Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Time Passages

By: L.A. Kohl
May 24, 2006
(published in the May 31, 2006 edition of "the Bullseye")

The rumbling outside could be heard off and on throughout the day today. But when the actual rain finally started sometime mid-afternoon; it had “inviting” written all over it. By the time it let up, all nine of us had managed to find an excuse to go out in it for varying amounts of time. Nate and I were a little more practical, and were only a bit soggy. The kids, however, from the eighteen year old down to the three year old, were drenched.

It suddenly took me back to the summer before fourth grade, to a small house on Lakeview Street in Centralia. I suppose my brother and I liked to play in the rain at other times in our lives – but for some reason I only remember actually doing it during that one year stint that we lived in Centralia.

Undoubtedly it was hot and stuffy in the house – no air conditioning – so whenever it would begin raining, we would begin begging to go out and play in it. Mom would peer out the door, to make sure it was just a gentle summer rain and not a major thunderstorm, and if she gave the go ahead, out the back door we would bolt.

Isn’t it strange how certain things and events can transport you through time like that – even if it was decades ago and even if it was a seemingly insignificant occurrence?

I remember standing at my Grandma and Grandpa Hall’s grave a few years ago, on Memorial Day weekend – and having all these little snippets of memories bombard my mind…purple irises and pink sweet peas, gathering eggs in a hen house, fishing on a pond bank with Grandpa, snapping beans and shelling peas with Grandma, enjoying her mulberry/rhubarb pie, and bread with milk gravy. Nothing significant and life changing, but all the little memories brought tears to my eyes all the same. Just the realization that all those things were now in the distant past, no longer to be experienced, made me feel melancholy.

I’ve been experiencing the same types of feelings and thoughts the past few days, as we celebrated our oldest daughter’s graduation from high school. I spent the last few months creating a life scrapbook for her – and if pictures don’t transport you through time, I don’t know what will. One that gets her father and me the most is her “pets” page. There, side by side, is a picture of a smiling little three year old trying to pick up a tiny new puppy; and next to it, a beautiful, young eighteen year old, smiling and kneeling beside our family’s current canine friend. I know several years occurred in between those two pictures, but in our mind’s eye they appear almost as simultaneous as they do on a scrapbook page. The little girl may be all grown up and ready to make a new life of her own, but our hearts still see her as that cute little girl that needs her mommy and daddy.

Life, and time, are funny things. One moment you’re young and full of ideas and ambitions – and the next minute you seem to have grown old, in experiences at least, if not in spirit.

Your children are now the ones with the ambitions, and you’re the ones just trying to keep up with them, doing what you can to help them reach those goals, and wondering where all those years went?

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