I think of the old song by The Association, “Cherish is the word I use to describe . . .”

The word brings to mind things romantic. “I cherish you,” meaning to treasure, to hold dear, and love, love, love. We can cherish our children, but I wouldn’t use the expression in reference to things –although I suppose someone else might. I wouldn’t cherish my sailboat, for example, though I do enjoy it, and may use the expression “I love it.”

Thoughts of the past are another matter, however, as evidenced by the expression “cherished memories.”

Some of my most cherished memories involve the times I shared with Shiloh when we were together, such as our first dinner, which turned into a six hour event. We met in the piano bar at Charley’s Crab, then moved to the dining room, where we lingered over our food as well as our conversation, inserting many pauses to reflect, understand, and connect with honesty and depth. Moments expanded, paused, and grew again as we fully immersed ourselves into being together, connecting through our eyes until we became singular, first in the crowded restaurant, and later alone in the dining room. Reluctantly, we acknowledged it was time take our leave. Several inches of snow had fallen during the evening, and we stood outside, observing the white cover on the parking lot, neither of us ready to end the evening. We traveled a short distance to an all night coney island, where we sat in a booth for a long while, sharing more ourselves, not wanting the moments to stop.

Another, quite different, cherished memory, takes place in the upstairs of an old farmhouse, with my son. He was about two years old and fussing about going to sleep. He wore my Indiana Jones hat–which he loved. I picked him up, turned on the music, and we danced to Frank Sinatra. He loved the motion of the dance; it always soothed and relaxed him. We both enjoyed Frank’s rich voice, singing “Sunny Side of the Street.” The reference to “snatch your hat” was not lost on the situation.

My memory holds so many other cherished memories. Lynette’s surprise kiss. Dancing with her in the rain around the parking lot after a meeting. The early days in a young architectural office, when everyone worked their hearts out for the “cool little purple firm.” So many fun, connecting lunches with Paula, in those days when I didn’t dare to dream out loud.

These treasured memories have a few things in common. They occur in times alive with promise, hope, and optimism for the future, a future where everything I wanted was right in front of me. In those cherished moments, I’m focused on the present, and it’s alive with emotion and feeling; unfettered with doubts and insecurities. Life is good and about to be better.

Many of my cherished memories are about the girls I lost–or never had–and situations that came to an end. The fact that those things were lost, I find in retrospect, makes the happy times I cherished at the time, more vivid now, and even happier.

Of course, whether it’s a person or a memory, I want to hold on to the things I cherish. People, naturally, I have no control over. Whether or not they are in my life, or how long they will stay, is not up to me. The memories are a different matter. I can hold them dear, reflect on them often, and allow them to lift me.

Life is fluid, moments flow, relationships recede and advance. Cherished moments are like snapshots in time when everything ‘clicks’ just right. Those memories belong to the person holding them, and no one can take them away. New memories can be made and added to our album. Of course, in order for our lives to flow, we have to get in the river.


Memories flood
A time of hope,
promise for life,
to have her
the curl of her lip,
her forward glance of
ends abruptly

We return to work

About Christian Belz

Christian Belz has been a practicing architect in Metro Detroit for 28 years, and is a member of Detroit Working Writers. He won the Grand Prize in Aquarius Press's 2011 Bright Harvest Prize for his short story "Chambers." His fiction has appeared in Writers' Journal, The Story Teller Magazine, and Wicked East Press's anthology: "Short Sips, Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection 2." He is currently seeking publication of his first two murder mysteries, featuring architect sleuth Ken Knoll.
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