Good Old Days Gone By

Time is the friend of neither man nor beast nor, for that matter, the inanimate paraphernalia with which civilized society surrounds itself. Over the years, sometimes without our even noticing, every cherished relic in sight gets papered over, reupholstered or repainted. And, though we may call it progress, the new decor is seldom an improvement on the old.

Sitting One Out at Andy's

Dirt streets where we played kick-the-can get paved over with cobblestones and later with asphalt. Saloons, in which old friends would once congregate, come under new management, and, while old friends drift away, they attract more worldly crowds, and finally they get burned down for the insurance and are forgotten. Childhood friends slowly grow up and then more rapidly grow old. We put on a little weight ourselves, and lose a little hair. Bedtime beckons to us earlier in the evening; we become less regular and more incontinent, and we care a little less about bathing and shaving and combing our hair than we used to in the old days. Good times pass, and we don't even miss them until one day we look around and see that the world has all turned sour on us.

Only memories defy the ravages of time. Places we haven't been to and people we haven't seen since we were children remain as they were – immutable – eternally young. In secret sanctuaries of our minds, we have gathered a treasury of these small souvenirs, and we hold them sacred and guard them from time's unkind governance. Though we seldom consciously think about them, these memories constitute a large and sustaining part of what we are – or at least of what we perceive ourselves to be. In concert they form the mold in which we cast our self-image, and we must defend them from worldly incursions.