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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 8:55 PM
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Spontaneously experiencing selective memory loss

A STORY WORTH TELLING
Spontaneously experiencing selective memory loss

“My memory isn’t faulty; it just goes on vacation more often than I do.”

— I would tell you who said that. But I forget. Check back with me later.

“Tell us all about it,” was a friend’s general greeting as I walked in at church Sunday morning.

Pausing momentarily, trying to come up with a crafty response, I replied.

“Well, I was planning on doing just that, but unfortunately I won’t be able to today. I just forgot everything I had intended to say.”

Those within earshot laughed sympathetically. At least I took it as sympathetically.

“It’s something that occurs more often that I would like to admit.”

“I know what you mean,” he shot back.

I’m losing my shortterm memory, but my long-term memory is getting better all the time. Sometimes, I can’t remember what I want to say at the moment, but give me a minute. Or two. Or a few hours. Sometimes, until next week. It will come back to me at some point.”

And just like that, what started as humorous banter became a serious discussion.

About something so commonplace, most of us regard it as funny.

But it’s really not.

The late John Walker, a long-time friend and Center attorney, was the first to share the “long-term memory theory” with me some years ago.

John told it that he and some other Center adventure seekers who went to Colorado to ride ATVs in the mountains discovered it.

“It became a joke,” John said. “During the two days of traveling, we talked about a lot of things. But not one of us could complete a story without forgetting a name, a place, or a date. Where that good place to eat was located or the name of it.

“All of our stories were about ‘what’s his name’ or a ‘you know who I’m talking about.’

Then, later on down the road, one of us would remember a missing piece of information and throw it out. Before we forgot it again. The game came in measuring the trip by the memories.

We’d say, ‘That was a 60-minute memory,” or a two-hour memory.”

“That’s funny,” I laughed.

And it was, until that day. The day I was sharing a story about a Greenville restaurant that had that good coffee. The one where Elvis ate.

It was on the interstate at Greenville.

Back when I-30 came out of Dallas and ended at Sulphur Springs. My grandparents stopped there every time they made the trip from Pittsburg to Seymour, where we lived in West Texas. I was young, and the thing I remembered about it was the plate that hung on the wall. It looked like one of those colorful Fiesta Ware plates. Someone had printed on the plate, “Elvis ate here,” and the date, “3-1458.”

“Oh, what was the name of that place,” I hesitated, trying to wrap up my recollection of … that place I couldn’t remember the name of. “It was just like home cooking and the best pies of any cafe anywhere. We ate there every time we passed through Greenville.

“I was a young music fan about the time Elvis ate there,” I offered. Praying the name would come to me in a vision. “And we always stopped because my grandfather loved the coffee. Plus, I got to see the “Elvis plate” in the cafe where Elvis ate.

The name of it was … what was the name of that place?

“Even in the 60s when I was a student at nearby East Texas State University in Commerce, I drove over to Greenville,” I continued. Not just for a good cup of coffee but also for fried chicken steak. Or a piece of pie. And to see the plate where Elvis ate.

“Then, sometime after graduating, I passed through Greenville,” I tried to wrap up, certain the name was going to come back. But it was gone. The café and it the plate Elvis autographed.”

“What was the name of that place?” I conceded, “I’ll just have to look it up and let you know.”

About two weeks after forgetting to follow through on the research I vowed to do, it came to me. Out of the blue. Without any provocation whatsoever, it just appeared in my mind. Floyd’s. I grabbed my phone and called my friend.

“Floyd’s. It’s Floyds,” I blurted.

“What’s Floyd’s,” he said. “Who is Floyd and what is his?”

That cafe I was telling you about — in Greenville, where Elvis ate — was Floyd’s.”

“OK,” he said like he understood the meaning of my outburst.

“That was about a two-week memory,” I laughed.

“A what kind of memory,” he asked.

“You feelin’ all right?”

“I’m fine,” I said.

“And I’m not forgetful, I’m just spontaneously experiencing selective memory loss. And thought I better tell you. It was Floyd’s.

“Before, this twoweek memory becomes an ancient memory.”


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