Brulog

Words of occasional wisdom from Bruce Oakley

Catching up

Posted by boakley59 on July 15, 2008

Time wounds all heels, it is said. Lately, I have been feeling the press of Father Time’s boot on my backside, prodding me not to coast as it becomes clear I no longer cruise with my accustomed ease.

The hurt is not so much in my own fading pace, but in the number of fellow travelers Father Time has kicked into the slow lane with me.

I got a call several weeks ago from a former supervisor I had last talked to in the late ’80s, when our sons were toddlers after we had already gone our separate ways. I had been one of the young lions in the raw but talented department she led at the height of a newspaper war. Little remains but flawed memories of a not quite real Golden Age.

She called to thank me for condolences I wrote her a few years ago when her husband died. She said I was the only one of the group from that Golden Age to track her down. She has been beset by health problems and out of work for years; her son is now away at college, though it seems she sometimes moves with him, coping as best she can. I rose to a national fellowship and leadership of a newspaper department of my own as my first marriage fell apart. But I stumbled on and Suzy helped me pick up the pieces before I fell into illness that has enfeebled me. I guess I have been the lucky one; my son has grown up and moved away, too, but Suzy is always at hand and I have had help from more friends than I knew I had. Still, our sure path to success has long been obscured in the mists of time.

I crossed paths with another of the young stars of that group during the trip to my sister’s wedding. She, too, is now out of work with health problems. She thought I sounded as confident and secure as ever as I talked about plans to make do consulting or tutoring or offering computer expertise to whatever clientele may come. But there is no such confidence, only a floundering desire to put the lessons and skills I have learned to some use, if only to strengthen some new young lion somewhere. I am left with the roar; the teeth and claws are gone. She hears the roar and sees me unbowed, but I feel aimless in the jungle that I know and love.

Still, I offered to these two old friends what encouragement and comfort I could, and we put a new shine on our memories of days gone by. With the footsteps of Father Time ringing in our ears, we still are drawn by the echoes of carefree feet dancing in the sun of a golden yesterday.

When we are caught up in our dance, Father Time cannot cut in.

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One Response to “Catching up”

  1. Sarah said

    …there is no such confidence, only a floundering desire to put the lessons and skills I have learned to some use, if only to strengthen some new young lion somewhere. I am left with the roar; the teeth and claws are gone.

    This could not be better said. Thanks for the “young star” bit. 🙂

    Bruce sez: You earned it — creative, sensitive, smart, skilled. That’s a star in anybody’s firmament.

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