May 312013
 

Several days ago, I was running to pick up lunch. In the car, I heard a very brief part of an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. The host was interviewing Greta Gerwig  who plays the title character of the film Frances Ha.  I believe Gerwig co-wrote the screenplay with director Noah Baumbach.

I only caught a small part of the interview, and am not really interested in the movie, but Gerwig made an interesting statement that’s stuck with me. She said:

“You don’t know when the last time of something happening is. You don’t know what the last great day you’ll spend with your best friend is. You’ll just know when you’ve never had that day again.”

This sentiment struck me, and I got a melancholy feeling thinking of times and people past. Many still a part of my life, but many cast to the distance of time, geography, or life’s natural momentum.

I started thinking of some of these great days. Some were shared with or created by people who are still very much a part of my life, and so I’m not ready to believe we’ve had our last great day.

These times include visits to the North Carolina mountains with my friend Glenda. We visit often one of the days before Thanksgiving. I remember one year we meeting on the Tuesday before the holiday, and basically having run of downtown Boone, and the little business district of Blowing Rock. It was a misty cool day.  While some might prefer a bright sunny day, I enjoyed the muffled sounds and soft outlines of the foggy mist. We laughed and joked, and just enjoyed the slow easy pace. There will be other trips and other great times.

I remember frequent Sunday afternoons here in Tampa at the home of our friends Jeff and Mike. Mike would cook dinner, and we’d play Shanghai. This even included a hurricane evacuation to Orlando from Tampa in 2004, right into the eventual path of Hurricane Charlie. We spent the afternoon playing cards. I’d get picked on the entire game for being slow in my decisions for my next move. We’re still friends with both,  but they parted ways, so we  no longer have those Sunday afternoons.

However, there are experiences which I have strong reason to suspect fit within this category of “last great days.” Continue reading »

Oct 092005
 

Autumn has officially arrived. As usual it’s a little hard to tell here in Tampa. However, we got a couple of overcast rainy days this past week. That made it a little cooler, and made me think of Fall.

I think autumn is my favorite time of year. Coming from the western part of North Carolina, and having gone to college at Appalachian State University in the northwest corner of the corner, I have seen some beautiful shows of fall colors. I have literally had my breath taken away while driving up the mountains to Boone and Blowing Rock returning to school, or looking off some of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As stunning as the colors are, I think its much of the other things about this time of year that appeal to me. My mom was the school system nurse for thirty plus years in my home town, and at one point in my life, I worked for a few years as a representative for a yearbook publishing company. So for many years, that “school schedule” was an important part of life. It is a time of settling in and getting back to routine.

My granddaddy was a cotton farmer, so the cotton would be coming in, and my mom and grandmother would be “putting up” corn, green beans, and vegetable soup. I remember a few early Saturday mornings going with Granddaddy to the cotton gin. I’d dig a hole in the cotton in the front corner of the trailer, and off we’d go with the big red Farmall tractor chugging along down the road. And that old cotton gin was an amazing place for me. I especially love the big vacuum tube that sucked the cotton out of the trailer.

Even now I feel like the business environment changes around this time of year. People sort of get serious again, and start paying more attention. Vacations are over, budget time starts, and you’re in the last quarter of the year.

The days start getting shorter and the mornings a bit cooler (even here in Florida sometimes). Back in my hometown you’d step out in the evenings and often catch the smell of burning leaves. People outside the city limits raked their leaves to the side of the road, and burned them. Football season goes into full swing. I was in the band, so each Friday night was a big deal during high school. And there’s nothing more beautiful than the big mountain covered with hardwoods rising above the end of the stadium at ASU draped in Fall colors.

Even when I was in college I was a resident assistant in a freshman dormitory, so not only was it a time for me to start back to school, it was the time to help thirty plus freshmen get off to a good start at college, and experience all the excitement of meeting new people.

So fall is a time that brings back lots of nice memories for me. Part is that agrarian attitude of brining in the crops and preparing for winter; part is that getting back to school with friends and routine; and a lot is the beauty that I know is so much a part of fall in North Carolina. I can see it in my mind, even here in Tampa.

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