… Be Free”
So said an old man whose first name was Red. I don’t remember his last name.
I met him about twenty years ago, while on a wild trip to Ohio doing research into setting up a private club. My friend Jim and I had set out in his RV along with a very young man we jokingly called “our son”. Another friend, Tony, rode along behind in his car in case we needed to get around more easily once we got there.
We entered one club in particular, one of the many we visited that day, and as we moved about, there was one white-haired gentleman sitting in the corner, watching us … taking it all in.
It was an odd moment … we, asking questions and taking notes … and he, sitting there silently … observing from a distance. Then he slowly walked up to me, looked deeply into my eyes, took my hands, and calmly imparted the words that haunt me to this day.
As though he was giving me the secret keys to a life he had lived and a lesson he had learned at great cost.
“Be Free, young lady. Be Free.”
And his words echoed in my mind today.
A friend posted something on Facebook last night … a quote … from Dorothy Parker … along with this note:
Note: as I re-post this, it’s after 10pm.
After 11, actually.
Just a suggestion: try to remember to have fun this lifetime. It’s not contradictory to “amounting to much”; in fact, it’s kind of necessary.
I remember that time of my life. A few years had passed from the painful upheaval that was my life in the late eighties … and I suddenly had the distinct mental image of the world as that of a huge blue-hued ball with a giant red bow and ribbon. A gift from some benevolent Higher Power. To me. To be enjoyed and shared.
Playmates were not always available for one reason or another, but that did not stop me from employing the philosophy of Carpe Diem on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, many of my fondest memories of that time included activities that began as solitary adventures.
A trip to Boston to be on the Esplanade for the Concert on July 4th. Glider flying above the Bald Eagle Mountain Ridge. Whitewater Rafting from Ohiopyle. Other trips … other times.
Many other adventures were made all the more sweet for the sharing of them with a close friend or cherished lover. Precious memories … all of them.
Once more I find myself in a similar position to that of years gone by. Once more I have this similar sense of the world. This gift to be opened … to be enjoyed to the fullest.
As this year comes to an end, I find myself being excited at the prospect of all that the New Year has to offer. Maybe a trip to Lake Placid to ride the bobsled or toboggan. Perhaps another trip to Boston this coming summer. Maybe some quiet times with an old friend or newly cherished lover.
I suppose Red is long dead and gone, as we all one day will be. But his words live on … in me … and now perhaps in you as well.
Be Free, dear friends, Be Free.