“To Everything There is a Season”
Contemplating the passing years.
I will get back to “how to” and informative postings soon enough. Today, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, our Blue Ridge Parkway vacation was extended by a day so we could attend the funeral of a dear friend. Tomorrow we will be “back at it”, with several appointments, mediations, hearings, trials, and new challenges facing us before this year is out. So, this evening we spent some time in contemplative thought.
What a blessing to have a staff, a wife, and a house/pet sitter who allow me to step back for a week and simply enjoy our wonderful life.
Below are some pivot points in my life. It’s not like we don’t have beauty and tranquility around us. We are blessed in that regard, but we do have quite a busy life, without the time simply to contemplate.
Our Pond and Our Deer
1. The Sunday before we left, the congregation had an emotional laying of hands on our courageous pastor whose husband faces a grim medical prognosis. Prayers for her and her husband.
2. We had a serendipitous trip, North to South, 450 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with the only downside being we couldn’t include a visit with our only daughter Laura.
Above and below are views from the Va. Section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
3. A nice coincidence permitted us to visit each of our sons and daughters in law and grandchildren, two of whom played soccer on adjoining fields, 30 minutes apart.
4. We had a two day visit with those same grandchildren and their parents, where we actually found time for some serious conversation. We are immensely proud of our mature and capable children, who are meeting their own responsibilities with great resolve.
5. We were reminded that we cannot take good health and good fortune for granted; and that our grandchildren will face the challenges that we and their parents faced, but in a world of accelerating change.
6. Lots of good food, at the Inn at Peaks of Otter, The Switzerland Inn, The Village Inn at Blowing Rock, and the Balsam Mountain Inn.
Above and below are Nancy at The Peaks of Otter in Va.
And the Balsam Mountain Inn in Balsam, N.C., circa. 1907
7. The host of the Inn at Balsam has somehow reprieved the past while supplying the comfort and sumptuous food that modern travelers expect. Comments in the room’s guestbook brought tears to our eyes; here are two, one from a woman travelling with her husband on their 60th anniversary and another a loving husband writing of their 49th anniversary vacation. Note his last comment,
“P.S. my vacation didn’t hurt at all. I just stood up and took it like a man.”
Above, celebrating 49 years together, and below 60.
8. We had the remarkable experience of finishing our “Teaching Company” college audio course on The Black Plague. This epidemic, which began in 1348, was spread by black rats from the Middle East to most of Europe. It killed 50% of the population, 75,000,000 people, and profoundly changed the world. The feudal system, nobles, clergy, and serfdom gave way to changes in the economy, politics, opportunity, and the emergence of the modern world and scientific thought. That’s a gross over-simplification, but it’s a story everyone should hear.
9. We listened to another dozen hours of “No Ordinary Time”, the Doris Kerns Goodwin biography of FDR’s and Eleanor Roosevelt’s service to their country on the home front in WW II. One of the best books we ever read. 26 hours in, and 13 remaining. They made some mistakes, but their efforts, in collaboration with Winston Churchill and Stalin’s Russia, literally saved the civilized world.
10. On our first night at home, we found a Netflix streaming movie, “Our Souls at Night“, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, who find one another while in their late 70’s and deal with deep scars and pain from “complicated” pasts. The movie was also poignant for me because “Hanoi Jane” is a serious, talented, actor, a person who has grown and learned some things in her journey of life. Redford, The Sundance Kid, likewise is a ‘Lion in Winter”.
11. We received messages while we were on the road, and learned of the funeral of the 97 year old widow of my former law partner. It has been nearly 40 years since he called me and invited me to watch his practice while he went in for heart surgery. At the funeral, we had a reunion with a dear friend whose husband, also a great friend and former law partner, is struggling with his own health issues.
12. a.Today I heard from a high school friend, who I was sweet on, who has fought back from a second round of cancer, now in remission. Cancer is “The Emperor of Maladies”, and we should pray for the skills and brilliance of the researchers and providers who are combatting it.
12.b I supplement Para. B, because her call prompted me to call our old Sunday School Teacher Bill. He was sad as he had decided he could not make the drive with is two adult children to the wedding of his Granddaughter. He lost his dear wife of may years, Cathy, and was pretty down. I got him to tell me some of his new “jokes”, which he always has ready. Yesterday he called to say that in spite of myriad ills, he met with his doctor and got clearance for the 10 hour drive. He is a this moment perhaps climbing into that car in spite of serious symptoms of congestive heart failure. Go Bill! And prayers.
13. All in all, the decades marched by for us this week, reminding us that another ten years of busy employment will be more than most people get, and a healthy life after that will be great good luck and a wonderful accomplishment.
14. And, since I didn’t want to end on para. # 13, here are a few more shots from a memorable time. Memories only as we are now “back at it”.
below, the dining area.
The Aquarium in the Pat Boyles’ Funeral Home, Jane Lew, WV
This post was written by Burton Hunter