Phil: Yesterday I visited Candice for the first time since her daughter Erin was born. Mother and baby are doing well although I think the little one was unimpressed with my stripy shirt clashing with her own on-trend stripy onesie.
When you look at a newborn child you are seeing a blank page. Their story has only just begun. It could be filled with adventure, hopefully with love, perhaps with misfortune. Like opening a novel, you never really know what is going to happen.
In contrast, a friend of mine, John, died last week. He was well over 80 and his story had reached its final page.
Along the way there were many twists and turns. He used to recount some of these to groups of friends occasionally. Much of his life had been spent in agriculture and the story I remember most involved his time as an agricultural contractor.
In the run-up to Christmas, he and his colleagues had been ploughing in Scotland. On Christmas Eve the job was finished and they had to return home with their machinery. This involved a journey of 500 miles. On tractors. Not your modern tractors either, old ones that rumbled along with a top speed of around 20 mph. You can imagine how long it took.
In a hurry to get home, if you can call riding a tractor a hurry, they drove through the night arriving early on the festive morning. To make matters more entertaining, it was mid winter in an era when we had serious winters.
John’s description of being bundled up in all the clothes he could muster and riding an aged agricultural machine were both funny and awe-inspiring.
Sadly, all those stories have gone now. As far as I am aware, they only exist in the memories of those he told them too.
Candice was talking about the importance of trying to write down some of her recent experiences. While we won’t turn this into a baby blog, you can be sure that some of these will influence our future writing either in novels or short stories. Whatever, it’s great to get memories down in print. Perhaps we should all write out own autobiographies. Maybe they won’t be blockbuster sellers, but maybe one or two people will read and enjoy them.
At least the memories will live on.