January 5, 2013

In The Rearview Window (A Guest Post by My Father)


Our grown children had just spent a glorious weekend with us, our first together in thirty years. It had been a great weekend being just the four of us again: Mom, Dad, and two kids. (Not their families.)

Driving home from the airport, after their departure, I realized how we had looked forward to their arrival. How carefully we had planned each day, each meal, each event; then with the wink of an eye, the days were all in our rearview mirror. The only things that remained were our memories, and the thoughts of love, caring, talking, finding out about their families and plans for their future.

Now, as I look back over my eighty-plus years, it is interesting for me to think how many things are focused in my mirror. In clear vision I see my boyhood, teen years, Army, marriage, career, births, deaths, and health of friends.

Would I have changed things? What would I have done differently? Could I have done a better job helping someone? Could I have used my time to a better advantage? I guess these questions are asked by each one of us. Everyone owns his or her mirror to gaze into with questions.

Can you remember those happy times with family or friends that bring a smile to your face even years later? The feeling of being loved by mom or dad when you felt so sad? That glorious feeling of getting an A on a final exam? We all bring them out from time to time to relish their sweet savor.

Then, there are the difficult times. I was a ten year old boy during WWII, and my father worked long hours in Chicago. There were one hundred cattle on feed, and no hired man, just me to grind the feed, feed all those cattle, and bed down the barn after returning from school. I remember my very cold hands and feet coming into the farmhouse after four hours of very difficult labor.

No complaints from me. Just a glimpse in my own rearview mirror. Memories are just snapshots of life that help us have a better future.

19 comments:

  1. A nice insight into not only your roots, but where possibly your reflective traits originated.

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  2. Dear Mr. Dad (that's what I call my handsome 84-year-old dad sometimes, just for fun), if we're lucky enough to have parents like you {I do!}, we do remember, and we're grateful for what you;ve taught us, and that we have you in the present, too.

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  3. I loved your Dad's thoughts. They touched me and caused me take a look in my rear view mirror. The little journey down memory lane was wonderful.

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  4. Papa, now that I am no longer a child (far removed from that, in fact) I find myself glancing in my rear view mirror more and more frequently. I think that's what I was doing with my post on Jean; looking in a mirror that reflected more than thirty years.

    I think you bring up an excellent point in your reflective post. What memories are we currently creating? Are we looking back with joy or regret? Certainly I feel a combination of both, but I want to be conscious of how I live so that my rearview mirror reflects good, not evil.

    As to the way that things come and go so quickly, have you any advice? That gets to be the most tender point of all.

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  5. So, you're the cowboy...

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  6. What a wonderful post! (And a lovely photo too.)

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  7. Your dad expresses his honest thoughts about his life and life.

    Life, a series of connections and misses, dark hours and bright sequences.

    I'm thinking of early life influences, the second glances...

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  8. Wonderful, reflective posts, about the past, present, and future, with a reminder for us (think about the impact we have on others, our actions and words).

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  9. What a beautiful heartfelt post. I'm very introspective and have always spent a lot of time reflecting. I always tell myself and others, I wouldn't change a thing about how I've spent my life, but often wonder how it different it might have been if I were an "extrovert" instead of an "introvert", as I've always hated large gatherings, formal business functions etc.

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  10. We all make the decisions we make at the time based on where we are at the time. And everyone wonders what alternative future could have brought.

    An inspiring post with much synergy with where I am myself as I move through my sixties

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  11. I like the idea of a reflective mirror looking back over the past. I think we can learn from those who lived through the hardship of WWII.

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  12. Wonderful, wonderful.

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  13. What a charming post! It is wonderful to look back and hone our good memories of the past. I find that the older I get, the better my memories are, beauuse I look at the ones that help me the most. Thank you so much for reminding me of the things in my mirror. I don't like to dwell on the sad memories, but as Virgil said, "Perhaps eomeday it will be a pleasure even to look back at these things."

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  14. Bellezza,

    You're blessed with a father who looks into the rear-view mirror and reflects, and afterwards, share with you what he feels. This is just lovely. Thank you so much for sharing this with us... let us have a glimpse of your wonderful father. A beautiful New Year's opener.

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  15. Simply beautiful. It's so obvious that your lovely daughter takes after you. Thank you for this wonderful post.

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  16. I loved this post! What a terrific way to start my morning by reading this wonderful post - thanks!

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  17. Beautiful post. I loved reading your dad's thoughts.

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  18. Thanks for inviting your dad to do a guest post, Bellezza! Liked his post very much. It is wonderful that all of you had a wonderful time during the holidays. I also loved what you said in the comments about things coming and going so quickly. I loved that picture too. Thanks for this wonderful post!

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