The Things That We Remember: “Chicken In A Shoe Box””

Yesterday, I was working on chapter 2, my goal was to get my characters on a bus and out of the south. Ultimately they will end up in Chicago, but that trip would prove to be near impossible , as they are fleeing from the south just after the depression era. There wasn’t a lot of money in those days, so escaping would be hard…while they were hiding, they sang a song and for some reason this was the song that came to mind

Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior:

As I got them ready to leave, I thought of ways they could travel. I decided that the bus was the easiest and cheapest way to travel about. Immediately I was transported back in time, I was a kid again with my mother about to board a Greyhound bus. I could hear the engine running, I stared at the the dog on the side of the bus. I was short enough that we were eye to eye. I could almost physically feel my mother pulling on my arm. And then it hit me! The scent of fried chicken sweating in the inside of a shoebox lined with Reynolds Wrap foil. Mmm… the smell of lunch! And it wasn’t complete without the boiled eggs.
Wow, it is strange what we remember and the odd times that we remember them. Just Sunday, I was in the super market with my wife and passed by a display for Lipton Soup.

I’d asked her if she remembered the soup from her childhood. The minute I asked her, I pictured in my mind, my mother’s hand placing the box on the kitchen counter.
I could see her hand dropping the lump of seasoning in the water. I had another flashback, I was sick and my mother handed me a bowl of soup. I watched as the tiny thin noodles spun around in a circle. All of that happened while I was still in aisle 5 of the supermarket with my wife. Whoa!
And the other night, I was watching a film about Jim Jones! The charismatic church/cult leader who orchestrated the deaths of over 900 people. Need I say I was sick to my stomach. I was watching the screen when a thought popped into my head “don’t drink the kool-Aid” I remembered it from my childhood. Another thought came nearly simultaneously, I’ll get to that in a moment.
When I was a kid we used to joke about not drinking the kool-Aid, which alluded to Jim Jones’ mass suicide. My wife and I watched in horror as the people were lead and forced to drink the concoction. Then the other thought came to mind… we were sitting in a circle reading the bible and teaching our, then little children, the importance of knowing the Word for themselves so that they would not be easily fooled.
What a strange thing to feel, taste, hear sounds or see pictures that take you back to a different time and place. Not all of what we remember is a good memory, but isn’t still amazing what sensory our bodies can produce. We really are “fearfully and wonderfully made”…
Until next time…

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