“It is a talent of the soul to discover the joy in pain—-thinking of moments you long for, and knowing you’ll never have them again. The beautiful ghosts of our past haunt us, and yet we still can’t decide if the pain they caused us out weighs the tender moments when they touched our soul.” ~Shannon L. Alder
I’m golfing with ghosts, or for ghosts or both this weekend. What I am doing is returning to my hometown to spend the weekend with two of my childhood friends. We’ve known each other since we were in diapers and will still know each other when we’re in diapers again. I think that’s a pretty amazing thing. If you’ve read either of my novels, two of the Golden Boys characters in them are based on these guys. In addition to my two life long friends, I will also be seeing many friends from high school at our hometown bar and at a memorial golf tournament the following day. It will be a weekend filled with the ghosts of my past.
It is a bittersweet occasion however. We are golfing in a tournament to raise money for a scholarship fund in the name of one of our high school classmates, Sara, who passed away far too young a two years ago. I hope that wherever she is, she can see the goings on this weekend. I hope that she is a ghost walking among us at the bar and the golf course and, like George Bailey, seeing and hearing the lasting impact she made on those around her. I also hope she can help with my golf swing like Patrick Swayze helped Demi Moore with her pottery, because I really have not been practicing. The phrase “danger to self and others” comes to mind.
If George Bailey had Clarence as his own personal angel, Sara has had Michelle, Debbie, Theresa, Cindy, Sandy, and Sally as her escorting angels for the last three years as they have kept her memory alive in the form of the scholarship that bears her name.
I’m not sure why, but I’m sentimental. I love to visit my past and remember. That’s what I mean when I say I’m visiting ghosts this weekend. Not only the very literal ghost of a classmate, but the ghosts of my past. It’s almost as if I can see and hear the echoes of our younger selves. When I look at someone I knew years ago I see their younger self imposed upon the middle-aged adult I’m looking at. I instantly recall conversations and hijinks from years ago. (Yes, I’m so old that I used the word hijinks) It’s like my memory has bookmarks and I’m just turning back to a dog-eared page.
A lot of people, therapists included, will say that you shouldn’t live in the past. I agree, we shouldn’t live there, but I don’t think it’s a bad place to visit occasionally. Sometimes the past was pretty damned good and it can remind us of parts of us, good parts, that we may have forgotten amidst the mortgages, stress, and careers that have slowly, inexorably filled our present. I’m hoping however that this weekend I’ll be haunted by ghosts and, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to dog-ear a few more pages that I can re-visit in the future.
Have a great weekend! I know I will. ~Phil