The other night a childhood memory came flooding into my head and I have no idea why.
I thought about the day when I was maybe 5 years old, in my driveway riding around on my miniature tractor. I probably got bored or thirsty and went inside.
The details of what happened next are fuzzy, except for the image of an “elderly” neighbor — Miss McKenna, who was probably only in her 50s — standing in my driveway, crying hysterically.
From what I remember of the story, Miss McKenna’s parked car had somehow slipped out of gear and rolled down the slight grade from her house up the street. It went across our driveway and into our yard before coming to rest against a tree. It may have even nicked my tractor, but I’m not sure.
I wish I could recall more specifics, but I do remember looking outside at my mom trying to comfort Miss McKenna. The poor woman was relieved, but distraught at the thought that her car could have hit me had I still been in the driveway.
I still don’t know why that memory surfaced the other night.
But when I thought about it further, something else occurred to me — the fact that I have a memory of something that happened more than 50 years ago. I certainly don’t feel old, but my hunch is that a 5-year old today would have the same impression of me as I did of Miss McKenna.
I’m fine with that. It’s healthy to laugh at ourselves as needed. I’ll leave you with this:
A couple of years ago when I was walking in a park, a young mom was pushing a stroller toward me. As she got closer, a tiny voice from inside the stroller let out an incredibly enthusiastic, “Grampa!”
I laughed then, and I still smile every time I think about it. I’m just happy to be here.