Waxing Nostalgic

My, my, my.  I don’t know what has prompted my recent musings, but I have been getting very nostalgic lately.  Numerous things have triggered long, lingering fond memories as I look backward at my life.

I was listening to a Fernando Ortega song, Dragonfly, the perhaps started the nostalgia ball rolling.  It is a song, as you may have guessed, about a dragonfly, and there’s a line that goes like this: “…between the skaters and fishing line…”, about how the dragonfly darts between the water bug skaters and the fishing lines that are in the water.  That brought to my mind a summer’s evening long, long ago when I was perhaps six or seven years old  My dad had finished his farm work for the day and he took me out to the Raccoon River not far from our farm and we baited our hooks with worms that we’d dug up on the farm and threw our lines in the water.  Our fishing poles were made of thin, flexible metal of some kind, and my father and I sat on the bank, side by side, waiting for a fish to bite.  Water bug skaters slide across the water in the protected areas and dragonflies were darting all over.  The sounds of turtle doves cooing filled the air as the sun began to sink in the west and the light turned beautiful and golden.  I don’t remember what, if anything, we talked about, but I remember sitting there with my dad that day as if it were this afternoon.  How I wish I could go fishing with my father again!  Years later, when we lived in Antioch, CA, he got a boat and we’d go out fishing on the delta throughout my high school years.  Later still, after I had my own family, I got a boat and would take my dad out fishing.  Oh, how I cherish those moments…and the moments when I would take my kids out fishing with me.

Van Morrison’s song, Brown Eyed Girl, prompted another memory when it came on the radio.  During the school year of 1966-1967 I was preparing for my freshman year in high school.  I was desperately, madly in love with a brown-eyed girl named Mari (short for Marilyn), and I’d been head-over heels about her for a while.  I last saw her about 2-3 years ago and she still has that same twinkle in her eye and smile that I so fondly remember.  I can vividly recall the butterflies of young love…for truly, I was as madly in love with her as a 15 year old boy could be.

Last night, I performed a wedding ceremony for a young lady who I have known since she was about four years old.  I couldn’t help but think back over those years and reflect about my own wedding.  When I asked the groom before the ceremony if he was nervous (I could tell he was!), he bravely admitted it and wondered if it was normal.  I assured him that it was.  I recall those butterflies….and it is good to know that the butterflies are still flying.

Then, today was a car show in Livermore and since my wife had been sick for the better part of a week, she was desperate to get out a bit without risking close contact where she might make someone else sick.  So, we piled into the car and drove over the hill to the car show.  There we saw a yellow ’67 Camaro, much like the one we had when my wife and I were going to school in Florida.  It is the subject of today’s photo, but ours had a black vinyl top with a black racing stripe down the side.  It had a 327 engine and it would flat out get up and go.  We loved that car, and seeing several ’67’s at the show brought it back as if it were just yesterday.

How can so many years have passed and I still recall the sights, smells, sounds, textures, tastes and emotions that happened 40-45 years ago as if they are happening to me all over again?  Perhaps it’s because human emotions never change.  We remember the moments that have defined our lives, and as far as my life is concerned, they are almost all good memories.  For that I am thankful.

Treasure your life’s moments.  Old ones, and new ones…for one day, they will be the moments and memories that you will cherish as long as you live!

_MG_6560ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1547, Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, was born near Madrid.

Cervantes led an adventurous life and achieved much popular success, but he nevertheless struggled financially throughout his life. Little is know about his childhood, except that he was a favorite student of Madrid humanist Juan Lopez, and that his father was an apothecary.

In 1569, Cervantes was living in Rome and working for a future cardinal. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Spanish fleet to fight against the Turks. At the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, he took three bullets and suffered permanent damage to his left hand. Later, he was stationed at Palermo and Naples. On the way home to Madrid in 1575, he and his brother Roderigo were captured by Barbary pirates and held captive in Algiers. Cervantes was ransomed after five years of captivity and returned to Madrid, where he began writing. Although his records indicate he wrote 20 to 30 plays, only two survive. In 1585, he published a romance. During this time, he married a woman 18 years younger than he was and had an illegitimate daughter, whom he raised in his household. He worked as a tax collector and as a requisitioner of supplies for the navy, but was jailed for irregularities in his accounting. Some historians believe he formulated the idea for Don Quixote while in jail.

In 1604, he received the license to publish Don Quixote. Although the book began as a satire of chivalric epics, it was far more complex than a simple satire. The book blended traditional genres to create a sad portrait of a penniless man striving to live by the ideals of the past. The book was a huge success and brought Cervantes literary respect and position, but did not generate much money. He wrote dramas and short stories until a phony sequel, penned by another writer, prompted him to write Don Quixote, Part II in 1615. He died the following year.  Some consider Don Quixote to be the greatest novel ever written.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The smallest of American owls, the elf owl, often nests in the Gila woodpecker’s cactus hole after the woodpecker leaves. The owl measures barely 6 inches tall. It specializes in catching scorpions, seizing each by the tail and nipping off its stinger. It then swallows the scorpion’s body, pincers and all.



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