I don’t know if it’s true that your life flashes before you right before you die, but I know that my life, my entire life, has certainly been on my mind lately. I surround myself with quiet several hours each day. In these hours, I think a lot and I pray, too. So many thoughts race through my mind, powered by the knowledge that death is invading my body and attempting to take over….
I remember being 7 or 8 years old and walking almost 2 miles home every day after school on a narrow and lonely road in Speegleville, Texas. When I got home, I would push a step stool next to the stove, open a can of Chef Boyardee and heat it up in a pot; this was my after-school snack. I don’t remember ever being lonely or sad during these times. I was always happy to be alone as a child. When I got a little older, I would scrape together a few coins and run to the new candy store that opened on that lonely road. It was the only business between my home and school. On my walk home, I would often stop in just to look at the colorful candy even if I had no money to buy anything. Other times, I would stop and look over the small bridge at the creek and see boys fishing for crawfish. I don’t remember talking to them, just watching them with great interest before continuing my journey home. I loved living in the country; so many things to get into and see for the first time as a child. I had an untamable imagination that made boredom an impossibility even in the dry, dirt and weed covered backyard that was my playground. My brother would create mazes in the pasture next to our house with the riding lawnmower and I would chase him as he slowly made twists and turns. When we played together, it always involved inventing things in the barn. He built a go-cart while I watched and handed him tools. One time we took a bike frame and put two different sized tires on it and tried to ride it around. Laughter was the result of many things we attempted to do together.
Some of my best memories are with my friends from church and high school: riding around in any one of our clunker cars with the radio at max volume and our singing, too. Laughing until it hurt, our faces red with tears. Dancing in the most hilariously unattractive way in the security of our close circle of friends, just acting goofy and enjoying life. While I have many happy memories of my childhood, I also have many sad ones, too. But, I dare not write about the sad times because happiness is what I need to get through my days now.
To the friends I’ve known since kindergarten, junior high and high school: It speaks volumes to your character and your capacity to love someone you’ve not been close to for many years; that you are standing so near me now in the echoes of our past friendship that once bound us so tightly together. Our mutual love for another was never lost, but simply pushed aside for the inevitable changes in life that everyone experiences. That love is now back in focus and I’m so thankful you never truly left me for I, too, never left you.