Recently, my husband and I visited an aunt and uncle, who have moved into an adult community. Their one-level house is a great place for an aging couple both of whom are sufficiently infirm that they do not need a high maintenance place.
After I got the tour of their house, the aunt showed me their front--actually side--porch. There were two lounge chairs there, and rocking chairs. We love sitting out here, she said.
There is something about a rocking chair that invites one to sit and watch the world go by. And reminisce.
One of the benefits of growing older is the view--it's like being on a hilltop where you can look down the side you have climbed to get to the peak. And you can also see down the other side--the place you have not yet gone. Ahead of you are many unknowns, but the view is grand.
Since most of us prefer knowns to unknowns, the temptation is to keep looking back to see where we have been.
I catch myself saying--maybe just a bit too frequently--I remember... I try to caution myself not to do that too much in class with the students. Most of these young people were born in 1990 or 1991! What can they possibly want to hear about my memories, many of which pre-date the 1990s by several decades.
Today is a good example--November 22 is a date that has great meaning to someone who was a freshman in college in 1963. Those of us alive then can remember EXACTLY where we were when we got the news that President Kennedy had been shot. That news was followed soon after by the pronouncement that he had died. It is true that each generation has its momentous day--for my father's generation it was likely the bombing of Pearl Harbor; for others it might be when the space shuttle Challenger blew up on launching, for today's generation, it is likely September 11, 2001.
Ah, yes--the rocking chair feels good--sit there, rock, contemplate the view on both sides of the hill--the view from the journey up, and also the view of the journey down.
A brief note of this journey we are all on--last night, we watched the wonderful animated movie UP. It is a sheer delight of a story--with many sweet messages. But one message is certain--sometimes we hold on to memories for so long that they might keep us from grasping new experiences. If you haven't seen it, do. I think you will enjoy it. In fact, it would be a great movie to rent (or buy) and watch with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.
I remember... How about you?