Monday, September 12, 2011

the sufficiency of memory

In Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury’s sweet, nostalgic tale of a summer in a small Midwestern town many years ago, there is the old Colonel, now frail and housebound, remembering the world he had once seen, who calls an old friend in Mexico City and asks him just to hold his phone out the window so that he can hear again the sounds of a Mexican street.  A bit over-wrought, I think, though we understand what he means.  The sad part to me was that the old Colonel’s memories weren’t enough for him.  That after a lifetime of experience he still needed to hear again the actual sounds. It was as if he were still at sea; his memories still at risk.  His children, learning of what he was doing, had his long distance service cut off, to keep the old man from wasting his money so foolishly.

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