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by George Lester
George Lester
The thing that I remember most was standing in the living room and realizing I had no idea how I got there or where I had been for the past several hours. My mother was sitting on the couch studying me with a worried look on her face and I wondered why. For some reason I cannot fathom even today, I didn't want to ask anyone what had happened. I looked outside and saw it was dark. Somewhere in the mush inside my head I sensed that it was daylight when I lost everything. Try as I might, I could not for the life of me break through the fog that blocked out what had taken place earlier that day. I'm not sure how long I plodded around the house hoping that something would jog my memory and help me break through the brick wall that surrounded me. It was as if my life had just begun that moment in the living room and before that everything was complete oblivion. My parents and my brother spoke almost in whispers as one does when trying to keep from disturbing a sick person. Nothing they said gave me the slightest clue as to why I was in this quandary.

I was beginning to think the rest of my life was going to be like this when there was a knock on the door. It was the man who owned the farm next to ours. He exchanged small talk with the rest of the family before he noticed me standing and staring zombie like. It was obvious that something was wrong so he asked what had happened. The simple words spoken by my mother as she answered him was like a bolt of lightning. She told him I had been playing on a tree swing and when I leaned back to pump myself high into the air my head had struck ground. It was as if a door had opened into the recent past and everything came rushing through like a dam had burst. I started reliving those moments in my mind. There was that awful thump as the back of my head crashed into the hard dirt. I felt as if the life had been sucked out of my body and I was being taken somewhere else. It wasn't one of those pleasant "tunnel of light" experiences you read about. It hurt like crazy. My brother was shouting at me but he sounded as if he were far off in the distance. He was telling me to pour some cold water over my head so I walked to the back porch where the water bucket sat. I looked down into the water and then the next thing I knew I was standing in the living room. About four hours had been taken out of my life that I had no accounting for. I never passed out or even lay down to recover. I just walked around in a daze all that time.

I never connected the story related here to another strange occurrence until I started writing. It happened more than ten years later. I had been discharged from the Marines after World War Two and I was relaxing on the front porch of my parent's home in New Boston, Texas. I saw some young people I recognized walking by out on the street. I shouted a greeting and went out to join them as they strolled home. I remember walking along and chatting with my friends. The next thing I knew I was back sitting on the front porch and the people were nowhere in sight. Leaving them and walking back to the house was completely erased from my memory banks. I didn't have a watch so I had no idea how long I had been sitting there but I noticed the sun was considerably lower in the sky since I had last looked.

To the best of my knowledge this has not happened since. I hope whatever injuries my brain received that day so long ago have completely healed. If it happened again at my advanced age I'm sure it would be credited to senility.
George Lester
Spunky Flat and Beyond - A Memoir
- June 15, 2006 column
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