One of the advantages of being older is having so many more life experiences than my younger self. And it’s good to look back on those experiences. If I can remember.

Every so often a closet gets cleaned out and artifacts are found that spur a memory. Or many memories.

Like this bottle. It’s at least 45 years old. It’s plastered with images and quotes that have meaning to only me and the young girl (young girl at the time) who made it for me.

That’s me on the left – long hair and checkered pants – and my buddy, Thomas, in New Orleans. Wide-eyed hillbilly teenagers heading to Bourbon Street. We were there as part of our high-school band trip to participate in a Mardi Gras parade.

Why me, Lord?

Kris Kristofferson’s song. Thomas and I would sing it mockingly on the band bus. I wasn’t into country music then. The song was recently featured in Ken Burns’ film, Country Music. I know now what I didn’t know then, that the song is rich in humility and redemption, and that it came to Kristofferson after a life-changing moment of conversion in a country church while he was on tour. Mock no more.

Just below that is the ticket stub from one of the few concerts I’ve attended in my life. James Taylor. Doesn’t get much better than JT.

Anybody remember Burger Chef? How about BBF, Borden Burger Foodorama? Home of the whirling satellite. Burger Chef was where you went when I was a teenager if you wanted the chance to bump into someone you really wanted to bump into. No social media back then. It was all face-to-face.

Steak. My friend worked at a steak house.

Pinto. The family car of choice in those days.

The Living Bible, or as I refer to it, The Hippie Bible. This translation, paraphrase, really, was radical when it first came out. But it was the Bible of choice for our young skulls full of mush. I still have this Bible. I still read it.

So much more. But I won’t bore you with the rest. My apologies for this self-indulgent journey into the past.

And to Melinda, thanks. It’s quite a time capsule you created. Though our paths diverged, it’s good to go back and remember.