Stop me if I’ve told you this one before…… Is time speeding up? It appears to me that days are racing by now at an incredible pace. Weeks blur into months, months spin by like fence post on the open road. Birthdays, that used to take forever, are wearing lines in my face at an alarming rate. I think it has something to do with the holes we’ve shot into the ozone. Or maybe it’s global warming. Or voice activated i-pads. Something has us in a time warp.
It’s December already! I didn’t know what to get my wife last year for Christmas…..and it’s time to do it again?
Things didn’t move at this pace growing up down at the end of Stonewall Street. I spent a week one afternoon waiting for Leon to get home with the baseball. We blew up the bedroom mixing all those chemicals that came with the Gilbert Chemistry set into one giant blob because we had too much time on our hands. We weren’t laying on our backs and trying to “make out” the different shapes of passing clouds because we wanted to. We had no other alternative!
And there were certain days back in our formative years that almost didn’t get here at all! The last day of school comes quickly to mind. It was usually in late May. We started looking forward to it officially on January 4th. That was the first day back to school after Christmas vacation and since there was no such thing then as “spring break”, teacher in-service days or time off for good behavior, we set our eyes on that magical day in May.
But oh boy, the math, English, spelling words and Blue Bird reading classes we had to endure to get there! Time stopped all together for two months when I was in the third grade. You would have heard about it but CNN hadn’t been invented yet. We prayed for May to come. We held séances. Ricky Hale threw a frog over his left shoulder. We studied the Julian and Lunar Calendars to see if either one had a motor on it.
It was all to no avail. I flunked algebra three times my sophomore year before May arrived.
Christmas was as equally slow in arriving. It came to Memphis weeks before it got to us! We spent so much time waiting and wishing we could smell the rubber off of that Schwinn Deluxe Hornet bicycle just by looking at a picture of it in the Sears Roebuck Catalogue. Fights would break out weeks before Christmas among my brothers over who got to open their present first. We went to bed early every night in hopes those visions of sugar plums could speed thing up a mite. Nothing helped! Do you have any idea how long I waited for that Red Ryder BB gun? Anticipation can be such a beautiful thing……unless Santa is lost over Omaha!
And oh, how I looked forward to my birthday. Mom would make a cake. Friends would come to my party bearing gifts. I was the center of attention. Problem was, the more you tried to hurry it, the more it stayed just out of your grasp. I wanted so to be six and start school (my parents had lied to me and told me it would be fun). Then I soooo longed to be eight and sign-up for Little League. Bobby Jack Cantrell promised me I could pitch and bat fourth “as soon as you’re twelve”.
Sixteen took the longest “to get here” by far. I could drive before then, but my folks had the dangdest rules. They didn’t understand that I had places to go. Friends to pick up! Girls to take out! I wanted to comb my hair back, hang my elbow out the window and cruise Frank’s Dairy Bar. Mom urged patience, “It will be here soon, son”. Dad allowed as how I might not go as far as I “talked” if I didn’t get busy and earn a little gas money.
I literally counted down the days.
Suffice it to say I don’t have to “count the days” on anything any more. I just turn around and the event I was waiting on is a distant memory. It went by like a runaway freight train! It was only yesterday I remember thinking if my first born could simply tell me where he hurt instead of crying, I could do this parent thing. That little boy turned thirty-seven last week.
July the Fourth came and went before I could get my flag up. My Thanksgiving turkey hasn’t digested and I’m totin’ holly into the house. And, back to what got us going today, I’ve got to find a Christmas gift for Cathy whether I’m ready or not! And I’d better hurry, it will be Valentine’s before I can get to the store and back.
Isn’t life a hoot! Especially when you figure most of us have been living it backwards!
Why couldn’t time have moved like this when we were studying on those boring cloud shapes? School would have been over in a week! Think of the roller skates, mopeds, fishing rods, shotguns and English Leather I could have enjoyed if Christmas had come along as often back then as it does now. I long today for that leisurely pace of my youth. Things go by so fast I have a constant knot in my neck.
A few years of maturity “back then” might have helped my wistful waiting……. and I could sure use a little more boy in me now that the world has moved to warp speed.