Memory is such a fickle thing.
Strange triggers.
Unexpected significance.

It is not very accurate in the long run, and I have decided this is a built-in design bonus, I mean really my memory is like a ready made editor for the story of my life. And there are so many moments that come to the forefront of my mind at any given time I am always surprised by what is pulled out of the files. However, I have found the more I want to hold on to a memory/idea/vision/thought the more likely it is to scurry off into the dark recesses of my head. It is the ones that come in authentically – I often think they must look like the little light-bulbs we see in cartoons – that stay with me.

Five memories that come up for me on my mental Google search today are:

1) The huge, huge, huge green sea turtle I saw just sitting on a ledge watching us dive on my recent trip to Borneo. It was nearly 6 feet in length and the closest thing to some sort of prehistoric creature I have ever seen up close. It (she? I want to say she) slowly turned her head to watch us, let us get quite close and then floated away with silent grace.

2) Learning to put ice cream on breakfast cereal from my grandpa.

3) The Great Cat Rescue. It went like this: I was living in Incline Village and had brought my San Francisco indoor cat with me (of course!) and she could not be an outside cat in Tahoe for a number of reasons. Inevitably (and obviously from the title of this vignette) she got out. She got herself up a huge Sugar Pine in front of our house; the tree was too tall for me to even hazard a guess as to it’s height and she was probably 25 feet up. But the thing with Sugar Pines is that the branches don’t even start until about 15 feet up, so she was all kinds of screwed. We got a blanket and the two of us each held two corners and called her enthusiastically. I was shaking her food (she was a bit of a food whore) and doing all sorts of ridiculous pleading. She did a couple of absolutely insane rodent-like jumps between some of the upper branches, but when she got to the last one she just sat there and looked at us. We kept calling and cajoling – and she did it! She jumped into the blanket/trampoline we were holding out. It was unbelievable. Our neighbors, however never really looked at us the same way again. I love that cat with the heat of 1,000 splendid suns. [The neighbors were weird anyhow.]

4) Watching the sun set behind the Acropolis from the top of the Theater of Dionysus.

5) A high school basketball game in a packed gymnasium, a top seed in the playoffs on the line. My team was down by 2 with 18 seconds on the clock. I called time out. Barely audible to a group of high school girls who were staring at me with  earnest, sweaty, breathless faces, I drew a play for them to run from the sideline of the court that I had learned from another coach long ago. A couple of distracting screens and one lob pass later, we got the shot… a lay-up! The crowd roared. We missed. The crowd moaned. The most inexperienced player I had on the floor somehow jumped up. Grabbed. The. Rebound. I am sure it was still loud in the gym, but my assistant and I just watched. And. She. Shot. The buzzer. The crowd. The noise. She made it. Heroes in a small mountain town for a moment in time.

In the overtime period we actually lost the game due to a coaching error on my behalf matched only in it’s stupidity by the brilliance of the previous minutes. But no one really cared. I didn’t care. The girls didn’t care. For a moment, we wore the shoes of heroes.

Amanda, reminiscing in cold Hong Kong.

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