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Is a memory a memory if you didn’t take a photo of it?

May 13, 2010

Tuesday, we decided to go to Oklahoma. Why you ask? Well, because we could.

We live within a stone’s throw, in Texas terms, to the Oklahoma border. And we’ve jokingly talked about going there for a day trip one of these days. But I’m learning that one of these days tends to pass us by all too quickly and we don’t get those things done that we thought we’d get done one of these days. On a whim, because Mr. Man was going to be home for the day recovering from his puffy face from a root canal, I decided to get the little men out of the house and go adventuring….to Oklahoma!

There were reports, all day on Facebook (see how that’s become my main news feed nowadays?) and Weather Channel of storm chasers swarming the state to witness the band of storms that were about to cover the state. And while we’d never get far enough up, the thought excited my Weather guy, who is infatuated with all things weather (until it comes to his neighborhood where then he does a dramatic break-up scene in front of the radar on the tellie and wants it all to just go away), that he might see Reed Timmer or the TIV, or even…crossing fingers, eyes and all other appendages that you can cross for good luck…Jim Cantore (the Weatherman of all Weathermen in his  eyes).

We had no plans, so off we went – to Oklahoma. It went mostly flat from there. The drive up was pretty boring for them..and a bit of reminiscing for me as we drove through Sherman/Denison where I used to work long ago, but the little men didn’t really care. Same trees, same buildings, same highway, same fields. Not even a HINT of a tornado or teepee (remember, we’ve been studying the move west in history this  year so there was a bit of excitement in the notion of seeing the romanticized west in a couple of  little boys’  heads) or stagecoach or sooner in sight (well, I’m sure we saw lots of Sooners, but we chose to just ignore that particular foible of their life and see them just as regular human beings like the rest of us – GO LONGHORNS! (and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who didn’t go to UT, isn’t a fan of college football, and who typically just doesn’t care – it’s just payback for what happened on the highway during TX-OU weekend…that’s a story for another time)) . Here’s what we did see:

We hit the border and stopped at the Visitor’s Center. We looked through some racks of brochures of all the things to do in OK while we were there (there were no tornado brochures, sadly), and the best we could come up with on short notice as the Denison Dam..that turned out to actually be on the TX side of things. Here’s what we saw on the dam:

We called Dad at that point, whom we woke up from a drug-induced slumber (legal ones, I promise) to tell him where we were (and he didn’t believe us at all – why would you go to Oklahoma?) and say we were on our way home – no tornadoes, TIV’s or obnoxious storm chasers (and we all know who I mean by that). As we crossed the dam, we took a side road to get us down to the Red River where we dipped our toes, talked to some fishermen, threw some stones then headed back. Here’s what we saw on the river.

The drive back was spent singing Vacation Bible Songs and dreaming of Whataburger ketchup (because it was so late, we opted to stop at Whataburger because we love their ketchup so much). Here’s what we saw on the way back:

Wonder what this whole post has to do with the title? Me, too, actually, but let me try to bring it full circle. I forgot my camera. Actually, I just didn’t bring it. I know, I know…all of you scrapbookers and bloggers out there gasped at the same time. HOW COULD YOU!? I know I was a bit nervous on the river to let the boys find anything exciting or educational or just cool when I didn’t have a camera to record such event. And how can you possibly know the joy of the day without a photo to SEE how we were happy and carefree and not disappointed that we didn’t see a tornado or teepee or sooner? I read, not long ago, that we retain very little in the way of unique memories from our childhood. More of what we retain are the stories we’ve heard told or photos we’ve seen, more than the actual memory. Don’t ask me to link to that..I can’t remember where but it’s been pretty recently (see, I told you about my memory). But today, I had to actually break myself from driving back home to grab the camera, taking the chance of not even bothering to do the trip all so I could make sure I had the camera to take shots to make a scrapbook page or post on the blog? What was my real goal for this trip? Honestly, it was to have a fun and wacky outing, something that I hoped the boys would remember, and something that I’ve always wanted to do. If I’d have gone back home, we would’ve ended up not even going on the adventure. We would’ve done chores, or played outside, or played the Wii, or something else part of our everyday life, with no extra memory, no fun. We created a memory that didn’t require standing there, looking into the sun, while mom shot 40 pictures of each little thing we did (40 because that’s about the average it takes for me to get one good shot..I’m not a good photographer). We just enjoyed our day, sang fun tunes, talked, slept (well, the little men did, I was driving, after all – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), and dipped our toes in the river without a camera in site. Sure, I was a bit jittery, but I made it through….and came out a little wiser and a little less obsessed. It seems like all of our adventures, happenings, tantrums and hangnails have to be recorded lately. Building those times with the family is WAY more important. Sure, it’s great to have a camera handy to grab that stellar, tourism board-worthy shot. But the thing is…what would I have lost if I had turned back (knowing that something would’ve happened and we would not have gone on our journey). Will the boys remember this day fondly? I dunno..memory is a funny thing. I can hope, I can learn and I can remember for them.

I’m going to say something totally wacky,  something that might get me kicked off the scrapbook forums, and banned for life from ClickinMoms. You might want to move over a few hundred yards in case the photo god decides to strike me with lightning.  The memory is more important than the pictures. There. I said it.

Will I still create a scrapbook page about the adventure?  You betcha. I am a scrapbooker, after all!!

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