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Editorial Reflections - A memory away

Editorial Reflections - A memory away
Hettie Buck, Editor for the Clearwater Times and Barriere Star Journal in the North Thompson Valley for Black Press Media (File Photo)

A very dear family friend, I actually think of him in some ways as a big brother, and I were recently reminiscing about our Aunt Hettie and Uncle Bob, iconic naturalist “teachers” who played such a significant role in so many lives in the valley, in Wells Gray Park. As we spoke of them they came to life as we laughed about their personalities, describing traits, qualities, the tone of their voices, remembering their vibrant spirits.

It got me thinking even further about how during our conversation it felt as though they were with us, we could see them somehow, visualize their facial expressions. If a person can be remembered like that so vividly, they can’t be gone can they? I feel that has got to be an affirmation that we really don’t disappear; there is something more no matter what your personal beliefs may be.

Having lost many in my life journey, this life school, there are also the other signs. A butterfly reminds us so clearly of Aunt Hettie and her documenting of birds and butterflies for UBC. If I see a butterfly when thinking of her I sometimes wonder is she “swooshing” by?

Smells and sounds or songs often remind us like a feather touch on the shoulder, of that moment in time with a person. Mom Buck’s turkey dinner cooking, or her apple pies. The sounds of soft music on a summer’s night and barbecuing hamburgers outside in California in our backyard there and Frank Sinatra crooning from Catalina Island as our mother sang along. She had a beautiful voice and I swear just thinking about it I hear her as though she was serenading us while we chomped away on our burgers at the picnic table with the juices running down our chins.

The soft, sweet baby smell of a tiny little head, that lingering scent of my babies who are now all grown with babies of their own who brought back those melancholy moments when holding them long after they’ve fallen asleep in my arms.

Grandma Lillie smelled like roses, cinnamon and hard peppermint candy that she kept tucked away in the big mason jar in her pantry and a little bit like her molasses cookies that she called “Tweetie Pie” cookies, because she loved that cartoon character.

My beautiful Appaloosa mare, Rosie, now gone long ago, rushing to the fence when I called out to her after work at a radio station in 100 Mile House. “Rosita, Rosie, Rosita” I’d call until she’d twitch her ears, turning to run for the apple or carrot I brought her and a velvet nuzzle along my arm.

Our newspaper editor dad, Ross, always in a dress shirt with tie or suit, a lead pencil tucked behind his ear, smelling of Old Spice freshly shaven, tobacco and licorice. A gentleman through and through, I can almost hear him asking, “Well honey, how was your day today?”

I’m just not buying that they are gone. They live in us, through us.

The genetics are strong when you look at my kids. Seeing them carry those looks of those gone on ahead.

We have them, always with us. I like to imagine them watching and smiling sometimes.

Only a memory away, just waiting to be tapped, shared and bubbling right back up to the surface to bring us a laugh, a tear, or sparking inspiration. Like a gentle kiss on the cheek or tap on the shoulder.

An armful of flowers from the nursery Uncle Bob just picked fresh to fill my vase, as these memories fill my heart.

Just a memory away.

About the Author: Hettie Buck

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