Take time to stop

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 10, 1999

and smell the roses


Published Oct. 10, 1999

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If it’s true that we remember feelings, not things, then what kind of memories are we making in this rat-race world?

A wonderful, but exasperated, lady remarked the other day, "I wanna stop and smell the roses!"

"What roses?" another quipped.

I thought about that encounter the other day when a young father stopped me to say he agreed with a column I had written, "especially the part where you said we don’t let children be children anymore."

He was right. We don’t let children be children anymore.

Not that many years ago, the lyrics of a folk song asked, "Where have all the children gone?" But that’s not puzzling these days. They’re in the house watching television and paying video games. They’re certainly not outside inhaling life and making a mountain of childhood memories.

What kinds of memories are made from passive entertainment? Very few, I would think.

But look at what all children have these days, one might say. All these wonderful things we didn’t have as children!

Maybe or maybe they have too much.

Several years ago, a conversation with a young man prompted me to ask him what excites young people these days? What did he look forward to with great anticipation?

After a long silence, he said he couldn’t think of anything.

Two days later he called me with an answer.

"When a new record album is going to be released – I kind of get excited about that."


Maybe we do give our children too much and let them experience life too little. Maybe we are robbing them of memories. Maybe we really are.

I grew up having what I needed and a few things I wanted. But thankfully I grew up with good memories of the wonderful smell of roses.

I remember picking berries from a bush and plums from a tree. I hunted crickets under rocks and dug for worms in the ground. I could bait a hook and scale a fish. I could climb a tree and catch butterflies and lightning bugs and fly a June bug and doodle a lady bug home.

I walked in the rain and sloshed through mud puddles. I ate wild strawberries, chewed monkey grass and sipped water from the creek.

Frogs gave me warts, ants made me sting and Jack Frost bit me on the nose. Dogs gave me kisses and peach trees gave me switches. Snakeskins brought good luck and a dead bird brought bad. I knew the smell of honeysuckle and the coming of rain. I chased rainbows and sang with mockingbirds and could stay out after dark.

I would lie in the grass at night and watch the stars until the bigness of the universe overwhelmed me and chased me home.

The old world often taught me hard lessons. Green apples would double me over, brittle branches would make me fall and poison mushrooms would kill me dead if I didn’t die rom rabbit tobacco first.

One puff was all it took to turn me green around the gills and I grabbed the grass to keep the spinning ground from slinging me off into the Milky Way.

Yep, it was good to stop and smell the roses and even taste the bitter weed. It was good to "feel" the world around me and learn from the lessons it taught.

Maybe I didn’t have much but what I had meant all the world to me.