When I was in the first grade, I loved recess more than anything in the world.  I am pretty sure that most kids at that age do.  I went to school in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  My dad pastored a little church in the area and drove back and forth to Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee while finishing his doctorate degree in Biblical Languages.  Studying and learning was his forte, not really mine.  I loved recess.  One day at recess, we were playing around the large cement obstacles on the playground.  They looked like very large culverts that were about 5 foot in length and about 3-4 ft big around.  That was base.  One team chased us around while we ran to get away.  The only safe place was inside that enormous concrete culvert.  I was standing back staring at home base, watching Johnny stand in the doorway with his arms and feet stretched out over it, so that nobody could get past him to base.  That was cheating. They would surely catch me!  I'll show him I thought.  I'm a small guy.  I bet if I dive headfirst between his right arm and the top of the culvert I can slide in there and reach home base.  I'll show him.  I went for it.  Next thing I knew I was waking up in the hospital with a concussion.  I remembered nothing.   My mom and Granny were in the room with me rubbing my head, telling me what had happened. 

                Fast forward to a baseball game at the Fairgrounds in Conway, AR around 1985.  Baseball was my game.  I was left-handed but my coach let me be catcher.  I loved it. It was just not fair that left-handers did not get to play catcher so had found a mit and talked the coach into letting me play catcher, and I was good at it.  I loved sitting on my butt with my leg stretched out old school like Tony Pena from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was so cool.  That night I was having a great game.  I had picked off one trying to steal second and another that had too big of a lead off third.  The batter hit a ball into the gap in right field. I knew there would be a play at third base so I ran down the line to back up Gary Harlan, the third baseman.  Sure enough, here comes the throw from the shortstop.  The ball hit the tip of Gary's glove and then tip of mine, striking me square in the mouth.  My braces dug deep into the inside of my upper lip and I saw stars.  I spit blood for about 2 minutes, finished the game, and then met the dentist at his office for 3 emergency root canals.   Fast forward again to 1987 (yeah I had rough upbringing lol), Robby Muyers and myself were playing outfield in a baseball game.  A ball was hit between us and we collided.  I woke up in Memorial Hospital in Little Rock asked my parents if I had a girlfriend over and over and over again.  The first thing I remember when I woke up was seeing my Granny, who worked at the hospital, running down the hallway towards me.  She was always worried about me.

                I don't have much of a memory left.  The concussions have all but taken my childhood from me.  Every now and then I will have a memory pop up in my mind or see something that will take me back to a place in the past.  But for the most part, those thoughts of my past are locked away somewhere upstairs, and the key has been thrown away.  I love to sit with my parents and have them tell me stories to give me an idea of what my younger days were like.  I want to know.

                Memories are a treasure. They are what power us forward in life.  One person said that you must know where you have been in order to know where you are going.  That makes a lot of sense.  The past tells you who you have and what you have been through.  The past reminds you of how strong you are. The past reminds you of how blessed you are still to be alive.  The past reminds you of the people whom you loved who have moved on to the next life.  Their memory lives inside of you.  Their stories you can now tell.  

   The places you go and the people you meet all tell a story.  Put them all together and they make YOUR story.  The story of you could not be told without those memories.  Hold on to them.  Cherish them.  Write them down or record them so that one day, when your memory is as bad as mine, you can bring those back.  The smiles, the laughter, and the tears will always be there for those amazing memories in your story.  And you are truly a work of art, one of a kind, a masterpiece, for nobody has the same story as you!  Live the best life; hold nothing back for when your story is told long after you are gone, your memory will make others smile, laugh and cry for those memories are treasures that must be told.

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