As I fantasized about transforming the In-turd-er into GrandpaLyle’s Ark I dreamed of the life I missed when I was in my hurry-up years. You know: hurry-up and drive, hurry up and finish school, hurry-up and get a job, hurry-up and get married, hurry-up and buy a house, hurry-up and have kids, hurry-up and get them through school, hurry-up and retire, hurry-up and die.* I even took a ritual side trip: hurry-up and have a midlife crisis including boy toys and divorce. I was very good at hurry-up life.
Unfortunately I missed living.
Fortunately, God has given me a second chance. She blessed me with a body that appears to be holding together after many years and much abuse. She’s also blessed me with resources at least as bountiful as that which I had when I was twenty. Now it’s up to me to savor Her blessings and experience what I missed . . . hippie life.
There are a few differences:
My hair isn’t long – it’s gone. Although for a spell it was gone on top but long in the pony tail.
My Microbus isn’t painted with flowers – a beautiful sunrise adorns all four sides. It also has a memory foam mattress, air conditioning, a deluxe kitchen and a washer and dryer. But it offers the same freedom to go anywhere I want, anytime I want.
Living in an LSD haze has no place of my life today – vitamins are the thing. Along with occasional adult beverages or herbal pleasures. Good thing, too – my personality would likely have taken me on a very bad trip.
Viet Nam has been replaced with a never ending series of other wars – but the draft is gone and I’m too old to fight. A part of me regrets not serving in the military. Yet at the same time I believe war is abhorrent. Unfortunately as long as there are despots here and abroad who are willing to sacrifice young lives to satisfy their personal ambitions, I’m afraid it will continue. As for me, I still prefer to make love, not war.
What hasn’t changed is the freedom of the road. Over the coming years, I’m headed for every corner of the USA I can reach. Not so much the Disney Worlds and Old Faithfuls – I’m seeking organ pipe cactus and sunsets on the gulf. And night skies so clear I couldn’t possibly count the stars.
Like a turtle, my home is with me wherever I am. I can retrace the path of adventurers who followed their dreams along the Oregon Trail. Or spend days or weeks on the side of a quiet stream in Kentucky. Ours is a magnificent land and I intend to get to know it. All of it if I’m able.
My youth is long gone. But I hope my sense of wonder never lets go. Thank you, God for giving me this second childhood.
* “Hurry up and die” is an idea from Marie, my wife of 35 years – one that has often inspired me.