Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary. It was not very elaborate and certainly not exciting. We met with two of our grown grandsons, the only family currently in town, for a quiet dinner at a local steak house and talked mostly about them and their plans going forward. At my age, “quiet and not exciting” is just the way things are.
The upside of life as I approach 80 years of age is that I have a lot of time to “reflect”. To help me in this endeavor I have begun to read more and to look back at points in my life that have led me to where, and with whom, I am today.
Bare with me…….I’ll get there.
In mid-December of 1957 there was a high school basketball game between Palm Beach High and St. Ann’s. Both student bodies knew the others and there was little doubt as to who would win the competition so after the game many of the players and fans hung around in the little walled patio just outside the entrance to the old gym on Iris St. After showering I gravitated with the other Wildcats to the group and ended up striking up a conversation with a cute sophomore Crusader co-ed with world class dimples. Within a few days I had called her and we had our first date.
I had known Dee Conklin from seeing her at the Lido Beach over the summers but had it not been for that chance encounter…….
We’ve all heard phrases and references regarding “the road not taken”. They usually revolve around various regrets and another pair of words; “what if ?” But let’s accentuate the positive………had it not been for that one decision a 15 year old girl made to hang around after the game………
I take a lot of naps these days. I find that it’s easier to justify laying down in the middle of the day if I tell my wife that I’m just going upstairs to read. My current literary pursuit is the Classics I’ve never read. I’m midway through Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and I have stumbled on a passage that should be remembered and quoted even more than “It was the best of times, it was the worst……….”
Along the lines of important turning points in our lives and the importance of a single day and happening; Mr. Dickens reflects in the closing paragraph of Chapter 9…..
That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
I generally keep my eyes open for only a few minutes before dozing off and sometimes I’m even rewarded with a pleasant dream of years gone by. Maybe there’ll be a pair of dimples in the one this afternoon…..
newly weds (Atlanta – 1962)