Journal entry 0080510: Renewing

I recently enjoyed a big buttered sweet roll with coffee at the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, while Cyndi and Tanya attended an early yoga class. When I was in high school we came to the University of New Mexico for All State Music, and it was part of the ritual to eat breakfast at the Frontier. I hadn’t been there since 1974, and I wouldn’t have thought of going there this time except Cyndi reminded me. I came to renew a memory and reset an experience. The sweet role and coffee were good but the renewal was better.

Have you done something like that recently? Have you returned to an old haunt or repeated a previous experience simply to reinforce your memory?

The first time I remember doing something like that intentionally was going to Mesquite’s BBQ in Lubbock in a blinding rainstorm one afternoon in 1994. I was on my way back to Midland from a business trip to Vernon, Texas.

The memory I was after happened when Cyndi and I were first married and she was still attending Texas Tech in Lubbock we met at Mesquite’s for lunch one blustery winter day. It was one of our best dates ever. Cyndi was especially attractive in her soft sweater and I was so hot for her I couldn’t sit still. I go back to Mesquite’s every chance I get to relive that moment.

Last week I went to Dallas with Cyndi. She was attending a church media conference called Echo at Watermark Community Church, and I did what I usually do – take a backpack full of books and my journal, and go underground for a couple of days. I also ran one lap around White Rock Lake Thursday morning and it was great.

Well, in fact it got hot and humid and it was really brutal and I got dehydrated and I was lucky to make it all the way around. But besides that, it was great. White Rock Lake is one of our favorite places to run and I am disappointed  if we are in the area and don’t have time to make it.

Unfortunately I was too worn out after running to go to our favorite La Madeleine Restaurant afterward and reconnect another great memory. It’s mostly a cold weather memory anyway.

One winter Saturday Cyndi and I ran the Lake and then warmed up over coffee and tea and buttered bread with jelly near the big fireplace at La Madeleine at Preston and Forest. This time, it would’ve been hard to imagine Cyndi’s silhouette against the fireplace after a 90*F run, so I didn’t go. But running the Lake was great; more about renewal than fitness, and I was glad for the opportunity.

And this past weekend I took my 7-year-old nephew, Kevin, on a two-night camping trip at the Ft. Davis State Park. We joined Corey and his son Carter. I had two objectives for the weekend: (1) do manly stuff with Kevin, like sleeping in a tent when there are bugs inside, eating hot dogs when they have dirt and ashes on them, hiking without complaining, using the bushes, and playing in the fire; and (2) repeat some of the experiences I enjoyed with my dad when we used to go to Ft. Davis, like touring the fort and climbing the rocks alongside the highway. We did all of those and Kevin had a good time. He came home with cuts and scrapes to show off to all the other men and to draw sympathy from the women. It was a successful weekend with Kevin, but it was also great for renewing my memories.

I’m not sure why I am telling these stories about memory renewal; it isn’t a nostalgia grab, or merely reliving the good old days. I think this is connected to one of my favorite verses that I recently rediscovered in my Daily Bible, Jeremiah 6:16, “Stand at the crossroads and look; and ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it.”

Refreshing old memories has less to do with sentiment and more to do with asking the questions again – which is the good way? How can I walk in it?


P.S. Much to my surprise, the White Rock run did me some good. My legs and knees had been stiff and sore the entire month of July, but after 9 miles around White Rock Lake, they felt much better. Who would’ve expected that? Memories aren’t the only things that can be renewed. It works for knees, too.


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

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