There are so few people that I know today who actually knew my son Jacob. Some people ask about him and I’m happy to tell them Jake stories, but what I really long for is to hear stories about him. Especially stories that I’d never heard before. I wish I could have a mulligan, you know like in golf, a do over. You go back to where you were, without penalty and try again. I sure would do things differently.
There are only three teachers left at Jake’s old Junior High that remember him. Soon there will be no one. When they present the annual Jacob Kiepura Memorial Award it will almost certainly have lost some of it’s significance.
Today I drove through the little town where I grew up. It was so different. The fields where I played and built forts are gone. The chicken coups and out houses are things of the past. The baseball diamond in “Gill Ville” is now occupied by houses instead of young boys dreaming of the Big Leagues. The Village Store, where we exchanged the pop bottles scavenged out of road side ditches has long been closed. Many of the homes along Interstate 80, including mine, have been torn down as a result of toll road expansion.
As I drove through and observed the changed image of my childhood town, I was reminded of the people who lived there. I remembered the crabby old men who scared us as kids and the sweet old ladies who always made us feel like we were part of some big extended family. I almost reluctantly became conscious of the fact that most of those people are now dead and gone. This was my grandfather’s town, my mother’s town, my town. Today most people living there probably have no idea of what took place on that hallowed ground. It no longer seems so special.
It seems that you can only hold onto memories for so long. At some point, whether you like it or not, the page gets turned. The only thing constant in our lives is God, the same yesterday and today—and forever.
Sometimes I forget that.