A memory often fills my mind. It’s followed by a feeling I wanted to name nostalgia, but that isn’t right. It’s not the nostalgia that comes with memories of Christmas mornings or first kisses. It’s more like being homesick.
The memory? My kids and I are in the parked car, the bi-weekly chaos of a packed house awaiting us inside. But at this minute, my kids and I are listening to “Art of Cake,” an essay written by Michael Chabon and read by actor David Furr on NPR’s Selected Shorts.
I did not know it at the time, but “Art of Cake” changed my life. “Art of Cake” is the reason I bought James Beard’s American Cookery. “Art of Cake” is the reason I started cooking. “Art of Cake” is the reason I still listen to Selected Shorts.
Yet, “Art of Cake” is not the reason this memory remains. If it were just about “Art of Cake” it would be happy, not homesick.
This was a simple moment with my kids. The setting sun still shining in the sky. The five of us sitting silently in the car, listening to “Art of Cake.” All of us enjoying the experience together.
It’s something that age and distance won’t let happen again. The age is out of my control, while the distance, for now, is my fault.
So, I guess it isn’t the memory that brings the homesick nostalgia. It’s the fact I won’t be able to make another memory like it again.