What is it that sometimes

What is it that sometimes provokes us to remember things from yesteryear? I remembered an incident the other day which occured when I was around six or seven. I was on holiday with my family in Norfolk. We were staying at a cottage that belonged to a neighbour in Swaffham. On this particular day, we had gone to the market in the town (we led adventurous lives) and I was fascinated by the huge array of wares on display. I’m still fascinated by markets now, and could quite happily spend hours wandering around somewhere like La Boqueria (and have done so).
I stood before a particularly large stall which was weighed down with every variety of nut, bolt, screw, nail and other fixing you could imagine (where are stalls like that now? all you get these days is old tat). I was utterly transfixed by this. As I stood there, I reached out and took my father’s hand, and stared at all the boxes of steel, iron and brass.
I must have been like this, mesmerized, for three or four minutes, not letting go of Dad’s hand. I noticed someone close by was laughing, and turned to see that the hand I was holding wasn’t Dad’s, but was that of a older man, a total stranger, who was smiling at me. His wife was standing next to him saying something along the lines of “How sweet!”.
Panic. I looked round and couldn’t see my family, so started running in the general direction of the cottage where we were staying. And then I heard my Mother’s voice calling my name and ran towards them. I was in tears by this point and blathered some gibberish about “you weren’t there, and there was this man, and .. and..”
Mum produced a nectarine from a bag (I’ve always loved stonefruit) and I was soon appeased. I was angry they had walked off without me (they insisted they had called after me).
Looking back on it, wasn’t it good that you could let a child out of your site in a crowded place, and be pretty sure that no harm would come to him/her. Of course, plenty of children did have a terrible fate befall them in that sort of circumstance, but it probably didn’t cross my parents’ minds that such a thing could happen to me. Today, most people I know who are parents would be terrified to think that their child was somewhere like that and alone. That’s a sad reflection on life today – not so much that these horrible things happen (I’m sure they are not a new thing, merely better reported), but that we fear them so much.