My husband tells this story. It was a particularly brutal winter in Alaska, with a lot of snow accumulation. Wind had created high snow berms and covered the vegetation. It was the kind of winter that made things difficult for Anchorage’s moose. Unable to forage on the ground, they took to tearing limbs off trees and stripping their bark. One day, we woke to discover a young female moose bedded down in the garden outside our dining room window. She had been munching on the few remaining pea vines.
We love our urban moose. My husband opened the tall window to greet her. That’s when she noticed the bowl of apples on the dining room table. And she wanted some. That hulk of an animal moved toward us as if she was going to come in the window. The snow had piled up so high it would have been a cinch for her to step right inside.
My husband slammed the window shut, stopping the oncoming beast. But her interest was piqued, and she wasn’t going anywhere. That’s when my husband realized he needed to take action before the moose decided she was going to move in with us. So he went into his shop, grabbed the shop vac, made it into a blower, and literally “blew away” our visiting moose.
My husband loves this story. Only, it isn’t true. Well, there was a moose. And she did attempt a break-in. And she did get blown away. But the apples. There were no apples on that table. And I can prove it.
After hearing the story for the umpteenth time, I told my husband I was pretty sure there were no apples laid out temptingly on the table. In fact, I recall my husband feeding the moose apples—and even a chunk of cabbage—from our refrigerator.
This could have ended in a stalemate, with the two of us agreeing on the imperfection of memory. Except for the photo documentation. Because the one thing you always do when there’s a moose lurking around your house is take pictures. And there was no bowl of apples on that table in the pictures. And yet, even with documentary proof, my husband continues to tell the story his way.
Memory is a slippery thing. There are plenty of scientific studies showing that it depends on a number of factors, including time, observation, and personality. And in the interest of storytelling, a memory may naturally receive embellishment over time. If you can’t trust the accuracy of your memories, then, is it worth writing them down? Of course! After all, they’re your memories. In the end, it’s your story. And if someone wants to write their version, they can do just that.
I’ve decided to let go—and let my husband have his bowl of apples. And as for me, I’ll document my stories as I remember them. Don’t let imperfect memories stop you from telling your stories.
If you’d like help documenting your memories, get in touch!
Copyright 2018 Liz Behlke