Growing up, I always wondered what it would be like to live a “life of splendor”. To be like the “rich kids” and live in town, rather than out in the middle of farmland. I grew up in a lower to middle class family. My Dad was the bread winner, working hard at the family owned hardware store. Mom stayed home with us kids… she didn’t work until I was a freshman in high school, and then it was only part time in our school district. We didn’t have a lot, but we pretty much had everything we needed. We didn’t live in the laps of luxury, by any means, but there we had some special things. Dad owned a two-seat airplane that we would go flying in on the weekends. We’d fly to neighboring airports for a fly-in (usually fundraising) breakfast, shoot the breeze with the other pilots and their sons, and then fly back home. That was pretty cool.
The four of us would go for Sunday drives around the area, just enjoying the scenery and the conversation. We didn’t need an SUV. We didn’t need a DVD player to entertain us. There was no portable Nintendo or Game Boy. Dad would drive us around in the 1978 Impala and he tried to “lose” me by navigating through the more rural areas, making lots of lefts and rights and then he’d ask me to navigate us back home. I don’t think there was a time I couldn’t get us back home.
When I was in the fourth grade, we moved to a new house that had been built by my father. The house was situated on 10 acres of land, and my parents, not knowing what to do with the imaginative mess they had of a son, pretty much let me loose in the woods behind the house. I imagined those woods to be everything and anything – a city that made New York look like a two stoplight town (complete with street signs). An enchanted forest in a faraway land full of magical beings. Somehow I always imagined myself as a nose twitching warlock. Or Wonder Woman’s long lost brother fighting a group of bad guys that landed their flying saucer on the railroad tracks that ran through our property. What was a really a tree could be a skyscraper that became a school bus that turned into a pier that I jumped off of with my bionic legs. Gosh, I was weird.
Looking back on it today, I guess it wasn’t so bad. We didn’t have a lot, but we loved what we had. Anyways, those rich kids in town ended up maladjusted and their parents were just nasty.
So when I’m looking at that newest item up for bid on ebay or when I’m eyeballing a G5 PowerBook, maybe I should just slow down and appreciate and enjoy what Earl and I have. I guess life isn’t about what you could have, it’s about what you do have.