I Forgot to Remember to Forget

Recently there were great celebrations to honour the forgotten heroes who fought for many countries to preserve local peace. Too many wars and too many heroes is one of life’s saddest ratios.

My grandfather Colonel Frank Keen, fought in both World War I and World War II. He lied about his age, he was barely sixteen, to get into the first war. Then lied to his wife saying he was going to get milk, when he joined the second one.

I brought him into my 3rd grade during a weekly distraction the teacher called “Show and Tell”. My Grandpa had a lot of things to show and tell that morning. He talked about mustard gas and trenches in his first war. He talked about close calls with bullets during his second war. He didn’t glamorize fighting. I knew he had some credibility with this fighting thing, as he fought with my grandmother constantly over the small portions she always gave him at meal time.

We honour the fighting that led to peace as we mark a day once year to not forget to remember. This habit of remembering is a key part of most human beings DNA. We like to remember things and bore our friends with lengthened stories of those memories. To prove the strength of our mind, we constantly tell those stories hoping to finally, get that story right.

The brain is a wonderful mystical organ. Now you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand that, but I would recommend you should be a brain surgeon if you plan to operate on that wonderful mystical organ.

Our brain has many compartments. I will not get technical here because I always mix up the temporal lobe with a temporal thermometer, and then trying to insert that thermometer into that lobe usually causes me excruciating pain. As I open doors for others it appears there is a part in everyone’s brain that is so deeply buried in one of the cortexes, most people have difficulty accessing it. The smallest part of each person’s brain is the part that allows us to express gratitude. I suspect it is right beside the little neurons that emit a pulse to share their lottery winnings with distant cousins. Thankfully once a year we are forced to connect to that compartment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  We feel good about that moment, as that brief demonstration of gratitude allows us get on with our busy day posting pictures of our pets.

This remembering thing causes sleepless nights as we carefully plan a better response to a conversation that occurred fourteen hours ago. Memories shape us, but I noticed some really smart people learn to shape their memories.  This advanced skill allows the pleasantness of any memory to always outweigh the bitterness of that moment. Unfortunately those smart people tend to keep that piece of magic to themselves, so they always appear a little smarter and kinder than the rest of us.  Just one more reason to avoid smart people.

To prove I can actually remember things on days that don’t include the word Remembrance attached to them, I will choose to remember a few things that don’t need a parade to trigger my underused sense of gratitude.

I am truly grateful for never having to  wear a uniform to demonstrate my respect to the sacrifices my ancestors so willingly made.

I am grateful for a family that never makes me feel a sense of disappointment.

I am grateful to friends who show more tolerance than I can conceive.

I am grateful for neighbours who are simply neighbourly.

I am grateful for always being overpaid for what I do.

I am grateful for all the people who shared their unique talent with me.

I am grateful for my adequate health based on my fluctuating BMI.

I am grateful for still getting excited when I find unusable pennies.

I am grateful for people who showed me what real caring looks like.

I am grateful for those same people who showed me patience.

I am grateful for work colleagues who became friends.

I am grateful that I can have only one drink.

I am grateful for grated cheese…couldn’t resist one pun, but I really do like cheese.

I am grateful for old songs and old movies.

I am grateful for occasional sarcasm… Ya right.

I am grateful for time with my adult children.

I am grateful for still finding passion in things I do.

I am grateful for those who don’t corect the spellin of this won.

I am grateful for any meal others have cooked for me.

I am grateful to my mother who no longer remembers my name.

I am grateful for any remote control with a fast forward button.

I am grateful for finally learning the power of humility.

I am grateful for effort sometimes even more than results.

I am grateful for all collars, blue and white, but not callers from telemarketers.

I am grateful to a father who became a friend.

I am grateful for caffeinated coffee.

I am grateful for receiving a stranger’s smile.

I am grateful to all who know their religion isn’t the only religion.

I am grateful for eyesight that allows me to detect hair growing out of my ears.

I am grateful for people who drop by without an invitation.

I am grateful for the two guys who walked into a bar…

I am grateful I have been to so few funerals.

I am grateful for knowing my opinion is not the only opinion.

I am grateful for my occasional justified road rage.

I am grateful for a country that doesn’t arm every citizen.

I am grateful for a country whose citizens don’t feel they need to be armed.

I am grateful for children who laugh at stuff I used to laugh at.

I am grateful for seniors who still laugh at that stuff.

And finally I am grateful for the internet that allows me to quickly find quotes that say things so much better than I ever could.

Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

John Wooden

I am a little  suspicious that the words grate and great are intentional synonyms. Most of the great people I have had the pleasure to call friends, are coincidently the most grateful people I know.

Cue the Blong:  I Forgot to Remember to Forget  You think this title is confusing, wait until you hear the song

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