Memory is a very tricky thing, at least for me it is. Looking back, over a year's span of activity my memory seems to pick and choose what it remembers. It amazes me not so much what a person remembers but what a person forgets.
Often some old-timer will moan about how much he misses the good old days. I'm not sure if he is thinking of World War II or the great Depression. I'm positive that during the great Depression some wonderful memories were created, but I'm not sure anyone wants to return to those thrilling days of yesterday.
The bad was not as bad as we remember and the good was not as good as we boast.
Some things are best forgotten and some things should never be forgotten; my trouble has always been remembering which is which. (Personally, I don't know the difference between "which" and "that.")
Several things about the old year bear serious consideration. The past year, in my opinion, was not just one year but several years flowing together. Sometimes I'm not sure which year I lived.
The year 2004, like all its brothers before it, actually consisted of three years.
First, there is the year that really was. "Just the facts, ma'am."
I'm a little fuzzy about this one. For one thing, looking at my checkbook entries (at least the ones I remembered to enter) the past year was a completely different one than I recall.
I really do not recollect having all the fun indicated by my bank statement. Why is it that no matter how much money I put into my bank account, more money comes out.
Evidently, some phantom creature has access to my checkbook.
President Ronald Reagan was accused of voodoo economics. Reviewing my bank statements, I could be accused of "Who-do" economics.
My income tax statement is another perplexity. I can never figure it out. If the government said I made that much money, I must have made that much money and owe that much in taxes.
Speaking of the government, what I don't understand is how they know how much I owe, to the penny, along with millions of other Americans and cannot find Osama bin Laden. I know exactly how to solve this conundrum.
One surefire way of finding him is leaking to the government that Osama bin Laden owes taxes and he will be caught before April 15, guaranteed.
Second, there is the year I re-member.
This year is much shorter than the previous one, for some odd reason. The year I remember had only two months; this month and last month. And believe me, "last month" is a stretch for me.
Honestly, I remember paying the electric bill, contrary to what the electric company says. My problem with the electric company is that during the space of a year they send me 12 bills and I can only remember two.
They penalize me for screwing up but they do not credit my account when they screw up - like being without electricity for four days - twice this past year. Oh, that I remember and remember it well. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly it was more like 90 days.
I remember deducting the monthly service charges from my bank each and every month. Well, maybe not "each and every" month. Why those three checks bounced is beyond my comprehension.
Should the bank charge a larger fee for a bounced check than the face value of the check? I don't think so. Isn't it the bank's business to keep their records straight? Why do I have to spend so much time each month on my checkbook account?
Last, but certainly not least, is the year the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage remembers.
At times, I am tempted to think (at least it's what I call thinking) my wife lives one life and I live something altogether different from hers. The things she remembers that took place during the year are beyond my remembering.
I am beginning to believe she remembers things that never took place. Of course, and I say this with all sincerity, I would never contradict her memory.
For the life of me I don't know where I was when all these things happened that she says happened. Nor do I know where I was when I promised to do all those things she said I promised.
Even in my right mind, (of which I don't have much left) I would never concede to help remodel the family room. I would never accuse her, heaven forbid, of taking advantage of me in this area. The thought is not a stranger inside my head, although rational thoughts are.
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, framed his thoughts this way, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;" (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV.)
Solomon's idea was, "now" is more important than "then."
The Apostle Paul had the right idea with this matter of remembering. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14 KJV.)
It is not important how much I can remember about the past, as long as I don't forget to set Christ before me in all I do in 2005.
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living in Ocala, FL with his wife Martha. Snyder has written 9 books and published over 400 articles/essays.