I had an evening business meeting about a half hour from my office. It was a somewhat stormy night but cool in comparison to the hot days we’d been enduring. Many of us sat under the large canopy to connect outside the bustle of work. It was lightly raining as I left. And I had plans for the drive home.
I would travel through the town I’d lived for the majority of my adult life, including the years with daughters at home. It is a small rural town. Within a few blocks of our home was a Dairy Queen. When we first moved to town, I’d drive through with my oldest, who was a little over a year, and I’d order a large Diet Pepsi with cherry flavoring, light ice, and a small ice cream cone with no ice cream. The owner quickly became familiar with me, and even though I didn’t pull through often, he knew my vehicle and knew my order. (For those wondering why I’d deprive my daughter of ice cream: we had ice cream when home, but in the car? No thanks. It was easy to clean up cone crumbs. Melted dairy in a hot car soaked into car seats was not appealing to me.)
I’m more of a Coke than Pepsi person, but there was something about their Diet Pepsi with cherry, light ice. Through the years of many walks to, drives through, and celebrations in that Dairy Queen, it was my go-to drink. And I wanted to get another for memory’s sake.
I pulled in and there was a long line. I sat for a few minutes and considered leaving. Not that I was impatient or had anywhere important to go, but it simply wasn’t a pressing priority. Or was it? What if I slowed down to reflect and enjoy the experience and a few memories? I snapped a couple pictures to send to my daughters, who instantly knew where I was. The line moved quickly, and before I knew it, I was on my way with my large Diet Pepsi with cherry, light ice. The most direct path out of town went right down the quiet street where we lived for 20+ years. The house looked cozy and well cared for. I drove out of town and enjoyed the first sips. It tasted like sweet memories.
It’s good to remember sometimes. We never want to get stuck in the past and try to recreate or relive something and simultaneously miss out on the present and all it has to offer as we make new memories, but it’s good to remember the sweet and the bitter. Those memories give context and meaning to our present. Take a sip every now and then.