Monday, September 1, 2008

If You Had to Choose...

One of Nat “King” Cole’s classic recordings is the 1963 summer hit—“That Sunday, That Summer.” A portion of the David Weiss, Joe Sherman lyrics is the lines:

“If I had to choose just one day
To last my whole life through,
It would surely be that Sunday
The day that I …”

Listening to that song I wondered what day I would choose. Of the more than twenty-four thousand days of life given to me thus far, which one do I treasure above all others to relive? Which 24 golden hours; which 1440 minutes would I choose? It is not an easy decision. Would the selection come from childhood or adolescence? Is the choice governed by age, circumstance, or happenstance? Was this day shared with others, or, was it a solitary expenditure of personal time? Were these hours part of a birth, beginning, culmination, or farewell? Did these golden moments involve triumph, success, wonder, romance, melancholy, awe, or an unexpected turn of events?

“If I had to choose one moment
To live within my heart,
It would be that tender moment

Each of us gathers personal keepsakes of the heart. Among our memories we store images, sights, sounds, scents, and feelings that engender extraordinary emotional reactions. Within an instant, tears of recollection fill our eyes, feelings of contentment flood our senses, and an unexplainable pleasantness saturates our conscious awareness.

What is this magic? How does one explain the mechanism that provides these brief micro-seconds of cognitive luxuriousness? Like a shooting star, they blaze brightly for the briefest time before returning to a place secret even to ourselves. What would we do if we could capture and keep for one day such personal magic?

As one inventories their precious moments, would it be from a particular season, a turning point in life, or an unexpected outcome from what started out as an insignificant occurrence? Would the moment chosen to “live within your heart” be one that was meticulously planned and came to desired fruition?

How many nights do people drift off to sleep recalling favorite memories? What person has not had dreams so vivid and real their emotions retain an afterglow hours after awakening? And, how often, during one’s waking hours, do subtle sensory stimuli trigger random flashbacks about events which have enriched their life? Maybe in some mysterious way, our mind automatically searches for life’s sweetest nectar knowing those remembrances will invigorate our spirit, refresh our thoughts and revitalize our humanness. As humans, we share a common bond and purpose. Each of us wants to be valued and appreciated. Each of us wants to be connected, to belong and be part of an emotionally nourishing relationship. We flourish in communities and thrive when validated by family and friends; respected by strangers. Knowingly and unknowingly we build memories in others as they build memories within us. And, each of us wants to be loved; and to love someone in return.

If you had to choose just one day, to last your whole life through, it would surely be…. What if you could assemble a week? What if you could collect a month? What would these days be? What are your special moments?

Each time I hear this song (it’s one of the selections on my recreation room jukebox) I always recall a special Friday in September of 1960. It was one of those ideal late summer days drenched in sunshine and canopied with blue sky. A particular young lady had caught my eye and our first date would be her school’s homecoming football game. Chosen as senior class attendant, she arrived with the queen’s court, then, met me in the stands for the game. Forty-eight years later, we’re still together.

“If I had to choose one moment
To live within my heart,
It would be that tender moment
Recalling how we started…..”

If I had to choose, it would surely be September 24, 1960, the day the magic began.
What day would you choose?

Where's Al going to be next???

Check back soon for his next appearance at a location near you!