The way you wear your hat The way you sip your tea The memory of all that No, no they can’t take that away from me
George and Ira Gershwin knew what they were talking about when they wrote that song. They understood that all our tangible, worldly goods are subject to be lost under certain conditions. Our homes, cars, HD TVs and jewelry can be lost as a result of some financial calamity. Even if we wisely manage our lives, the unexpected can reverse all those years and decades of accumulating money and purchasing creature comforts. External forces can undo our best efforts to gain and protect our assets. But in spite of all that, there is one thing they can’t take away from us.
What are undeniably ours, what can’t be taken away by the vultures of greed are the memories of what once was. Whether you are rich or poor, in good health or ill, you still have your memories. There is no one who can repossess your memories, be they pleasant or unpleasant. They don’t reside in your pocket, so they can’t be picked. They are not kept in a bank or in stocks, so they can never be stolen or misused and lost. They are safe, to a significant degree, in the reaches of your mind.
Sadly, the one way they can be lost or stolen is through the grinding of time on our minds. The major culprit is that insidious robber of memories – Alzheimer’s Disease. It slowly ravages our minds, destroying that which we hold most dear – our memories. In time, it takes away that which is most critical to us – our sense of self. Like a ravenous parasite it devours the very core of who we are and leaves an empty shell.
Unfortunately, we often fail to notice when it starts its evil work. And even when we and others around us realize it is present, there is nothing that can be done to stop it in its tracks. Like Sherman’s March to the Sea, it presses on destroying all in its path. It is then that the Gershwin Brothers had it wrong. It is then that all is taken away from us. Then any evidence of the memories we once shared with others only can be found in their memories, not ours.