Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scottish memories

After two consecutive 80º days replete with mosquitoes and mugginess, it was time for a Scottish weather day. Misty rain, fog on Degray Lake that made it look like a Scottish loch, blowing leaves, and rusty fall foliage dotting the rolling hills. Add Enya's best on the Ipod in the car and I was transported right back to St. Andrews circa 1997 when I studied there for a semester. It brings back memories of McSorley's Pub right at the corner of the 18th green on the Old Course, where they hosted Pub Trivia on Wednesdays with the Classic dark blue Trivial Pursuit game (remember that one...where the answer is always either None or the Soviet Union). Where they gave out McSorley's t-shirts that said "Everybody's gotta learn to drink somewhere" on the back. Where they were such a small town bar that they let you play your own mix tape on their speaker system. Where the boys drank Guinness pints and the girls drank Snakebite and Blacks. What a life, what a lifetime ago.

When you live a thousand miles away from your former life, it's just magic when a memory strikes you. Some combination of sights, sounds and smells can take you right back home and connect you to your roots. It's a song lyric, or a landscape and breeze that seems familiar, or a conversation that could have happened a decade ago. The senses line up to send your brain's memory center back home, back to what builds you up and makes you feel strong. Like a highlight reel, your brain and it's miraculous circuitry will replay the very best scenes for your viewing pleasure. These moments are what give us the strength to strike out for open territory and light the fire at someone else's hearth. If I knew 6 years ago how good those moments would feel in my new life, I would have left Virginia without shedding a tear or harboring one doubt. I would have known that you can build your new life without losing the old, and both can seem better than before. So strike out all of you, whether you are in your 20's or 70's. The new horizons need you, and the old horizons will never forget you.

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God, to have these guys in a room together again....