The Rear View Mirror… PAZAZ™ Style

Sometimes to predict the future we look to the past while we live in the present. The past is clear as we unmask the circumstances that create our destiny. Our present can be explained by the stepping stones we follow that are an accumulation of vision, analysis, and process. Then there is the formula for our ultimate future which depends greatly on the books we read and the friends we associate with.

As we look back in time we can give pause to glance at some of the greatest moments of our lives and sometimes the epic failures. This is why life isn’t the straight path to enlightenment but a roller coaster reflecting the ebbs and flows of everyday existence. I’m sure that most of you would agree that our greatest lessons are those that begin with hope and end in failure.

One of the significant benefits to our lives is remembering those moments that are etched in the memory banks of our minds. Some of those experiences are the first time we see or live in a moment that becomes an occasion we will never forget.

There are many moments that distinguish a full life stretching from (in my case) Fairfax, California to Henderson, Nevada. Along the way there are side roads, cul-de-sacs, highways, and sometimes dead ends (shaken not stirred) that reflect the outcome of our circumstance.

I remember exchanging valentines day cards with my favorite female classmates when I was in the first grade through the third grade. Those were wonderful expressions of puppy love that opened the door to future romances later in life. I would spend hours crafting the perfect thought for my Valentine’s Day card for each female student representing something I didn’t even know one percent about. I would open each Valentine card from those girls with anticipation of what my mind could only imagine for a nano second. True love at that point was just a smile, a wink, or a kind word. Beautiful in its simplicity and innocent in its purest form.

Next there was Easter, which to me (at that point in life) was about the Easter bunny, candy, and finding the Easter baskets my parents would hide around our home in Fairfax. I used to love searching for those baskets carefully hidden by my parents. In the baskets was every kind of chocolate candy you could imagine, typically launching me into a diabetic coma (with a smile on my face).

My favorite candy was the chocolate Easter bunny which was about five inches tall made out of milk chocolate. After eating some of the candy I would typically find the neighborhood kids and we’d run around in circles until dinner was ready. Then, we’d go back to our homes to patiently eat dinner and then bury our heads in more baskets of candy.

The fourth of July wasn’t like it is today. There were a few fireworks but none in our neighborhood. They weren’t displayed on TV or talked about much. I do however remember barbecues that revolved around my dad’s barbecued chicken with my mom’s famous barbecue sauce. I still remember how delicious those meals were accompanied with potato salad, jello salad, string beans with bacon, and apple pie for dessert with vanilla ice cream, of course.

My birthday was next with all the pomp and circumstance an only child could imagine. The neighborhood kids were invited and we’d all go to the park or have a host of games at our home. Pin the tail on the donkey was the highlight from the game repertoire and usually ended up with one or more of the participants losing their lunch (after the spinning) all over the patio. Laughter and huge smiles were the order of the day as the kids played in a time when there were no computers, cell phones, or other devices to distract from the pure joy of human connection.

As the gauntlet of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas was on the horizon the beauty of life at that time was the simplicity in which the future was unveiled. I really can’t thank my parents enough for the countless hours spent teaching me about the arts, education, and the moral and ethical lessons they lived by. But the greatest gift they gave me that helped launch me into the person I’ve become is the simple message of love expressed in every action, every day, for as long as they both lived.