Thursday, October 14, 2010

Age Is Beneficial When You Least Expect...

Something is going too fast around here. I suspect we all know what it is but just this week it nearly slammed me to the floor. You see, “time” is speeding all over the place. And to top it all off, it is just about time. But wait. I am getting ahead of myself.

Seems like just a couple of months ago I was fifteen. I remember going down to the Jefferson County courthouse to take my driver’s license test. I passed the written portion of the exam. Then a Beaumont police officer went riding with me in my 1939 Buick Special. That was one more long black car with a straight-eight engine. The hood was so long that on a foggy day, I would forget what the hood ornament looked like.

Perhaps that last sentence was enhanced somewhat but that’s how my mind works, or doesn’t work depending upon your point of view. Anyway, the only real concern I had was the parallel parking. The old Buick seemed to be almost as long as the parking space where I was required to park.

After some back and forth with the steering wheel along with several first and reverse gears, I parked that old aircraft carrier. The policeman opened his door and looked down at the curb. Then he looked toward the front tire and then the rear tire. He closed the door and said, “Guess if this was real life, I could take a taxi to the curb.” I thought he was trying to be cute but I didn’t laugh in case he was serious.

As I mentioned, seems like this and other memories happened just two months ago. But that was in 1950. Here it is 2010. This means that I received my driver’s license sixty years ago.

Again, it is just about time, but I will wait before getting into that.

When I was a lad growing up in Beaumont in the early forties, people would say, “You are a fine boy. You’ve got a great future ahead of you.”

Later, as a young teenager, people would say, “You are a fine teenaged man. You’ve got a great future ahead of you.”

Even later, as a college graduate and working in Beaumont, people would say, “You’re a fine young man. You’ve got a great future ahead of you.”

Then at middle age, people would say, “You’re a fine man. You’ve got a great future ahead of you.”

But now do you know what? People are not saying that anymore. I am wondering where my future went? Certainly it is not ahead of me. It must be behind me. These thoughts are circulating around in my head because on Thursday of this week, October 21, 2010, I will “celebrate” my 75th birthday.

Seventy-five years is three-quarters of a century. How could all that time transpire in two months? It is unreal. The New Testament contains an interesting concept in James 4:14, “…What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…”(NIV)

Again in the New Testament, Acts. 2:17, “…your young men will see visions; your old men will dream dreams.” (NIV). I take this slightly out of context but the principle remains. The younger generations will build on new ideas (visions). The older generation with no earthly future will have a lifetime of memories (dreams).

Since my future is behind me, I enjoy writing memory columns of growing up in southeast Texas. I dream dreams.

So on Thursday of this week when I turn seventy-five, I will know it is time? What do I mean?

I mean that it will be time for this old kid to grow up.

Winston Hamby


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