Melissa Fitzwater, a volunteer for North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol, found a lost set of car keys, an expensive loss these days. Chloe Johnson/Staff

How and why we remember and forget certain things is a source of amusement and aggravation. If we're honest with ourselves, we all reach that crossroad, but are we self-aware enough to admit it. That moment of realization can create something as benign as a private chuckle or as agonizing as a full-blown meltdown.

It depends on what you lost. Or, what you're convinced somebody else must have moved.

We all lose track of our car keys. Is that why you're given two? Don't get me started on what it cost to replace a car key these days. That's something you never forget.

Reading glasses are another item you may have trouble locating. We baby boomers have figured that out easily enough. Instead of trying to remember where we left 'em, we just buy enough cheap pairs to leave in every room. It cuts down on the anxiety and accusations.

If many of you are now smiling and shaking your heads in agreement, welcome. For the rest of you, it's time to leave the cocoon of denial and join the rest of us over here.

Lost and found

I find it interesting to take stock of the things I do remember. As a longtime Charlestonian, I'll never forget Hurricane Hugo, the Sofa Super Store fire and the Emanuel shootings. Those are touchstone events that forever shaped living in the Lowcountry.

As a teenager, growing up in North Charleston, I have defining memories, but ones that are primarily sensory ingrained. The smell of fresh bread at the Claussen bakery. The taste of a pool room hot dog against the clack of breaking the next rack of balls. Hot fudge cake from Shoney's. A frosted mug of root beer from the A&W drive-in.

Even if you grew up elsewhere, I bet some of those recollections brings to mind a similar taste or smell you might not have thought about for years.

The smell of my mother-in-law's fried chicken, my mom's German chocolate cake and my dad's aftershave still linger in my memory bank.

How can we possibly remember all those various instances, but can't recall the last place we left our cellphone?

Moments and memories

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When talking to a retired guy who plays a lot of golf recently, I asked how he could possibly determine what day it was because his routine was so predictable day-to-day. He thought for a moment, then told me, "Well, the big paper was in the driveway, yesterday, so that must have been Sunday."

I suppose we all use some sort of stimuli that equates to something akin to the arrival of the "big paper." For some it's putting the trash can to the curb. For others, it could be a church service.

We all set our daily and weekly schedules around those predictable and regular occurrences.

For those of us who still punch the clock, those routines are predetermined. Even so, it requires that we pay attention to what's in front of us, while not losing sight or memory of what got us there.

Living in the past is unhealthy. Remembering the past, though, certainly helps us to appreciate those days.

On occasion, if you just take the time to reflect, those memories are so vivid you don't even need to find those glasses to see 'em.

Reach Warren at peperwarren@gmail.com

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