Saturday, September 30, 2006

Life's Reflections

We watched an interesting film last night, An Unfinished Life. Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lopez and that guy who played Capt. Nixon in the series, Band of Brothers, were the primary actors in the film.

Candace and I often think about loved ones departed. Parts of our thoughts surround guilt: Could we have been a better son or daughter? Why didn't we do this or that for our parents? Why didn't we ask more questions about the history of our family? Who is who in all of these pictures that have been left in endless cartons for us? And what do we do with all of these pictures? Most of all, what happens to us when we pass on to "the other side"?

We both feel that our parents are with us. Often I hear the words of my dad echoing in my ear when I approach a task or a problem. The words of wisdom from Candace's father Buz are also there when I think about the price of something. He would comment that there would be a day when gasoline would be $5 a gallon and hamburgers would cost ten dollars. Buz, we're nearly there. He had lots of advice on real estate on what to buy and what not to buy. Remember the saying, "Location, location, location"? Buz took that saying one step further when it came to buying in the right location, "Don't expect to find a peach in a lemon orchard." He would also apply the same words to his son in regards to who he was dating at the moment.

I didn't ever think that the thoughts of my parents would remain with me throughout my life. Years later they remain with me even today. Mom passed away in October 2000 ten days after the passing of Candace's mom. Dad left us in March 2002. Buz was the first and went at age 67 while climbing the steps of Little Harvey's Inn in South Lake Tahoe: Arteries already hardened constrict more at an altitude. It's been a while without our mom's and dad's.

I would hope that what we're going to leave with our children, apart from the tangible things in life that they'll receive, will stay with them. For example Candace's words, "First things first" when each of they try to take on too much. My words, "If you ride a bike at night, wear white." or, "You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd" are Dadisms. Even granddaughter Grace has learned about Papa. "You're so silly, Papa" she often says.

But if you know me you know well that strong opinions ride in the Watson family. I have something to say about most everything that I feel is important in this life. This will stay with the children.

This inner talk of mine today? It was brought on by things said at the end of the film An Unfinished Life. Mitch is played by Morgan Freeman, Einar is Robert Redford. What they said goes like this:

Mitch Bradley: Would you bury me next to Griffin?
Einar Gilkyson: Don't you think you oughtta die first?
Mitch Bradley: It's gonna happen, you know.
Einar Gilkyson: Where the hell else do you think I'd bury you? It's where my family lies. You think the dead really care about our lives?
Mitch Bradley: Yeah, I think they do. I think they forgive us our sins. I even think it's easy for them.
Einar Gilkyson: Griff said you had a dream about flying.
Mitch Bradley: Yeah. I got so high, Einar. I could see where the blue turns to black. From up there, you can see all there is. And it looked like there was a reason for everything.

I know that somewhere mom, dad, Buz and mother-in-law Dodie have forgiven or even ignored in life that we were not the perfect son or daughter. Their delight would be in that they're not forgotten nor will they ever be. The wealth they left us cannot be measured in dollars but in the wisdom imparted to the two of us that is the rudder which steers the ship of our day-to-day life.

As we enter into the autumn of our lives I can't help but measure my words to our children knowing one day these words will echo in their minds starting with ,"Dad said . . . . and he also said yes, there's a reason for everything."

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Whiskeytown Lake, Very Northern California, United States