Go ahead and ask me what I’ll remember most from 2022. I’m pretty sure I know what it’ll be.
This year’s memory-making competition could be fierce, for sure:
- History will record Russia’s unprompted, immoral, savage war on Ukraine in bold letters.
- Folks are like elephants when they recall inflation, especially when the price of gas hits record levels.
- How will we ever forget the riveting testimony of political corruption and treason delivered by the January 6 Committee hearings?
- Decades from now, our hearts still will break when we hear “Buffalo” and “Uvalde.”
- Even the densest among us will concede climate change demonstrated its devastation and ferocity throughout the nation in ’22.
- “Omicron” will remind us COVID-19 still flexed its menacing muscles more than two years after it appeared.
- We’re likely to remember 2022 as the year Roe v. Wade fell and the Supreme Court turned the definition of “religious liberty” upside down.
- Folks who pay attention to church history surely will mark this as the year the Southern Baptist Convention belatedly owned up to its sexual abuse crisis.
- And who knows what will happen during the remaining half of this year?
But I know I’ll remember most vividly Ezra’s and Marvo’s big Boston adventure.
A year or so ago, Joanna and I decided we want to take each of our five grandchildren on an individual trip in that sweet spot between elementary and middle school — when they’re old enough to trek far from their mom and dad for a few days and but not so old they no longer think spending time with Jody and Marvo sounds like great fun.
Ezra, our oldest grandchild, turned 11 last winter, and we decided this would be a great time to inaugurate the journey. His mama, Lindsay, suggested taking him to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. The boy does love his hoops, so that’s where we decided to go.
That meant a trip to Boston. And since a surgeon replaced Joanna’s right knee in March and this would be a major walking trip, Ezra got one-on-one, not two-on-one, attention.
We flew from Austin to Boston in time to catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. We sat in seats installed the month before my father was born. We ate hot dogs and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Sweet Caroline.” We cheered a ninth-inning rally that fell oh-so-short.
The next morning, we walked back to Fenway for a tour of America’s oldest ballpark, which is how we know those seats date to 1933. We visited the Green Monster and heard all about “the curse of the Bambino.” Later that day, we walked most of the Freedom Trail, ate our weight in pizza and cannelloni and took the subway out to Harvard. That night, we watched another Red Sox game from our hotel room, which was about the size of a nice closet.
The next day, we drove out to the Hall of Fame. We examined artifacts from some of our basketball heroes and watched videos about the love of the game. The part I’ll remember best is how Ezra spent most of the day shooting baskets on the beautiful court, which dominates the main floor. The kid has a nice shot, and I’ll never forget the smile on his face when he beat a middle-aged couple in H-O-R-S-E. It was worth the whole trip.
Our last full day, we visited the New England Aquarium, right by Boston harbor, not far from the site of the famous Tea Party. We took a trolley ride all over downtown. Then we stopped off at the Boston Garden for Celtics souvenirs and took a long walk along the Charles River. As a perfect ending to that day, we watched the first game of the NBA finals from our teeny hotel room.
After that, we spent the better part of two days — instead of four hours — getting home. Busted airline schedules provided a weary memory we’ll share with multitudes of folks who travel in 2022.
Despite so many significant events of this year, I’m sure I’ll remember this trip to Boston with Ezra — a boy I love more than life itself — far more clearly than anything else. As Ezra and I rode subways and escalators, viewed fantastic sites, ate way too much fried food, watched ballgames and laughed (OK, he groaned) at my jokes, I recalled summer days with my maternal grandfather, Popo. We never took a long plane trip, but our time together — just us — remains one of my greatest treasures. I hope and pray Ezra will remember June 2022 with similar fondness.
Of course, those other memories from this year are important. Should I/do I care deeply about war, the economy, politics, climate change, COVID, human suffering and politics? Without a doubt. It’s my duty as a citizen to respond to those issues and more. It’s my responsibility as a person of faith do my best to make this world safe and just and kind.
But amidst all this, I’m grateful God gave us families — children and grandchildren — who infuse life with joy and meaning and laughter. Transcendent moments with them are as sweet as that 11-year-old boy and as memorable as our big Boston adventure.
Marv Knox, the retired founder of Fellowship Southwest, was a journalist almost 40 years. In baseball, he roots for the Durham Bulls, and in basketball, he cheers for Ezra’s Veritas Defenders.
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