Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

“You wander down the lane and far away, leaving me with a song that will not die…”

                                                                                                                            Nat King Cole

In one of those chance encounters that can happen so unexpectedly in a person’s life, I saw her, my childhood friend and companion of so many years ago. I spotted her immediately as she entered the hallway just a few feet in front of me. I don’t really know why, but I desperately wanted to rush up to her and announce my presence…but I couldn’t. I’m not sure if simple shyness or fear of a cold reception held me back, but whatever the reason, I found myself silently walking along behind her, fearful of approaching. For reasons unknown, she suddenly stopped and turned around and my fears and uncertainties instantly disappeared in a flash as she walked toward me, a smile blossoming across her face.

“Ricky, it’s so good to see you!” she gushed as she unabashedly threw her arms around me, “how have you been? It has been so long.” I despise the name Ricky, having worn it throughout my childhood, but somehow, coming from her it sounded sweet and natural and fitting. We continued to hug like the long-lost friends we were and it lasted for a moment and an eternity and felt amazingly nice. I found myself not wanting to let go but people were beginning to stare, so I reluctantly let go.

I felt the same closeness and affection toward her as I did when we were children. In fact, some of my earliest childhood memories were created with her as we spent many of our formative years together. We sat next to each other in church and also at school, we played together, sang together, discovered the world together and cried together. We  had developed a bond that I have rarely felt with anyone since.

Eventually though, the inevitable happened. At the end of our third grade school year she moved away. I was totally distraught and it seemed like my world was collapsing about me. I still recall the overwhelming sadness I felt the day she left. Life moved on and I moved on with it and even though the emptiness and grief waned, I never quite forgot her.

Thirty years have passed and as we sat and talked, I perceived and experienced the same bond I had felt as a child. It suddenly seemed like only yesterday we were hopping and bouncing on her pogo stick, or playing with stuffed animals or discovering new things and treasures within our yards or walking together to her grandfather’s store to share candy or a coke. I’m not sure whether she felt the same sensations or not, but I suspect she did by the smile on her face as we spoke. Eventually we parted, promising to keep in touch.

This evening as I pause from catching up on work, I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like if she had not moved away all those years ago. I know her life would probably radically different that it is now. She is a successful teacher and mother, happily married to a well respected physician. I am very grateful that I had the chance encounter to meet the grown-up version of my closest childhood companion and I am jubilant she has the wonderful life she has been blessed with. A person can never really know what extreme and considerable differences small changes could have made in our lives. However, as I sit here in the gloaming of the evening twilight, I still wonder though, what it would have been like if she had never moved away.

For Darlene

1996  written under the pseudonym, Richard Corey

Half The Man

Posted: November 9, 2018 in Life and Memories
Tags: , ,

“…I’m going to be like you Dad,

You know I’m going top be just like you”

Cat Stevens

He was born beneath a shimmering winter moon in the old south during the infancy of the roaring twenties. He entered the world as the fourth of five children to his loving, hard-working parents who scratched a living from the rural Middle Tennessee soil. They named him Hubert after a close family friend and for the first seven years of his life he learned the ways of the county as he ran, romped and climbed after finishing his daily chores at his home that his God-fearing father had built by his own hands as a wedding present to his doting wife. At the dawn of his eighth year Hubert’s parent made the decision to move the family to the larger town in the area, to give them a chance for a better education than that which was available to them in the small one-room school house in the community. The family moved to town three years before the crucible of strife and hunger created by the great depression descended upon everyone in America like crashing wave, changing almost everyone’s life, virtually overnight. Hubert’s father was a carpenter and home builder by trade and with several homes owned by him, as well as a garden and a few chickens, their family fared better than others as Hubert learned to hunt and forage to assist in providing sustenance for the family. While growing up in this difficult time he quickly learned to survive by using his wits and his fists and was largely self-educated after quitting school in the eighth grade, he grew up street smart, tough and mean.

When he turned nineteen at the beginning of 1941, his love for animals and nature caused him to turn to the only institution where he could be outdoors and ride horses and get paid for it…he enlisting for a year with the local Nation Guard post, subsequently becoming a member of the US Army National Guard Horse Calvary. Ten months into his tour while relaxing at home on a ten day furlough, he was listening to the family’s Silvertone radio on a chilly Sunday morning in December when the broadcast was interrupted by the announcement the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He was immediately inducted into the Army and for almost four years following additional training designed to hone his skills as a soldier, he lived in the heat, stink and slime of innumerable South Pacific Islands, dodging bullet, bayonets and bombs. One bomb got too close and he spent the rest of the war traveling from hospital to hospital, finally receiving his discharge papers on November 19, 1945 from Walter Reed Army hospital in Washington, DC.

He finally arrived home to Cookeville, Tennessee to an almost non-existent job market, a young wife and a coping disease called alcoholism. He drifted from job to menial job until the arrival of a beautiful daughter forced him to start fighting the bottle and looking for meaningful work and sobriety, turning his attention and concentration toward providing for his growing family. Not long after the birth of his third and final child, a boy, he opened his own business while struggling to seek ways to balance his time between work and family.

With the birth of his children he became he became a loving father who taught his children independence, responsibility., self worth, strength and kindness. The lessons of life he passed to his children was readily absorbed by the two girls as they grew to become successful and responsible adults and parent. The boy, on the other hand…maybe no so much.

I am the boy and this man is my father. I have watched, respected and attempted to emulate him all my life without too much success, though I still try as I attempt to apply the I moral and social values he taught me. More importantly though, I have learned to fight for myself, fish, hunt, hike, write my name in the snow, (I’ll give you a minute to think about the last one) and how to laugh from him.

He is the foremost of my heroes and I love him. Watching my children grow and develop makes me realize just how daunting the path of being a father really is to follow. I try to view them through his eyes as I attempt to draw upon the lessons that he taught me growing up. If I can learn to be half the man he is, I will be grateful and happy, and I will also consider myself lucky, for I still have a tortuously long way to go.

Written under the pseudonym Richard Corey 1998

Dedicated to my father, Hubert Bussell

Jan 27, 1921 – November 9, 2013