My short term memory is well beyond repair. Searching for my keys is a daily ritual. Coffee mugs have been found all over our office suite. My coffee mugs that is… I have been called an airhead and worse… But I can tell you that my first grade teacher drove a baby blue 1966 Mustang.
I learned a number of years ago that poor memories are actually not beyond repair. When people approach me and share stories about one of my parents, it is fortifies my soul. My father has been deceased since 1978 and mother since 1991. A number of their peers are gone as well. But on rare occasions, I encounter someone who remembers them! And they tell stories that I so appreciate hearing. It makes me grateful for good memories… I am so thankful that there are people that store personal encounters back in the recesses of their brain and bring those narratives up at an opportune moment.
One year ago tomorrow a young trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety was killed in an on-duty car crash near Post, Texas on a stretch of US 84 that I have traveled an untold number of times. His name was Jonathan McDonald. In my role as a volunteer chaplain for the DPS, I assisted in serving his family in the immediate hours following the tragedy. My heart was broken for his parents and his young wife and baby girl.
The next day the tragedy became even more personal. My sister told me that Trooper McDonald had hired my nephew at a grocery store in Lubbock. (The young trooper was a manager at United Grocery Store prior to entering DPS recruit school.) Kim was so impressed with the kindness that Jonathan McDonald showed to her son. She too was heartbroken for his family.
Tomorrow is going to a tough day for Jonathan’s wife, Laura. His parents and the rest of his family are in for a long day too. But people with good memories will make it bearable. Stories need to be told. Significant events must be relived. That is my prayer for all of Jonathan’s family. I pray that they will be surrounded by people with good memories. His family needs to be embraced by those that are willing to recount his qualities and tell the tall tales in unedited fashion. Stories must be told tomorrow and 30 years from now too.
There is nothing quite like a good memory. I am going to try to make sure that my capacity to remember encounters with people remains in good repair. I hope you will do likewise. Someone will need a good word on a significant day…