Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why Does Time Have to Fly By?

I am addled. Just before I went on a super nostalgic trip back to my home territory I was reminded again of our vulnerability. I encountered a small bowel obstruction. I have not been that sick since I stopped drinking. The weekend before my expected trek to the North was tough. I felt like hell, I encountered abdominal cramps, gas pains became sharp and made me wonder if I was going to have another obstruction episode. I could not go to the bathroom. A few days went by and I became more and more nervous and strongly entertained the thought of staying in Arkansas.

I had talked with my sister up north and she suggested I drive to my daughter's home in Valparaiso, IN and then we could follow one another up north from there. At least I would have someone along the way to help me should I encounter trouble. The problem was the first jump was 500 miles with no family members should I need help.

I wasn't really worried about needing help, I can drive myself to an emergency room. It was the thought of the hassle that made me hesitant. Sunday came, no bowel action, passing gas means no blockage, so there was no blockage but nothing else. Sunday night, bloated feeling, but no action. Monday morning, a little action, not much. So I asked my wife's opinion.

Now this woman is worried about me traveling such a distance alone. She is very uncomfortable making this trek and we decided some time ago that I would go alone. It would've been very easy for her to advise that I stay home, that I was still on shaky ground. Instead she told me that if the worst possible scene played out I'd end up in some strange hospital, but I'd be OK. If I made it to my daughter's, Kristi is an RN and works in a Med/Surg ward so she would be more than capable to handle the situation. However, her advice was, if I did not go, with so much activity planned I would hate my self for the missed opportunity.

She left for work at 8:00 AM Monday morning, kissed me good bye, said have a good trip, and I packed my car and left for Valparaiso about 10:00 AM. I arrived in Valparaiso about 6:30 PM and started my grand adventure.

Now, I'm back home. Two weeks have passed, I saw tons of people, ate great dinners, snacks and all manner of things including two old fashioned S'Mores over a camp fire on a northern Michigan inland lake. I saw incredible sunsets over Lake Superior, wonderful vistas of the Straits of Mackinac Bridge, the vast Cherry orchards of the Traverse City area laden with ripe cherries. I saw old friends, walked on the high school football field I first played on 51 years ago. Saw neighbors I haven't seen in over 50 years. I saw a family that for a year was intertwined with my family as though they were part of our clan. Their mother was diagnosed with TB and my mother cared for their kids when the father went to work. I sat on the lawn of the city's Bayshore Park over looking the grandeur of Lake Superior listening to a local group play songs that had your toes tapping and your heart singing. I wondered why couldn't it always be thus.

However I was ready to come home. My wife, the animals, my stuff, and the property Terry and I have invested our time in call strongly to my heart. Now it seems I was gone hours. Days sped by, events occurred, I tried to slow them down. I took pictures so I can sit back and recall the scenes, the people, the events. But it all happened so fast. In two more days I'll have been back in Arkansas a week. I am glad to be home, but saddened by how fast time went.

I will not see some of those people ever again. We all looked pretty much the same, just older. I may never see those kids that I shared a year with some 46 years ago. I had not seen them until this summer and their mother now resides in Green Bay, so our paths may never cross again. I will see my childhood friend again, you can bank on that. I should see my sister and her husband again, but while I was there my brother-in-law had a heart procedure that while successful tends to mark the passage of time. My sister's breathing is getting more labored as each year passes and her asthma takes its toll. My cousins are aging. One is in her late 60's and lives in California, will our paths cross again? That is the devilment of growing old. The memories are strong and precious, they define me. Yet the years are closing in and I feel vulnerable with the past surgery and this damnable blockage. I try real hard to keep my mind on the here and now and take each day on its own merits. I still lament the passage of time and the writing of the late stages of my chapters. Right now it is bittersweet. I kid my daughter about 13 more visits and my granddaughter will graduate from high school. I wish we were closer in distance.

However time passes the reality is we've made our lives as best we could. We've loved and wished and realized things that are wonderful and meaningful. I just wish time didn't have to fly by so fast.

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