any­thing but pro­fes­sional.

Sev­eral had “DADDY” scrawled by tiny hands. One had lit­tle hearts that my wife had drawn with her pen. Many had lit­tle car­toon fig­ures that my kids drew.

I saved those en­velopes and cards. I put them in a lit­tle dis­play book. A few times, I put the en­ve­lope in as the cen­ter of at­ten­tion. I wanted to show what mat­tered most, and that wasn’t some­thing that came off a fancy print­ing press. It was some­thing that came from my fam­ily’s hands and hearts.

I learned that pho­to­graphs aren’t that much fun, if there are no peo­ple in the pic­tures. On our fam­ily va­ca­tions, my mother al­ways used to say, “Make sure you get some­one in the photo. Don’t just shoot scenery.” I used to hate hear­ing that. It meant stand­ing still in front of a moun­tain or a geyser or a gorge and hav­ing to fake a smile. Well, she was right. I have hun­dreds of pho­tos from around the world, but the only shots that mat­ter are the ones with my friends and fam­ily. “Look how small he was!” “Oh, wow! Look at those pants and that hair style!” These are the real pho­tos. These are the ones that mat­ter. My shots of Ital­ian cathe­drals were in­ter­est­ing, but the pho­tos of my new­born son smil­ing at me were be­yond price­less. Save your mem­o­ries, but know which are real and which are just to­mor­row’s re­cy­cle bin fod­der.

DAVID MCCOY

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