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Substitutes

The older I become, the more I realize how much a waste of time it becomes to find substitutes for those people or things that we cherish or have cherished for some time. Today was a day when that became altogether clear to me, on a subject I will address later.

We often tell ourselves that something we have easily and completely replaces something that we truly love. On a very mundane level, no hamburger that I have encountered can take the place of a White Castle slider. My best guess is that my recollection is colored by the family events associated with those burgers in a time long past.

The same phenomenon occurs with other locations or businesses. No deli that I experienced before or since can replace the one at which I received my traditional pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon (lox). Never will I ever have ice cream as that which I shared with my sweet sister-in-law, now a prisoner of the dementia disease. And finally, no shopping adventure will ever emulate the experience of going to downtown Chicago with mom, riding on the Illinois Central and having lunch at Marshall Field’s.

With all that in mind, I wonder why I should bother with the process of trying to improve upon or duplicate treasured memories for the sake of fully experiencing a food, location or event. Today, as I visit the optical shop for new eyeglasses, I know that no-one will ever be able to go with me and contribute the kind of input and love as my daughter did in the past or would if she were here. And as many times and I shop in as many venues as I have frequented, none will ever emulate the beautiful trips that I loved.

The point of all this is to recommend that you savor and cherish the events or tastes or companionship that you value as they occur. We will never be able to reverse the clock and relive those occurrences that are defined by time. And so, as we move ahead, we can create new memories with their own values to our existences. We can also treasure what we have already lived, smelling the smell of a particular burger or remembering the hat, gloves and purse that were part of shopping adventures with Mommy. Shalom.

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