Dad’s back in town after a quick overnight business trip to Memphis, mom’s mom is gone back home to North Carolina, and we inmates once again reign supreme at the Casa del Whackos.
As we leave the hectic “holiday” season in our mirrors and face the long trek across the wasteland of winter doldrums towards the promised land of spring, I was reminded of a moment last summer.
Dad and I were crossing a long, hot, stretch of interstate, the lack of curves making it anathema to this motorcycle dog. The constant droning, the heat beating down and causing nerves to frazzle, the oblivious idiots hogging the left lane, all we could think about was putting this portion of the journey behind us.
What I wouldn’t give to be out there right now.
It’s amazing how arduous parts of any journey, when not lived for each moment they bring, are always regretted later? Consider housetraining; how we complain about poop patrol, chewed shoes, always in a hurry to get the puppy through adolescence to adulthood, where things will “calm down”. Then before you know it, the grey hairs start appearing around the muzzle and we are suddenly reminded of how fleeting life can be, even under the best of circumstances.
If these small annoyances are regretted later for not appreciating the joy they mask in the moment, how much more regrettable should a whole life be spent thusly at the end of days?
Dad has an old back pack, one of those cheap camouflage outfits you might pick up at the Wal Marks for 11.97 or some other random dollar amount. This is the bag that he takes on business trips; why doesn’t he get a nice little overnight bag with the neat little rollers and retractable handle, much better suited to striding purposefully like Don Draper through airports and into hotels, instead of looking like one of the Beverly Hillbillies on shore leave?
Well, since you asked, I’ll tell you why; it’s not just the back pack, it’s what it stands for. Long ago, Max chewed all the pull cords from the zipper pulls, some other goober-headed canine, probably Uki, gnawed the end of one of the straps, another a hole in the fabric of the back, and so on. Sure, dad was agitated when these damages where incurred, but now these blemishes aren’t just scars, but a connection to home and times gone by.
It’s not the clothes and toiletries that it carries, but the memories that it contains that really matters.
“Chark diem” is not just a pithy saying, but a way of life; appreciate every moment for what it is. There are no good or bad experiences, just varying degrees of good, and what may seem “bad” at the time may be the very thing that you look back on one day and remember with a pleasant nostalgic ache deep in your soul. Live in the moment with an eye to the future, as, for better or worse,
“This too shall pass”