Yesterday, yeah yesterday I ran up in Newport, Maine.
The place where I grew up and it is something that I attempt to do once or twice a year, since I consider it where I am from and in many ways it is still what I consider to be my home.
It is a nostalgic run that brings back childhood memories (good and bad) that is good for the soul.
Dad and I went out for lunch at Irving’s, he had his usual hot turkey sandwich and I had a bacon and cheese omelet. Of course we had desert, his was a humongous strawberry shortcake and I had a slab of lemon meringue pie.
We walked out quite stuffed.
He is doing okay, considering he has to have oxygen 24/7 and was told last week that there is nothing they can do for his leaky valves – he would not survive an operation. This is the part that will be the hardest for everyone I think, especially him, because there is not a lot that can be done going forward and there is only a certain amount of time for him, with the other damage to his heart that he does have. However, he is attempting to be upbeat and we talked a lot about “things”.
So after I dropped him off at his trailer, I definitely needed to run.
However, that damned lemon meringue pie was sitting heavy in my gut as I started from the Hannaford parking lot towards the lake. Running by the lake always brings back a flood of memories for me, especially when I get down to the old swim front. I spent a lot of my summers there for many years and did a lot of growing up at the town beach.
Once I left there I went by a lot of old houses that were homes of people I grew up with and the old paths we used to take as short cuts. The homes have been modernized or bulldozed and there is nothing but an empty lot or they something completely new built there. The old paths are built over or simply grown over – unused for generations – not too many kids walk to school or much of anywhere anymore – I guess.
I am not sure what is going on with my body, but coming down Grove St. I had to stop and walk for about 50 yards to let things settle a little in the gut and then had to rush up Adams street for a private spot up the tracks a bit. Not really what I wanted to do, but there was no choice in the matter.
Then after a little sight-seeing tour up Park Avenue, stopping to take a photo of my grandparents house, which has been updated and will be sold out of the family next week for the first time since I think the early 1950’s. Kind of sad in a way, but the house as it is now, holds no memories or emotional attachment – it is not the same place that I grew up in.
When I came back by the corner gas station, I had to make another emergency pit stop. The body was cleaning out some pretty nasty stuff.
After that I ran up around the Elementary and old Junior High School, thought about all the hours I had spent in that gym playing basketball, painting it one summer when I got a job with the school, junior high dances (slow dancing), first kisses, scoring my only soccer goal on the field and all that other mushy stuff.
I ran by my great-grandmother’s home, that became my parents home and now is my brother’s. I still have a lot of memories in that house and yard, but it is no longer my home.
My biggest take-away from this particular run around Newport was the things that were missing from when I was a kid. The buildings that have been torn down, the paths that are no longer there and the fields that have grown into woods. I understand that change is inevitable and will march on despite our thoughts on the matter.
I guess one of the things that dad said to me during our time together yesterday that will stick with me
Things have changed in town and not always for the better. I really believe that Newport was a better place to live back in the 60’s and 70’s than it is today. Back then we never had to lock the doors, kids could go out, explore, not constantly have to be under their parents eye, screw up and not have the world know or get police involved beyond bringing them home and telling the parents to take care of it and for the most part it was.
Yeah, yesterday was a run back in time, but are things all that much better?
I really do not know, but what I do know is that life was a LOT simpler then and while we will never go back to how it used to be, there is still a place in this world for living a bit simpler than we do.
Yeah, yesterday was a cavalcade of emotions where you think about many things that have happened, stuff you have done and even wish that you could change a couple of events in your life.
As I was crossing the street to get back to the Hannaford parking lot, a person with out-of-state plates on the car, let me cross in front of them. It turned out it was someone who I grew up with. There are some people you recognize immediately even after all the years and I could tell that the person recognized me by the way that they were waving and smiling.
We waved to one another, smiled and I ran into the parking lot and they drove off towards Palmyra (I watched to see where they were going). I sort of wished they had turned around and stopped to talk for a few minutes. It would have been nice to learn where their life had taken them. I wonder what memories seeing me brought back for that person?
In today’s busy world, we don’t take the time to slow down and do that very often.
As I got in my truck, I realized that Newport no longer is my home and that is has simply become someplace that I used to live. Just like I have accepted that Dad has a limited amount of time remaining (how much no one knows) and while I won’t bother him by visiting too much (per his wishes), I will still be there a little more than he probably wants and if he needs something will be there to do what I can.
Lots of thinking going on in the old noggin yesterday.