My brother Mark has a fabulous memory for detail. He’s becoming legendary for his ability to recall the minutia of our shared lives, mostly events from our childhoods.
His ability in this regard was put to the test yesterday, and his reliability is absolutely unquestioned.
A few weeks ago my mom and I were discussing our recent trip to New York. We didn’t do anything so mundane as talk about the Empire State Building or, say, the gasping fish of Chinatown. No, this day it was flying, which meandered into ruminations upon the trip our family took to Washington, D.C., when I was 15 and a high-school sophomore.
Anyway, at issue: whether our hopscotch flight back from DC took us to Lexington, Louisville or Cincinnati. I maintained Cincinnati. Mom said Lexington. Pshaw, I rejoined. Then Mom had an idea. “Ask Mark! He’ll know!”
So yesterday sometime during lunch Mom turns to me and says, “what were we going to ask Mark?”
“Hm. I don’t know. It was something interesting.”
“Hm. I do remember we were sitting in my breakfast nook when we were wondering about it though.”
Several minutes pass and suddenly there’s Mom: “Hey! Our trip to Washington!”
Mark promptly responds, without knowing the question was in regards to flights, or what: “1979.”
Yeah, yeah right I remembered WHEN. So after it’s explained to him, he recites all the takeoffs and landings, both ways, and finally hits on the crucial information: “We considered renting a car in Cincinnati, driving home to Carrollton, and then picking up our car the next day in Louisville and leaving the rental car there.”
Of course the best thing about this story was that I Was Right, which isn’t often in heated battles such as this with my mother. I remembered the whole thing vividly because of the unusual nature of the circumstances: our hopscotching took us to Cincinnati, which is just about the same distance from Carrollton as Louisville is — in fact, it lies right between the two. But, we’d flown out of Louisville, and that’s where our car was. We had a four-hour layover in Cincy to take a 30-minute flight. Hence, the consideration of the car rental.
(From her perspective, it was a victory because she remembered exactly what it was we wanted to ask Mark. OK, touche. A draw.)
In the end, as of course Mark remembered, we sweated it out in the Cincinnati International Airport, which as everyone knows, is located in Northern Kentucky, landed in the Ville and drove home to Carrollton at 3 in the morning. We kids didn’t care (much); we were on vacation and just being in an airport is fairly exciting.
I find it amusing that he’s become such an oracle for these family memories. Let not the little piddling things in life fade into the past! ‘Tis the piddling that’s the glue that holds family together.