Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Gift of Time

More Straight Talk

I happened to have lunch the other day with some friends who I’ve known since moving fulltime 30 years ago. We chatted about a number of things. They are in their 50s now and have children that are now in college. I shook my head and laughed because I got to meet them in their early 20’s. I really can’t believe how fast time seems to go by. 

A wonderful friend of mine who has since passed would remind me quite often as to how fast the clock would spin as I got older myself. He was right, for it seems like a month now goes by like a week, if not faster. What we say we’ll do tomorrow, seems to stretch into a week if not longer. 

My younger brother passed from us in July of this year. He battled pancreatic cancer for about 5 months and suffered greatly during that time. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him or look for the daily messages he was so good about sending. Some of them would be simply a picture of us or another member of the family that would quickly bring back so many wonderful memories of growing up in our small village in New Hampshire. 

Although 7 years younger, he would act as the family historian. I don’t know where he came up with some of those photos, but they were always magnificent and occasionally I would gladly offer to send a couple of bucks to hide some of them until I was no longer here. My sister and I still laugh about it today and we’ll hopefully be able to recover some of them from our sister-in-law before they are accidentally discarded as she cleans out boxes of old memorabilia which he had acquired over the years. 

I guess my ramblings today are about time, and how precious it is. We unfortunately waste so much of it as we promise ourselves that “we’ll do it tomorrow.” The tomorrows in our lives unfortunately slip by too quickly and those precious opportunities are lost forever, sometimes to no fault of our own, but many times it is caused by our own poor planning and execution.  

My father had passed after just turning the young age of 45 in November of 1966 from cancer. Never did get to know him very well, you see I was only 17 years old, my senior year in high school. Boy, what I wouldn’t give today to have an hour’s chat with him. To learn more about my dad’s side of the family, what had made him happy in life. I can’t even tell you what his favorite ice cream was or listen to some stories about when he was 17 years old growing up in our hometown. 

Think about it. If you could spend an hour with anyone who is no longer here, who would that be? When I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral, I commented on how lucky my sister, brother and I were to get to know my mother as an adult. She shared so many wonderful stories with us as, not as a “mother,” but a special person in our lives before she passed at 66 years of age in 1989. When I spoke that day, I referred to it as one of the greatest gifts God could have bestowed upon us. 

Yes, time is that special commodity in our lives that is not replaceable. You can’t put a value to it until it is gone. So many of you have commented to me that you wished you had spent that currency more carefully in your own lives. I too can admit to that fault, wishing I had been more careful with it. 

Some of the most enjoyable times on Marco came in April 1987 and 1988, when I would bring my mother, as well as my brother and his daughter to the island for a week’s vacation. I have so many funny stories about those trips. Their love for Michelbob’s in Naples, which was Bill and Gina’s favorite or my mom’s favorite at Pelican Bend in Isle of Capri.  

How they would enjoy the rides on a rental boat and viewing the homes from the waterside of the canals while dolphin ran alongside of us, as well as those days of shelling on Keewaydin Island, one of my mom’s greatest passions. I regret not coming more often, for that time was squandered, as well as so many other wonderful memories that never occurred. 

I love the fact that many choose to stay so active on Marco, even if it means just taking an early morning walk on the beach or to take in the wonderful sunsets that are free for the enjoyment.  

Yes, time is that special gift that we many times overlook. Spend it with people that you love and care about. Do those things you have always promised yourself you wanted to do. Don’t forget to live your life, for it is a live performance and there are no dress rehearsals. 


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