Human memory is still the best


Ted Escobar


The first time I heard about memory in this computer world, it made sense. Those machines have to go somewhere to get the answers you seek.

But no matter how good cyber world memory becomes, it cannot touch the human memory because, well, it can’t touch.

This came to mind after an exchange I had with a couple of men in an Allium field south of Outlook yesterday.

I was on the freeway to Sunnyside when I saw a tractor tilling that field. At the Outlook exit, I turned back along Gap Road.

Half-way up the lane that would take me to that tractor, there was a sign that read “Private driveway, use by permission.”

There was nobody there to ask. So I drove on a little more and found the tractor, driven by Efren Valencia of Sunnyside.

After I did, Efren started to tell me all he knows about the Allium. And he pointed out a building across the freeway where I could get further information.

I was about to jump back into the car when the man I would be looking for pulled up in his pickup. If he was the guy I was supposed to ask to use the driveway, he sure didn’t seem like it. I was expecting some type of rebuke, but he greeted me with a warm smile.

I introduced myself and told him what I was doing. He didn’t mind at all.

“Ted Escobar?, Ted Escobar?” he repeated several times.

I work for the newspaper in Sunnyside, I said. I am the editor.

“Yeah, I know that name for some other reason,” he said.

The man told me about the Allium and a couple other high-value flowers he raises across the freeway.

I thought these might be a crop of that place that has tulips, I said. Do they still do tulips?

“On Price Road?” he asked.

Yes, I said, and he informed me it is, sort of. He is taking over John Friends’ farm.

He showed me pictures of the field when the Alliums are ready to harvest, and he emailed a photo to my office.

It was then that Mike Roskamp introduced himself. I asked if he was Herman Roskamp’s grandson, and he said son.

Then Mike looked at me quizzically. He was wondering how I knew his father.

During my teen years an into my 20s, my father, also named Ted, and my brothers and I worked for Herman or with Herman for brief moments. That was back in the late 50s to early 70s.

We hauled and spread manure for your dad, I said.

“Trucks, that’s what I remember, trucks,” Mike said.

What an amazing memory. Mike is not yet 50, and I’ll be 73 soon. Those trucks, which he remembered, he saw when he wasn’t much more than a toddler. Those trucks were our pride and joy – still are, even though they became scrap iron. We had three of them, with the name T.M. Escobar on the doors. We were free enterprisers in the land of opportunity.

Hauling and spreading manure was dirty work, as you can imagine. Mom would make us clean up and take off our shoes before were entered the house. I believe she thought we couldn’t smell.

We could, but dad and my brothers and I reminded ourselves that cow manure had the aroma of money.

It was how we got through winters. There were no harvests in which to take part. But we could always haul and spread manure.

Every year about this time, maybe a little earlier, we went to Herman’s place to clean out his corrals.

He was a real gentleman. He never spoke a curse word around us and often talked about the Christian life.

I no longer remember Herman’s wife’s name, but she was as much a gentle woman as he was a gentle man.

It was a 10-minute visit, but when we parted, it seemed as if Mike and I were old friends.

Cyber-memory will never touch the way the human memory can.

— Ted Escobar is the managing editor of The Daily Sun. Email him at


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