Thursday, February 2, 2012
Sitting in a Rocking Chair in a Moving Van on a Rainy Day
A few days ago my good wife Debra and I were helping our son Joshua and his fiancée Michelle load their possessions onto a rental truck so they could move them from Milledgeville, Georgia to Madison, Wisconsin.
We’ve not had a lot of rain in Georgia lately but naturally a downpour came up in the middle of our efforts. I was on the truck at the time so I lowered the rear door to keep the rain out and sat down in Michelle’s rocking chair where, as I listened to the rain pounding the truck, I rocked and reflected.
During those few minutes Joshua’s life flashed before my eyes.
I saw him being born from Debra via Caesarean section at Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday, February 21, 1984.
I saw him taking his bottle as I rocked him in another rocking chair in our den on Saunders Avenue in Louisville.
I saw him staring intently at the pages of the books we read to him practically from the day he was born. “A BIG dog party.” “Aren’t they beauties? Aren’t they fine? Wish that one of those cars was mine!” “I think I can; I think I can.” “Are YOU my mother?”
I saw him when he took his first step in that same house and went ahead and walked all the way across the room while he was at it.
I saw him wearing his Houston Astros batting helmet everywhere he went in Adel and surrounding areas.
I saw him hugging his mother and patting her back.
I saw him in his yellow Kindergarten graduation gown.
I saw him running around the backyard in Nashville with his beloved dog Fritz, whom he picked out at the Humane Society.
I saw him playing Little League baseball.
I saw him earning his black belt in karate.
I saw him making his theatrical debut in “Grease.”
I saw him playing his guitar.
I saw him falling in love with writing.
I saw him graduating from Cook High School.
I saw him winning writing awards at LaGrange College.
I saw him graduating from LaGrange, his long hair flowing and one of his professors telling him, “I’ll look forward to that first book.”
I saw him handing out PBRs during Happy Hour at the Soul Bar in Augusta.
I saw him writing music reviews of bands of which I'd never heard for the Metro Spirit in Augusta and letters with perspectives of which I'd never thought to the editor of the Augusta Chronicle.
I saw him accepting a full assistantship in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Georgia College & State University.
I saw him working with AmeriCorps in the Salida, Colorado area for a summer, camping and laboring for days at a time then cleaning and resting up at a hostel.
I saw him bringing Michelle home with him with that look on his face that said “This just may be the one.”
I saw him leading in the reading of selections from their works by him and his fellow MFA graduates.
I saw him receiving his MFA in Creative Writing with a major in Poetry.
I saw him having one poem published, then another, then another, then another…
I saw him buying an engagement ring for Michelle.
And now, I thought as the rain lessened, as my vision drew to a close, and as I lifted the truck door, I see him moving a thousand miles away in pursuit of his dreams—in pursuit of his life—in pursuit of who he is—in pursuit of who he will be.
What I have seen is a marvel and a mystery to me.
What I will see is, too…