I remember a lot. I remember riding my bike with friends from the neighborhood down to the 7-11. We descended like a pack of hungry pre-adolescent wolves, in search of Wacky Packages and willing to buy them by the case if it meant we could get those scarce stickers that had somehow remained elusive. It was downhill on the way there, and the way home was a bit of a struggle pedaling against the grade and carrying our purchases. But somehow we managed.
I remember throwing back the rugs on the floor of our mountain cabin to play with our Wizzzers. We had been given explicit instructions not to rev up our gyroscopic tops on the linoleum, but rather to use a strip of cardboard we had around for that specific purpose. Sometimes we forgot. When we did, we left long arcing streaks of rubber that needed to be hastily removed before mom saw and we had to put out tops away.
I remember the orange glow the corrugated plastic that served as the roof to my parents' patio gave everyone who sat under it. There are photos of birthday celebrations, graduations, barbecues and any number of sunny afternoons that fill albums with that oddly diffused light. That light means summer.
I remember the late night drives from my dorm in Colorado Springs to Boulder. The stretch from just outside the Air Force Academy to Douglas County was like driving on the moon. Only the vaguely flatulent sound of my Volkswagen Beetle and the new wave tunes that poured from the tape deck to keep me company. Sometimes I would slide in behind a semi roaring up I-25, where I would glide along in the wake of that big old truck until one of us had to exit.
I remember the dark wood and dim lights of Tico's, where my family went for dinner on Friday nights for more years than I can name. I remember how that vision changed when I got one of my first jobs washing dishes and the bright lights of the prep kitchen where I cleared plates of quacamole that had been used as ashtrays and scraped plates with cheddar cheese that had been fused on by exposure to some kind of nuclear reaction.
I remember the gift shop in The Brookville Hotel, where my brothers and I went after having one of the most amazing fried chicken dinners imaginable. It has echoes in every gift shop in countless hotels and roadside stops. My little brother came away with a cast iron toy ice truck. Thinking of it makes me think of the sweet and sour cole slaw that we attempted to recreate when we returned home and never fully managed.
I remember faces and places and moments and things that have long since been consigned to the dust bin of history, but I find myself going back there over and over again to clean off those relics and look at them once again with the eyes of someone who has seen so much more since then. When the ice truck and the VW and the Wacky Packages are gone, I have the memories. Thank you for those.