First, I have to tell a true story.
About 40 years ago, I was at a nursery store in Waterloo and there was a young woman looking at flowers across the table from me.
We made eye contact and she gave me a slight smile.
In a few seconds I recognized who she was from when we worked together at a grocery store in Ames while we were both students at Iowa State.
The slight smile gave me enough courage to walk over to her and ask if she was who I thought she was.
Now she was looking puzzled.
I told her my name and where we both worked while college students and that she was enrolled in elementary education and she was from Cedar Rapids.
There was a man standing next to her and I said, “I bet this is your husband Steve who was in the Navy while you were in school.”
She was still looking puzzled and her husband was looking like he was wondering, “How does this guy know my wife so well from years ago when I was far away in the Navy?”
She still had a blank look on her face that was bordering on uncomfortable.
Finally, she looked at me and said, “I don’t remember you at all.”
Now I was uncomfortable.
I gave a half smile and walked away with my tail between my legs.
There are two conclusions from this story.
First, sometimes a good memory can be troublesome.
Second, there is a time to talk and a time to be quiet. In this instance, I made the wrong choice.
Since then, I have kept quiet more often to avoid embarrassing anyone and more importantly, embarrassing myself.
But let’s get back to the good memory part.
I have been fortunate enough to have a very good memory that for many years has given me a distinct advantage in many situations.
I was able to sit through classes in grade and high school and easily pass tests just by paying attention in class.
In college, if I took good notes during lectures, all I had to do was cram for the test on the night before. Then forget it after the test.
Next we will fast forward 40-plus years to today.
Sadly and unfortunately, I find myself now reaching for those memories that used to come so easily.
What makes it worse is that it is names that are getting harder to recall, names of people I have known for years such as my neighbors.
Usually it is a first name I am struggling with.
I can visualize the house in which they live, the car they drive and the car they traded in on that car. I can even name their dog.
But what is their first name?
That is when a close family member who is nearby will help me with that name and then, of course, I wonder how I could forget that person’s name.
These days, instead of embarrassing myself by remembering a person’s name, I embarrass myself by not being able to remember that name.
At least, that is how I remember it.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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