Taylor: Remembering to remember

We need anniversaries to remind ourselves that it’s important to keep remembering.

My wife and I marked two anniversaries this month. Early in the month, we celebrated our 53rd wedding anniversary; a week ago, we celebrated 20 years since we moved into our new house.

And I wonder why we consider remembering anniversaries so important.

It’s not as if I’m likely to forget that I’m married. After 53 years, I’ve spent far more of my life married than I did single. Being married is ingrained so deeply, now, that I can no longer imagine life in the loose lane.

Nor are either of us likely to forget moving into this house. We had to vacate our Toronto home before our new house in the Okanagan was ready. So we drove across Canada, with two terrified cats and a back seat full of house plants.

I came all the way west to Kelowna and roomed for a month with my friends Ralph and Bev Milton. Joan stayed with her mother in Creston, a day’s drive away.

The day our house was finally ready for us, Joan drove six hours through the mountains on a hot summer day, with the car windows closed to keep frantic cats from leaping out. The house plants travelled well. But both cats got carsick.

Nope, Joan is not likely to forget that day.

Nor am I likely to forget the day our son died.

Or the day we picked up our adopted granddaughter in Ethiopia. Or the day I fell off a wall and smashed my elbow.

I don’t need a note on a fridge calendar to carry a constant awareness of those events with me.

Why, in fact, do we celebrate anniversaries? Like birthdays—especially when we lie about them?

Why, in the Christian church, do we make special events out of Christmas and Easter and a host of lesser days? Ignoring them would not change history. Especially when at least one of those anniversaries—Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Probably didn’t happen when we celebrate it, and almost certainly didn’t happen exactly 2013 years ago.

The timing of Easter and Good Friday are more likely, but are based on a lunar calendar that we abandoned long ago. If accuracy mattered, we should probably link Easter permanently to the Jewish Passover.

And yet we go through those rituals, year after year. In churches, we hold special services. In our personal lives, we give cards and presents. Or go out for dinner. Or just spend a quiet evening together, wrapped in a prayer shawl of memories.

Remembering is not the problem, despite comedy routines built around stereotypes of forgetful husbands and disappointed wives.

I think there’s something more subtle going on. Anniversaries are not just about specific events. They’re about the importance of remembering in general.

Remembering defines us as humans. Our ability to remember, not just the last few days or the last few years, but all the growth and development through history that has made us who and what we are, makes us who and what we are.

So we need anniversaries to remind ourselves that it’s important to keep remembering.

Just Posted

Update: Power restored to 2,000 Lake Country homes

The cause of the outage is unknown

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Saturday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Peachland is open for business

Fires keeping away visitors, tourists

Visually impaired learn to fish in Kelowna

The Kelowna Yacht Club lends its boats in order for the annual Blind Fishing Derby

Kelowna firefights camp out under the stars for youth recovery house

The firefighters will be on the top of the Yacht Club until tomorrow night

VIDEO: Victoria woman recounts driving past wildfire near Peachland

Jenna Smith compared the fire to an apocalypse movie

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

RDOS: Evacuation order ammended, residents north of Summerland can return home

Properties in the Summerland region still on evacuation alert

RDOS fire update: emergency social services moved

Centre moved to Penticton Memorial Arena for Saturday and Sunday

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read