There must be a plot to keep me thinking about the 1950’s — the very best of times! When I saw our assignment for this week, to keep asking ourselves “What am I pretending not to know?,” I immediately remembered one of my favorite recording artists groups – The Platters – and their hit “The Great Pretender.” If I had ever mastered the skill of inserting links or pictures into my blogs, you could have clicked on the YouTube link and listened to them — amazingly, they sound exactly like I remembered, and I was transported back to sitting in the drive-in (the old style, sit-in-your-car-and-let-the-carhop-take-your-order restaurant, for all you young-uns) sipping ice-cold lemonade and flirting with the guys while the music blared through the open car windows on hot summer evenings. What a life!
Then reality struck, and I had to put “pretend” in the context of our question, and for me that was not at all pleasant. Why? For me, that question brought an uneasy feeling of negativity because when we pretend, as the song reminded me, it’s usually to avoid facing an unpleasant truth. Unless you’re pretending not to see your child hiding in an enjoyable game, it’s just a form of denial, in my humble opinion, and I really don’t want to go there. I’m having a tough enough time with my subby trying to stay positive, to believe “I am nature’s greatest miracle,” to believe I can truly change my life through concentrated thought and focus.
As if to confirm my opinion, another assignment this week was to read an obituary each day and study the person’s picture…an unwelcome reminder of our brief sojourn here when those ages are younger than ours. But it must be part of preparing us for Og Mandino’s next Scroll, which we start on the first of February. Here is the first sentence: “I will live this day as if it is my last.” How’s that for a positive thought?
(Brief side note: One of the articles was about Charles Townes, co-creator of the laser, who died recently at age 99. Since one of our requirements is to sit still and silently for at least 15 minutes daily just to think, I found it fascinating to read the following: “…in 1948, Townes had his inspiration for the laser’s predecessor, the maser, while sitting on a park bench in Washington, waiting for a restaurant to open for breakfast.” Doesn’t that illustrate beautifully what Haanel has been teaching us over these months? I can’t wait to see what marvelous inventions will come out of our MKMMA teammates’ faithful meditations.)
Back to the bottom line — I have yet to find an answer to the question for myself — I know I will soon have to put down my two faithful old dogs as I have done for my beloved horses and dogs in the past, and it never gets any easier. I know someday I won’t be able to do all the things I enjoy today, as I am reminded when I visit a dear friend with Alzheimers. I’ve already said goodbye to grandparents and parents — like my mother used to say, “Isn’t it depressing when you’re the oldest one in the family!”
So the only thing I can comment on for this exercise is in reading the various obituaries, I noticed the two for well-known people had almost no mention of family. The son of “open-minded Baptist parents,” Charles Townes was married to Frances, but no children or siblings were mentioned. Rod McKuen, poet, performer of the 1960’s, had no mention of any family except a half-brother who spoke to the reporter at the time of his death. In contrast, the local obituaries were generally full of information about family, work, hobbies, travels, social activities, spiritual influences, and places to send any memorial gifts. The hardest ones to read were those of young people, like the 24 year young man killed while asleep in his bed when a tree fell on his house during a freak windstorm, and the beautiful 34 year young single mom leaving behind her daughter. Yes, life is uncertain — no pretense there.
I’ve already written my obituary, in case my family wants to publish any of it when I’m gone — I cajoled my mother and aunt into writing theirs — then I had to add to mom’s when she was no longer here to stop me, because she was way too modest about her marvelous talents. Wonder how and who might edit mine? Will I care?
Enough of this depression — back to the Platters and my boyfriend’s aqua and white ’55 Mercury — those really were the good old days!