Friday, April 06, 2007

Sentimental Journey [CCR]

Yesterday was a sentimental day for me. I attempted to repair the window my little blue car. That car may not mean much to anyone else and it is certainly old, but it has carried me around for fifteen years now. I have other vehicles, but something makes me hang onto this car. I guess personal significance or maybe a bond. It isn’t fancy. I installed the radio and it doesn’t have any luxuries. Just the same, I’ll keep it around a little longer.

It is amazing how we develop bonds to our inanimate objects. Most people are bonded to their house. I have moved so many times that my television starts shivering when I come home and look at it funny, so houses aren’t a big problem. But it is human nature, beginning with our security blankets, to bond with people, pets, and some rather interesting objects. I think they call it sentimental value.

Maybe we can now understand why I enjoy going home to Alabama so much. I bonded with that little area of land along Moody Lane just above Malone Creek. That plot of land shared many of my good times and a few of the bad as well. It was home to great imaginary battles that included my assistant, Pupstar. Pupstar was my first dog. We enjoyed many escapades together.

As a child two cedar tries grew between our house and Granddaddy’s house. They too bonded with me. The trees were the halfway marker. The walk is short today, but it is long for a small child and landmarks were important. If I ever get the chance I am going to replace those two trees which got removed by a farmer renting the land from my uncle.

Some of those many bonds we celebrate as the years go by. As a teenager we couldn’t wait to graduate high school and discover the world. Now we wonder back on certain anniversaries to celebrate homecoming. For many it is a comfort zone, a place where we may have struggled through tests and homework but we also found friends for life.

Mom called the other day and said they tore down the old elementary school. I guess it was past time for the building. It had served its purpose for thousands of kids. But I don’t know if I want to ride by there and see the barren land. I still remember the swings on the playground where we found joy in our recess. The front lawn played host to many pretend war battles where I once dreamed of becoming a medic.

Many of our old school buildings haven given way to the future, but it doesn’t mean we need to forget. If you drive slowly past the old Barton school site you can still hear the children playing on the old playground. You can even hear the teacher’s whistle calling them back to the classroom.

No, I’m not suggesting we should not move along into the future. But we should not forget the past. The past made us who we are today, the good and the bad. We should honor what went before and hopefully learn something that will brighten our future.

I wasn’t able to fix the mechanism to roll down the window on my blue car. Some plastic gear seems to be worn. But the car runs well and it carries me to work every day. I just can’t seem to bear the thought of its retirement. For now it will continue to serve me well. Unfortunately, one day it too will become an honored memory of children falling to sleep at the hum of the engine or the daily trek to work faithfully trudging through the snow. Sentiment is a strong trait and I think one that actually makes us human. You can keep the past if you only look forward to tomorrow.