Memories were better before everything was on YouTube

“Remember that time you fell out of the tree in the cow pasture?” Cousin Ollie gasped in merriment — his, not mine. “You looked like a walrus scaling a cactus.”

“I believe you refer to the time I saved the life of that poor, stranded kitty that you ignored.”

Ollie hooted. “Cuz, your old-man memory always improves the details in your favor.”

I grew up in a world before cellphone videos. But there are days when video evidence of our childhood adventures would come in handy. Age has eroded the memories of certain cousins of mine.

“Yeah, I’d like to see that video myself,” Ollie chortled. “That was hilarious.”

No, it was fearless.

As I vividly recall, we skirted the far side of the pasture, keeping watch for the bull, when I heard a mournful caterwaul. In a calm and reasonable voice, I inquired, “Do you happen to know the origin of that unpleasant noise?”

“Wow! You hurtled even higher that time than the day the snake slithered across your bare foot.”

“I did not jump,” I said. “Now let me off your shoulders and tell me what screamed.”

“You did.” He dumped me onto the ground. “The yowl was the cat in the tree.”

I peered into the foliage. A trembling cat clung to a branch halfway up the hickory.

“She’s stuck,” I said. “We need to save her.”

“Nah.” Ollie shook his brain-challenged head. “She chases birds up that tree every day. Then she complains for a while about missing them before jumping down.”

The cat looked frightened. Ollie might be heartless, but not me. “I’m going to go get her.”

I shimmied up the tree, a brave feat in itself. Hickory bark is rough. I peeled off about three layers of skin by the time I reached the branch where the cat perched. Had there been video, I’m sure it would prove that my climb was executed with grace, skill and resilience.

“That,” I reminded Ollie as I recounted the true story, “was when I helped the cat from the tree.”

“You wish.” My bothersome cousin collapsed in another paroxysm of unexplained guffaws. “The cat swiped her claws across your nose for interrupting her concert. Then she climbed down your back. It was when she swatted you on the backside that you fell out of the tree the first time.”

“I believe a video would prove that after I rescued the cat, I hopped down and decided to take your pet bull for a walk.”

Ollie whooped. “When Exterminator bounded across the pasture, snorting and frothing because of your shrieking, you shot back up the tree so fast that I thought you’d squirt right out the top. When the ol’ bull bumped the hickory, you lost your grip and dropped right onto his back. You must have rocketed around the pasture three times before Exterminator bucked you over the fence into the pricker patch.”

Just before he passed out from laughing too hard, my cousin howled, “Oh, how I wish cellphones had been invented back then. We’d show that video at every family picnic and holiday meal. What a ruckus.”

I grew up in primitive days before every action you took ended up on YouTube or livestream. Good. I prefer to savor events the way I remember them.

— Video Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.


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