There is a country western song, something along the lines of how good it is to see Abileen in the singer’s rear view mirror. The sentiments of that song are obvious; he was glad to see it in his past and headed for a future that though unknown was appealing.
Yesterday, waiting for the funeral procession to arrive at the cemetery, my mind went back to childhood days spent playing in this cemetery, living just down the road at the bottom of the hill. Climbing over tombstones, picking cactus thorns out of our feet, enjoying the sun on our faces as we climbed and played among the dead filled endless summer days. My siblings and I had a lively time among those that had passed in the years past.
Seeing the different gravestones with names that were so familiar and that filled my youth with their presence, brought my life out of the rear view mirror and back into the present. Lives that now lay dormant in this cold environ, once were a huge presence in my life.
For instance, there just beside where I had parked my car was Bob Oxford. Bob married Rozanne, a friend of my best friend Danny Copeland’s Aunt Mary. Mary and Rozanne blew into town from Houston when I was living at the home at the bottom of the hill of the road to this cemetery. Now here lies Bob, a spot waiting for Rozanne. In the interim of my youth and when he was placed here, they raised a family that has gone on to raise their own families.
Mary and Rozanne were quite the stir in this small town; single gals looking for a new start, ready to shed the big city of Houston and possibly settle down with a husband and family. Mary was married but her husband was rarely around and did not arrive to stay for many years. Stories of picking tomato plants out in the middle of a crusted over tomato canning factory dump site, going door to door witnessing about their spiritual belief, Mary setting her nylon pajama top on fire leaning over the stove, and wrecking her car when she hit a deer. Picking Lamb’s Quarters (a common weed) to feed to their pigs, eating lunch along dusty roads on our many adventures–so many tales and memories, too numerous to put down in this blog post. The old car they arrived in was a 1940’ish black monstrosity that smelled of years of road trips and hauling the various treasures found in their travels along the back roads of Washington County.
There is nothing quite like revisiting a place from your youth, to blurred memories and past pains and hurts healed over. It must be necessary to leave your past behind for healing to happen; seeing it again with new eyes blurs the pain and allows the present to exist in peace.
Without that journey through life and experiencing what is planned out for you, pains from the past could very well destroy you and keep you from your appointed future. Of course, this is my experience, and can really only hold that merit. Returning to Arkansas and visiting old haunts has shown that this has held to be very true in my life. Nothing like your life in the rear view mirror, brought to the forefront later in life, to see just how far you have traveled.