Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Bit Like a Boat

"Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door."
-Saul Bellow

A couple of miles from my home in Ireland, there is a bend in the road, and a minor bump on the bend. The uneven surface invariably causes a car to sway uneasily for just a moment.
Many years ago I was travelling with my brother and he suddenly commented, almost offhandedly, that it felt "a bit like being in a boat."
I never forgot his whimsical words, and even after my brother got his own car, left home and hardly travelled with us anymore I thought of it every time I went over that bit of road.
It became a joke of sorts; I made a habit of saying the same to Mater when we rode over the stretch: "it does feel like a boat."
These days it is left to Mater, whether motoring alone or with my cousin, to carry on the torch of her offspring's curious observation. The fragment has become as much a part of her driving routine as the soft-eyed sheep, plush fields and crumbling stone walls that sweep past her windows.
We three are separated now by varying distances, but I can say for certain that when the links of memory are carefully knotted together, we are all in the same boat.


Beth said...

oh, that last paragraph was so beautiful--they say a picture paints a thousand words and that is true but you paint a picture in very few words--a great writing gift.

polona said...

it's so nice to share an inside joke... and in a sense we are all in the same boat together...
thank you for reminding us of that

Barb said...

When links of memory are carefully knotted together, we are all in the same boat .... what a beautifully put sentiment. B

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Beth, thank you so much. It is quite a lot like painting, or photography- hoping to make one single image mean as much to other people as it does to me.

Polona, I think that shared memory is something that brings people together even if they don't realise it.

Barb, thanks. I tried ;)

julochka said...

very handily tied together. :-) excellent writing!

Pauline said...

memory is the thread that stitches our communal quilt - or paves our road, in this case.

always a pleasure to come here to read!

Pappy said...

Gosh, I'm going to need to get here earlier. Everyone stole all of my comments and analogies. This post is a succinct little masterpiece. You really are amazing. Pappy

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Julie, thanks so much! I love your new profile picture!

Pauline, I thank you, that's so good to hear.

Texican, well, judging by the response to your own post yesterday, you should be busy recording your songs by now so I assume and hope that's why you got here late(er) ;) Thanks for your kind comment.

Jaime said...

I'm with the everyone has already said, that last sentence was such a perfectly perfect way to wrap this story.

Oh, and the soft-eyed sheep, plush fields and crumbling stone walls make me want to visit Ireland so much!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Jaime, I made myself want to go to Ireland too ;) It is like I described. I'm glad you liked the story.

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