“Good Life…”

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Time is on my side – yes it is…  Time is on my side – yes it is… Rolling Stones

 

It’s been a strange week. Since last Saturday when I first heard about the passing of my dear friend Art I haven’t been able to get him off my mind. I’m sure being here in the office where we worked together certainly doesn’t help, there are a lot of fond memories here. I have a couple of items on display in my office he passed on to me when he retired that are constant reminders. Yeah, lots of memories. I swear at times I can almost hear his hearty, genial laugh, rolling through the office, yeah, a lot of old ghosts.

Thinking about Art has awakened a torrent of memories from back in the day when I first met him. I was 16 then and ‘time’ as the Rolling Stones song proclaimed, was on my side! For me, ‘Time is on my Side’ was a sweet anthem of youth!  We were young, rebellious and bored, with all the time in the world! Recklessly looking for thrills wherever they could be found, with absolutely no fear of death! We were invincible, indestructible and thought we would live forever!

I remember that period well, I was having the time of my life! My world consisted of my friends, cars, girls, music and my guitar, not necessarily in that order. Nothing else really mattered. It was all about the laughs and the rush, and believe me there were plenty of both. My friends were a very important part of my life then, we shared a special bond and trusted and relied on one another. They came first, even before family. School was important only because it was another place we could hang out with friends. My days were fun filled, lotta lies and laughter as we sought to outdo one another. Nights were for cruising, music, drinking and girls! So many good times, but like anything else, eventually it wasn’t enough and we wanted more. But more meant bigger risks and more chances to get busted, however we were willing to take them, soon getting high was added to our least of fun things to do.

And that my friends was where I should have drawn the line, but being a follower and wanting badly to belong, I didn’t. Instead I joined the pot party but hey, it was the 60’s!  Unfortunately that decision proved to be my undoing. Eventually I was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing, with the wrong people, and the long arm of the law reached out and grabbed me! Believe me it was perhaps the lowest period in my life. On second thought, the second lowest.

It was this chain of events that caused me to cross paths with Art Mason. His guidance and reassurance helped me through a very rough period in my life. Over the next few years his ongoing friendship helped me through another horrible time in my life. It had to do with love and a painful break-up and believe me I was pretty broken up about it. I was eighteen and thought I was in love. God I hurt. Thankfully I could always rely on Art Mason. He was always there without fail, when I needed to talk about what I was feelings, he was a great listener.  Although he never told me exactly what I should or shouldn’t do, he was an awesome sounding board and gave me a lot to think about. Eventually I was able to work through it and moved on with my life. Thanks Art.

From that point on it seemed like time began to really blow by, like some gigantic cyclone, taking with it my youth and the years that followed. Just like that my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s were gone, swallowed up by the past. I read some where once that the passage of time was like being stuck in a revolving door, the harder we push the door, the faster it revolves and the faster time flies. I suppose that explains it about as good as anything else, I was caught up in that revolving door, a whirlwind of activity, events, places and faces, until suddenly I was deposited here where I am today, at 61 years of age a mere shadow of my former self, wondering where all the years have gone.

I no longer feel indestructible and know full well that my time is going to come. I can accept that. I used to sometimes wonder what would have been if I had not been busted as a teen. How different would my life be today? But now I don’t bother with such thoughts, time is much too valuable to be wasted on things like that. Besides, had I done things differently I may have never met Art or others like him who played a big part in who I am today. I might never have met my wife or had my three wonderful children. No, I believe things happen for a specific reason that’s why there are plenty of chances for changes, but no do-overs in life.  I’m quite happy with the way my life has turned out. I love the life I lead and those in my life. I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

In spite of it all, Perhaps because of it all,

It’s really been a good life,

It’s really been a good, full life…

 JS

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