Most of us, I think, have a song that has the power to launch them back through time, and evoke a specific moment or emotion.
“Cherish” is such a song for me.
For when I hear it, on the radio or even in my mind, I am suddenly nine years old again, sitting on a chair in the kitchen. It is early, early morning, well before my normal get-out-of-bed time and everything seems a bit fuzzy because I am not yet fully awake. I am sitting—perhaps have been told to sit?—off to the side, out of the way while my parents and two older brothers bustle around purposefully.
The house in whose kitchen I am sitting is a cozy one-and-a-half storey that has been home to me all my short life. But that is about to change.
Because we are about to move. Today, in fact.
And so I am sitting in the kitchen on this morning, which will be the last morning that I sit in this kitchen, as the clock-radio croons quietly from its spot on the kitchen counter: Cherish is the word I use to describe…
The music seems melancholy, and it matches my mood, because I am recounting in my mind all the things I cherish about this place where we live. All the things that I will miss once we have moved into town. I am thinking about the beloved cherry tree in the front yard where I have spent endless contemplative hours clambering around. Thinking about the cool, clear quarry across the road whose waters I will no longer dip into on a hot summer day. Thinking about my friends in the neighbourhood and at school, all of whom will be left behind.
Why do we have to move, anyway? is the question that I have been chewing on for the past several weeks, with no suitable answer. For to a nine-year-old tom-boy, there is nothing wrong with where we live, out in the country on the outskirts of town.
But stubbornly, inevitably, the day will unfold and the move will, indeed, happen. My parents and older brothers, with some fumbling help from me perhaps, will load up our worldly goods; some into the back of the light blue pick-up truck the neighbours have loaned us, and some into the seats and trunk of our nearly-new beige Pontiac Strato Chief. We will be off to town and our new house.
Eventually, it will all turn out all right. It will be better than all right, because I will be able to walk to the library instead of re-reading my brothers’ hand-me-down books; and I will be able to participate in sports at school and in town without having to rely on someone to drive me; and I will make new friends. And eventually, years later, I will be able to choose to move back to the country, to turn the wheel full circle.
But I do not know these things, and so I am sitting in the kitchen in the early, early morning, with my mood matching the melancholy music that washes over and around me. And the song Cherish has the power, and will always have the power, to carry me back to that very moment in time.