December 23, 2007
Where does the time go?
Originally published January 15, 2006
Thirty-one days from today, I'll be 54 years old. Just damn! Where does the time go?
I still remember being a kid in a coal mining camp in Harlan County, Kentucky, where I often sat on the floor and listened to my kinfolk tell stories about things they had done and places they had been during their lives. Those stories always fascinated me, for two reasons.
First, they were good stories, told by good storytellers. (If I have any storytelling talent, I come by it naturally. I was trained by experts.) My relatives taught me at an early age that the best stories are TRUE stories, enhanced just a little bit to make them more entertaining. I still abide by that philosophy today.
Second, as I listened raptly, I pictured a path through the wildflowers on the bottomland by the Cumberland River. Life was a walk down that path, where you picked wildflowers along the way. The farther you walked, the more flowers you picked--- and that bouquet was your collection of memories, the stuff that makes good stories.
I was six years old at the time and I hadn't walked very far down that path. I didn't have many flowers in MY bouquet and I envied the older folks for theirs.
Those were the days. Now, I'm older than most of my relatives were back then. I need a got-dam pickup truck to haul my bouquet today because I've gone AT LEAST halfway to the end of that path and I picked a LOT of flowers along the way--- when I wasn't falling in a mudhole or getting tangled in briars. I've also learned that the path is a lot steeper and more slippery than I ever thought it would be.
But I take heart from the fact that I'm still younger than these people. Bejus! Jimmy Buffett turns 60 this year. Old fart. But he's still walking that path and collecting memories wildflowers that never die and smell sweeter with each passing year.
So am I.
[Ed. Rob's original link was to CNN Netscape again which, as we all know by now, always goes to the current front page over there. Therefore, I've started trying to find articles about the same subject, but from different sources, to link to. This is about the second or third time I've done this and, since it works, I'mina keep doing it. Just wanted to make it known...]
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