I was driving out to the old bayou area of the “bootheel” of Missouri when I realized that my memories of the place were different than what I saw today. As we grow older and create memories by traveling, working, making new friends and with our families, those perceptions begin to change.

My dad took me out to this little lake that, according to legend, was created by an earthquake centuries ago.

He loved this landscape of Missouri and his enthusiasm made me love it, too. Back then, it was like an entire universe of its own that we explored at least twice a week. I knew every spot where wildlife lived, and we were professional snake wranglers, armed with two BB pistols and one pellet gun whenever we were there.

I don’t remember the toys we got, or the money that we didn’t have. I remember the scintillating and exciting details of our trips, maybe with a little embellishment of those memories regarding the size of those snakes, which were, by the way, much larger than anacondas.

My point is that I’ve made millions of dollars, and now I can’t get motivated to make lots of it again since losing it. I try to analyze my problem, but I soon realize that it isn’t a problem. When I had money, it was easy to buy those memories with my family when I should have been exploring the landscape of the spot that God had put us in at that moment.

Those memories are made in a child’s mind, and they remember the fantasy that a creative imagination builds in that moment of time.

Maybe instead of going to Walmart to buy a toy, let’s take our kids out to the levee at the river and fight the snakes, monsters and creatures of the surrounding forest.

Those are the unforgettable memories that they will cherish when they are 40 years old.

Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, motivational speaker and author. His latest book is “I Can and I Will.” For more information, visit his website at www.rickstanfield.com.