Sometimes You Will Never Know The Value Of A Moment Until It Becomes A Memory

My Auntie Mary and Uncle Arthur were simple country folk; he worked in the same family furniture shop his entire life whilst giving up his spare time to be a special constable. They had married young but a stroke meant that my beloved aunt would never have the children she yearned for. Her generous heart overflowing with love was instead lavished on my sister and myself along with a constant stream of cats. Who else would always have the time to soothe away a cut knee or understand a child’s desire for the latest must-have toy.

As a youngster, I used to race the length of the lane past the old dairy and through the gate of their backyard where the welcoming fragrances of Dianthus, sweet peas, old English roses and creosote welcomed me after a school day. My Uncle’s runner beans were trained along a row of canes meticulously tied up in a row in military precision alongside rows of carrots and new potatoes. Fruit bushes also lined the wall and butterflies flitted amongst the flowers in his sunny cottage garden.

Their lavatory or “privvie” as my aunt referred to it, was situated outside next to the garden shed and there was no fitted kitchen with appliances such as washing machines and fridge freezers. All her cooking was done on a scrubbed pine table which rested against the old slab stone sink and the food was kept in an old scullery. Many a winter’s evening I would sneak out to the toilet hand in hand with my sister frightened that some unimaginable creature or possibly spider would launch itself at us in the twilight. For some reason food never tasted as good as when my Auntie Mary cooked although my favourite meal was Sunday high tea in their dining room, when my uncle, after sharpening the bread knife, ceremoniously sliced the freshly baked bread and the table would be laid out with homemade preserves, butter and cakes all in cut glass dishes. My uncle once confided in me that the secret to making the very best tea, along with good old-fashioned tea leaves was half a spoonful of sugar added to the warmed pot before letting it brew.

Of course, I didn’t know it at the time but these days were the stuff made of fairy tales and as a child I never truly appreciated the generosity of these kind folk but when I often think of them now I realise how very fortunate we were to have them. The smell of creosote and Dianthus will even now transport me back to those halcyon summer days full of picnics and Sunday teas. Sadly, they are long gone now but I hope they knew what a blessing they were to a young child.

Love the people God gave you, because he will need them back one day


38 thoughts on “Sometimes You Will Never Know The Value Of A Moment Until It Becomes A Memory

  1. What a sweet nostalgic little story – lucky you to have such fond memories. Love the look of the cottage, flowers and all – yours??? :):) Get well soon!


  2. A truly memorable post, Dallas! I have been thinking along the same lines these past weeks. As we move along our timeline, there is a recognition that we are tied to the past and future, even though we are rooted within the present. To me, the best way to honour those that have gone before us it to create remarkable memories for those who will live on after us. Memories that will build resilience.

    “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell


  3. What a great reminder to appreciate those we have while we have them. It’s often so easy to take moments for granted. I had an aunt and uncle like yours and can remember similar times with them. We were lucky indeed!


  4. Beautiful memories, you were so fortunate to have family living close. This was my fantasy, but I am the daughter of migrants and my father was estranged from his family; no grandparents, no aunties or uncles, I was so envious of my friends who would go and stay with their grandmothers for school holidays. It is something Ihave addressed with my children, they HAVE to have a relationship with their relatives (and no buts about it!) 🙂


  5. It’s not that we don’t appreciate them Tink…we do. The proof is the memories and the feelings evoked when they jump from our hearts to our minds. How could we say we didn’t appreciate when we are so easily filled with thoughts of happiness and love each time we are reminded? What we do, is take it for granted, in our young ignorance, that they will always be there. Perhaps THAT is what we don’t appreciate until it’s too late…how easy it was to be happy? I love that you have such memories and love more that you had such love in your life. You didn’t take it for granted…you’ve kept it safe always and it’s kept you there too…for knowing that life’s greatest gift can be found sitting around a rough hewn table, surrounded by the sounds and smells of love…shows just how much you DID, and do, appreciate them.


    • Rhonda you too have the soul of a poet and I think that’s evident in your pictures. Definitely one of the loveliest unexpected blessings of blogging has been to be able to recollect and record some of the truly amazing people who had a hand in making me who I am


      • I must agree Tink…one of the greatest blessings from this, the most unromantic venue possible, the internet, has reconnected me with some of the happiest memories and remarkable people of my life. Oh…and some pretty special new ones too!


      • I spent my formative years (age seven to 20) in North London. Mom had an operatic career in London’s West End and for a time we had lovely neighbours (adopted aunts and uncles) who would look out for me and my brother when mom was off rehearsing or performing. Sweet memories. Loved treacle sandwiches ~ of course with the crusts trimmed. 😉


  6. I also had an auntie Mary, actually a great-aunt. She was the kindest, sweetest woman and my sister and I absolutely adored her. We looked forward to our visits to her lovely house, which seemed very grand compared to our little colliery house. I remember those cream cones and doughnuts, which magically appeared at teatime. She would insist that they all get eaten before we left, “just in case it thunders, and the cream goes off.” Sadly, she died of cancer when we were still quite young, but she lives on in my heart, just as your aunt does in yours. 🙂


  7. What a beautiful tribute to your aunt and uncle. Before you said it I was thinking that this sounded like a fairy tale. Surely their garden was the type where one could set out a tea cake and catch a fairy.


  8. Pingback: Daily small acts of kindness | Palchoice

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