“Making Music and Memories,” Dec. 11, 2018

Call me lucky. There I was, a sensible woman of a certain age in orthopedic shoes and elastic-waist pants, on a date, of all things, with not one, but two, gorgeous young men.

We had dinner at a restaurant, talking, laughing and listening to live music by a band that featured my favorite bass player, who is also, yes, my husband.

The food was good. The music was great. And the company at our table (me, my dates, plus my sister-in-law, Lynn, and her dear friend Mary) was divine.

We shared chicken strips, French fries, several desserts and a whole lot of laughs. But make no mistake: Those two young men were with me.

Randy is 8, the oldest of my youngest’s three children. Henry is 7, my daughter’s only child. When I invited them to be my dates for the evening, they said yes for three reasons: First, they’ve been raised right and know it’s not nice to say no to your nana. Second, they had nothing else to do. And third, they’re big fans of a bass player they call “Papa Mark” and were thrilled to get to hear him play.

Almost as thrilled as Papa Mark was to see them clapping for him like trained circus seals.

The band played a lot of classic “oldies but goodies” love songs. I didn’t expect the kids to know any of them. But Henry knew Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” And Randy knew John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” And we all danced in our seats to a song I’ve loved since I first heard it on my transistor radio in 1967: Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”

When the band took a break, the boys ran to the stage like groupies to give Papa Mark a hug. Then they volunteered to carry the band’s tip jar around to every table in the place.

It reminded me of a church service I once attended at which an offering plate was passed from pew to pew by children who were said to be in dire need of money to pay for snow cones at Vacation Bible School.

Needless to say, the tip jar (like that offering plate) filled fast, and the boys earned five bucks each for their efforts.

Randy plans to use his to buy Christmas gifts for his family. And Henry says he’ll add his to the money he is saving ($7 so far) to buy his first car.

What do you recall about your grandparents? I remember mine well. They had a lot of free time. And that is what they gave me, what I needed and wanted most, the priceless of gift of time.

I wonder what my grandkids will remember about me? Randy says he remembers when he was 2, I’d get in his playpen with him and we’d play a game I called “prison break.” And Henry says he recalls when he was 4, we climbed up in a tree together and watched birds and clouds and talked about life.

I don’t know if they really remember those things. Maybe I’ve told them the stories so many times they think they do. But what are stories for if not to give us secondhand memories of things we should know and people we shouldn’t forget?

I wonder what they’ll recall about our date night? How Papa Mark’s face lit up when he saw them? How they sat in my lap with their arms around my neck as we listened to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”? How we held hands, the three of us, walking back to the car? How I got us lost driving home and had to ask Siri for directions?

I don’t know if they’ll remember it. But I will.

We make memories by being with people we treasure, doing things that bring us joy. But we can’t give those memories to our children or grandchildren. We can only give them time.

We can hope that someday they’ll spend time with their grandkids telling stories about us and good times we shared.

Who knows? They might even write a song about us.

And maybe, if we’re lucky, it will be an “oldies but goodies” love song.



  1. Beautiful!!

  2. I have my first granddaughter. She’s 14 months old. I spend lots of time with her and hope to build the memories you speak about. Have a great Xmas and a happy new year.

  3. Playing music is just not the same without Mark! Great column… miss you both.

  4. Kate Sciacca says

    Well if that wasn’t the sweetest story! I didn’t know my grandparents – my mom’s folks died when she was still young and my dad’s parents lived on the east coast – only moving west in their 70’s and not healthy. Hoping my grands will have great memories of their granny and papa – and laugh years from now recalling granny’s Subaru sled as it rolled into their driveway, so loaded down with gifts that she could barely see out the windows 😀 We are so blessed, yes?

  5. This story touches my heart so much with my grandchildren. This will be something we do this Christmas, all grands age from 12-23 and see what is lodge in their memories.

  6. Carolyn Jones says

    My maternal grandmother helped raise me and my twin as my parent’s moved in with her when the got married as she was a widow and it’was the Depression! She is responsible for the women I have become as she was my mentor. I was closer to her than my mother as she went to work after our birth to help make money! I love my grandchildren also and am close to them, as well as my great grandchildren!

  7. Steve Snider says

    Fantastic story. I was so happy to see you there and the young lads were very impressive. Thank you❤️Steve

  8. This is as sweet as it gets. You have a beautiful family and a talented husband, our bass player, Mark Whittington. Oh yeah, the band’s name is “Fields of Eden” – watch for them. Totally worth the price of admission. And – thanks for the tip(s)! — Make a Memory Today.

  9. Nancy norton says

    Sharon this story in particular hit a heart cord for me. We have recently moved next door to my son and his family. I absolutely love spending time with my grandkids. My 10 year old loves to play anything from card games to nerf wars. That one is my favorite at this stage of his life. Just the fact that he wants to spend time with me warms my heart. We run around the house hiding from each other hoping we aren’t found and “shot”. He always hides in an easy place so i can find him cuz “i know you are old gramma”. I hope i am making memories cor him. I know i keep these times close to my heart and relive them often.

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