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Capturing images in the brain’s photo album


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There are some memories that are on prominent display in your brain like a favorite wallet photo that you can pull out at a moment’s notice.

Go ahead — shut your eyes and envision some of your favorite snapshot memories. Mine include:

Holding my babies seconds after they were birthed.

The relaxed smile of joy and contentment on my husband’s wind-blown face as he motors out to Red Lake to catch a mess of walleye for shore lunch.

Unrolling the noodles after Grandma Hommel (Florence) sliced them on the floured kitchen table — and eating every fifth noodle.

The intimate moment in the crowded hospital packed full of family when Grandpa Ralph passed away and my cousin Joe said, “It’s like our king died.”

This weekend my brain filed away a new page of brain photos for my memory album.

On Saturday, Daughter Chloe had a wedding shower. With my eyes closed, I can clearly see my cousin Angie Logsdon kick her head back in an infectious outburst of laughter. In my sister Debbie’s living room, a portrait of smiles and raucous guffawing fills my brain’s photo album.

Grandma Carmen Mangas and one of Chloe’s new Grandma-in-laws Terri Tillman sitting next to each other on Debbie’s brown leather couch engrossed in a warm, deep conversation. The heart-warming spontaneous laughter of my cousins Donna Muller, Brenda Johnson and Sandy Pendleton.

My mom seated next to my dad’s sister, Aunt Sandy Watson, as she shared how she sewed her own dress when she got married and also sewed daughter Brenda’s and her niece Donna’s wedding dresses — and altered Sandy Pendleton’s wedding dress.

Chloe and Michael were surrounded and encouraged by Aunt’s Leta, Debbie, Jerri, Amanda, Julie, Sharon and aunt-like friend Jaime.

I shall always picture how my young nieces helped carry the shower gifts to Chloe and Michael to open — and how 2-year-old triplet Reese gently yet determinedly pushed her 12- and 10-year-old cousins out of the way so she could help her sister Faith and guest of honor, Chloe, open gifts.

And then there was Sunday.

My 9-year-old niece and I were standing in water, up to my waist and almost to Raegan’s shoulders. It was one of those special moments when we were looking into each other, eye-to eye — aunt to niece — sinner to sinner. Raegan had asked me to baptize her. She was accepting a gift of forgiveness and grace from God, and I had the humbling honor to be a part of it.

Having aunts is a gift. Being an aunt is a gift.

Remembering is a great gift.

Janet Hommel Mangas, the third of seven children, grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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