I’m having lunch with Private William Spanks, beneath a century old, budding Oak tree in Magnolia, Mississippi. His comrades surround us, their shadows pointing East due to the late afternoon sun. As I sit Indian-style eating my sandwich, I’m questioning how I can be so comfortable among these gentlemen. You see, these soldiers are fatalities of the Civil War. They’re dead.
As a child, and current to this day, outings with my father often included visits to long forgotten cemeteries.
We played games; who could locate the oldest tombstone, the most comical last names, and the youngest child. I’ve been to more cemeteries than I can count and have had lunches, just as this one, with some of the most famous people in the world.
To some, these outings may strike a bit odd, but once you have walked the graves of the departed, one will feel the peace which washes over you, as it does to me. A quiet unlike any other and an appreciation for life. The only eerie factor is you are outnumbered by those who can no longer speak.
I recall a time, when I was terrified of death. So much to do, so little time. I’ve witnessed an ex-lover carried out on a stretcher, dead from an accidental heroin overdose.
I often wonder, did they regret anything in their lives? Would they have done anything differently? I ask myself these same questions, going back in to time to moments I am neither proud nor fond of. I’ve done some very shameful acts, hurting not only myself, but those around me.
Recently, a friend I was traveling with questioned why I was so selfless. I have a moral vendetta, to make right for all I have done wrong, to which I will see through to the very end. Not only has my karma improved immensely, but the eyes of those I help, have more strength.
I was once completely convinced I would depart this Earth young and so many things to accomplish. I no longer suffer from this ill way thinking, as I am certain I have genuinely lived and set free the person I once was.
So I ask you, did you make someone smile today without the need for personal gratification? Have you fulfilled all your desires? You have yesterday to reflect on, today to achieve greatness, and tomorrow to hope for. Tomorrow may never come, ask my friend, William Spanks.