Books Magazine

More Precious Than Gold

By Ashleylister @ashleylister

More precious than gold

This week we are looking at treasure, which, of course, means different things to different people. I have reached the conclusion that my memories are my greatest treasures, for they contain all the people and occasions that I hold dear in life.

I've always been rubbish at photos. At every photo-worthy occasion I can be relied upon to forget my camera. Even when I've remembered to take it with me, I can easily leave it in the car, on the coach or just forget that it's in my bag. With such a cavalier attitude to preserving noteworthy occasions for posterity, it is no surprise that my photo collection down the years is not a neat pile of albums, all thoughtfully populated with photos carefully annotated and in date order, so that some sense can be made of the decades they commemorate. No, it is an ungainly jumble of assorted packets and loose pictures, all rammed in a cupboard somewhere at my previous home and spilling out whenever the door is opened. This chaos is no doubt symptomatic of a disordered mind!

To me photographs are not the vital treasures that they are to many people. For some it feels almost like the occasion didn't happen if there is no photographic evidence to prove that it did. I think there's sometimes a tendency to use all one's energy in getting the perfect shot and, in so doing, enjoyment of the moment itself can be lost. My treasures rely on memories of happy times, rather than the photographs produced for them. In recent times, I can think of a couple of brilliant occasions, for which the memories mean more to me than the commemorative photos.

My graduation day last year was one of the happiest of my life. I have a professional set of photos of me and my family, posed and somehow static and lifeless, which is rammed in a cupboard etc. It in no way reflects my memories of that day, which are of me and my family, sitting for hours in the glorious sunshine outside the No. 5 café after the ceremony, chatting and downing unseemly numbers of bottles of Prosecco. All around us were my college friends with their families doing the same, all united in pride at our achievement and relief that it was all over, getting gently sozzled in the warmth of a July afternoon.

Another occasion was Blackpool FC's highly memorable promotion to the premier league. I have the programme to remind me, copies of all the press clippings of the event, the commemorative issues of newspapers, the match ticket stubs. None of them are necessary to enable me to conjure up at will the memories of a glorious sunny day, when the world turned tangerine; every service station on the long journey to Wembley thronged by singing, happy Blackpool supporters and neutrals wishing us well; milling around the ground in apprehensive anticipation and bumping into every Blackpool fan you've ever known; the breathtaking first sight of our end inside the ground, a sea of tangerine semi-hysteria; the noise and the heat of the remorseless sun; the match, the growing incredulity that we were going to win; the final whistle, the disbelief; the surprisingly muted atmosphere as we all trouped out of the stadium; the daunting realisation that we would actually have to play in the premier league!

Memories - more precious than gold, rammed in the cupboard of my mind. Hope they never spill out.

To finish, here are a couple of quotations about treasures that I enjoyed reading.

"Nothing in the tangible word that isn't living has any value beyond a dollar amount. Considering that dollars can only buy more tangible and inanimate objects, it would seem a far more worthwhile goal to instead learn to place value on the treasures of the mind. Memories, knowledge and skill together are the only things we will ever actually own."
Ashly Lorenzana

"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you."
Oscar Wilde

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