This weekend I walked around my hometown because I was staying at my mother’s house. I needed to get my steps in, and I did not want to go to the park because it had rained a lot the day before and that would mean a lot of mud. Since I took my dog with me it would be extra messy, so onto the streets we went.
Sunday morning on the Fourth of July I ran into some friends. I ran into my dear friend Ed and his wife and another friend Kathy that was out walking her dog as well. It is such a wonderful thing when you get to pleasantly run into friends and have a quick chat. These chats lasted a total of 10 minutes of my one-and-a-half-hour walk. So, what did I do for most of this walk?
This was yesterday and for the most part, as I walked through the different areas, I recalled many memories of my youth. One, I recalled in grade school when my buddy Robert and I went to some older kid’s house, and they were smoking marijuana. That was the first time I had ever smelled it or even known of its existence.
Second, I recalled the drinking homemade red wine at another friend’s house and how delicious it was. I have not stopped drinking red wine since.
Finally, I was walking by one house that from the street view has not changed much since my childhood. A young man living there came out of his garage to load something in the trunk of his car. He looked at me and said, “good morning.” It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him how I recall playing spin the bottle in that house when I was 13 years old. Instead, I gave the glib standard response.
The following day on the fifth of July, I went for a walk again. This time I walked through other neighborhoods. I walked by the house where I lost my virginity, do not worry, I will not be revealing it.
Then I began to see homes of my childhood friends and classmates. I saw a home of a fellow parishioner at our local Catholic Church. It looked like there may be another family there, but I had not heard anything about them, so I called my brother who lives in town to find out. I learned that the father of the household was recently hospitalized, and the wife was still in the home. It was, most likely the grandchildren I had seen playing in the backyard. I had a sense of relief.
However, then I began to ponder it and the sense of stability of life that we all long for is truly just a form of hope. I accept change, but something’s we do not want to lose. What has most value I realize is family. I am not speaking about only the immediate family or blood relations. I am referring to the real family of all the people that make up our lives. These are truly our brothers and sisters and if all were able to accept this at a younger age, I believe this world would be filled with more love.
I was raised with that belief in my parish and church. My faith and love for all the men and women of good will that have entered my life is deep and strong. Though we move down different paths their presence in my heart will never be lost. This may be why I was feeling sad about all the changes and the lack of permanence that is our life on earth.
I was finishing my walk, the dog was tired, and it was hot as Hades. My heart turned blue. I want to be able to stop things from moving so fast, but I have no control over it. The only thing I can hold on to is the hope that I have loved all the people in my life with true love, concern and compassion and that they remember me after I also have moved on to the heavens. As the old saying goes “Time and tide wait for no man.”