Moments  By Lonna Enox

I had a favorite poster in my classroom for a number of years. It read, “We don’t remember days, we

remember moments.” I was young then, in my 20s, and I found that statement profound. But now, while

grieving for two special people who died recently, I find myself looking more to the moments that I wish

to treasure, and not always finding them as handy as they once were. Sometimes they are elusive, and I

grasp them in an effort to keep parts of myself from changing. Other times they cuddle around me, and

give me courage and strength.

My dad was a “moment”. In the short months since his death, mental photographs are buried in

my memory. I hear his shouts of laughter—especially when he had pulled a joke on someone. Slapping

his leg, he’d sometimes dance about. Dad particularly enjoyed drinking cups of strong coffee in a

favorite restaurant, where he knew everyone by name. “Don’t let on you’re my daughter,” he’d say

as we entered the restaurant. “I have to keep up my lady-killer reputation.” His eyes blazed when he

spoke about politics or people he considered hypocrites.

I remember his husky voice and misty eyes when we stood by Grandpa’s bed just after he died.

“Poor old fella,” he said, as he patted his Daddy’s head. I hear my dad’s silence when the doctor announced

that he had lung cancer, and that, with radiation therapy, he could expect a couple of years of life. I feel the

strength of his arms as hecarried me when I was a little girl. He visits me in a variety of images: young and

invincible, middle aged and careworn, older and philosophical, ill and looking to the next “pasture”.

My brother, Russ, recently gave me a photo of Dad in his Explorer. When I look at it, I see myself

riding with Dad, and later driving him, through the pastures at the ranch. Dad collected comfort from the

cattle. He knew all of his cows by sight, personality, and sometimes by name. Unfailingly, he commented

on their beauty.

It is here that Dad’s “moment” blends with his father’s “moment”, for my grandpa also told me all of my

life, “There’s nothing more beautiful than a Texas sunset…or a Hereford calf.” Grandpa always noticed

the beauty around him, a gift he passed on to my Dad. In West Texas, beauty sometimes has to be

“hunted”, and finding it often requires great love, like my Dad and Grandpa had.

My memory of the “moments” with Grandpa is mostly related to the ranch, which he had loved since

moving there at 12 to homestead it with his mother. Grandpa always collected me to feed the bottles to the

orphaned lambs, grinning with me as we watched the lambs tails wiggling so fast. His image blurs in the

sounds, smells, and sights of branding calves. Grandpa gave the vaccination shots in the later years—and

sometimes he not only vaccinated the calves, but whoever else got in his way.

Grandpa especially enjoyed watching little ones. I hear the wonder in his voice as he spoke his thoughts

aloud when my oldest daughter toddled past him one Christmas morning. “She’ll be a woman someday.”

And he chuckled. Now, I know he meant that he would never see her as the beautiful woman, but that she

was part of his legacy and he was proud.

I see his glasses sliding down on his nose, and his big grin as he looked over them and recounted his

favorite story. “Old Santa Anna took a nap,” he’d say, chuckling, “and lost the state of Texas!” I can

remember riding with Grandpa, on the way to spend a weekend with him and Grandma, and wondering

why all of the other cars could go so much faster than ours did. Most clearly, I hear the last words he spoke

to me as I entered the nursing home. “Hope you brought a paper,” he grumbled. “I have to keep up on

what’s happening in the world!”

“Moments” embed themselves into our memories and our lives, and are the legacy we carry into the future.

As my father and grandfather’s namesake, I suppose I am already carrying part of them into the future.

Parts of them are also evident in my stature. Certainly, I reflect both of them in my fascination with the

beauty of outdoor things. When I share these gifts with my own children and grandchildren, my father’s

and grandfather’s memories are woven into the tapestry of their lives as well. We may spend thousands of

hours with a person, but the “moments” are the fragments which collect in our hearts.