Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Remember (the) Maine...

One of the rallying cries of the 1898 Spanish-American War was "Remember the Maine!"

It is one of my rallying cries as well, but for a different reason.

In the summer of 1993, I had a girlfriend named Becca who was working as a camp counselor in Maine.

One Saturday morning in synagogue, my brother Barak turns to me and says, "hey, what about jumping in the car tonight after the Sabbath ends, driving all night to Maine, spending the day with Becca and then driving back all night? You'll be back in time for work on Monday and it'll be a great memory/bonding trip for us."

I demured. I had 'obligations' on Sunday, like mowing clients' lawns, etc.

The next year, it was the first night of Rosh Hashana, a time for reflection in general, Barak says to me,

"Hey, remember that day I asked you to drive to Maine with me?"


"So, what did you do that day?"

It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Instead of choosing to make a lifelong memory, I had chosen to not make one.

Since then, when faced with a moment's opportunity that would be lasting and most likely never come again, I have said to myself, "Remember [the] Maine!" and it's allowed me to focus on what is important.

About 3 weeks ago, I received an invitation to the wedding of a friend I met in Japan. I knew he was engaged, but wasn't sure we would be invited. What's more, I hadn't received a "Save the Date" or anything like that.

Well, the invite came and while I was intrinsically motivated to go, I thought of the numerous practical considerations.

  1. time and cost associated with a mid-summer cross-country trip to Oakland
  2. leaving my wife to care for our kids while I went on a non-work essential trip
  3. the fact that I would be REALLY tired in doing a there and back in 24-48 hours

Usually, I get an invite and send it back the next day. I know immediately if I am in or out.

This time, I waffled. I even wrote a long note (which I didn't send) to my friend apologizing for not being able to make it. I put it in the outgoing mail pile. Then, something made me take it out.

I continued to mull. Very unusual.

I called another friend from Japan, named John [for those of you who have heard the term 'good value', he is the originator of that one]. We chatted. Well, he really listened and I thought out loud.

When, all was said and done, I knew what had to be done.

Thankfully, the money won't break me. Yes, I'll be tired, but you know what? I'm always tired :-)

I have an opportunity to create a lifelong memory. In 25 years, what will I remember and cherish more?

Ticket is booked. 48 hours to/from Oakland.

Remember the Maine!

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