Friday, August 11, 2006

These Are the Good Old Days

Our two week family vacation to visit my wife's family in Toronto has come to an end. Tomorrow, we board Air Canada for the flight back to LA - free of liquids (including water) and gels in our carry-on items, thanks to some people who just hate us and our way of life.

These two weeks have had me reflecting a bit on my life, and its interplay with the lives of my daughters, my wife, in-laws, and other good friends back home.

We spent a week at a cottage in a quaint, old-fashioned location in Balm Beach, Ontario. This is a place that looks as if not much has changed in maybe 75 years. The cottage (Canadian term for house/cabin/place not in the city) we stayed in was constructed in 1930 or so. Just about nothing has changed in this home, and photos on the wall all have a 1930s feel to them. When you spend a week there, you feel, in many ways, like you are frozen in time. Its easy to forget what day it is.

Days at the cottage are easy, with the biggest decision of the day involving what time to go to the beach and enjoy the lake, the sun, and the sand. "The lake" is actually Georgian Bay, off of Lake Huron. Large lake. Beautiful spot. The cares of the world seem light years away; and actually they are pretty far away - about 2,500 miles.

In a place like this, you can pause from the busy whirl of life, and look back. Back on the past year, since our amazing vacation last summer, on how our girls our growing, the love in our marriage that continues to change and grow, and how new friends have blessed us with their mere presence.

But there is another part of me, perhaps a part of all of us. Its a longing for places like Balm Beach...all the time. We long for the good old days. Times free of trouble. Times when people cared about each other, and you actually knew your neighbors names. Times when you could stop, slow down, sit on the porch, and enjoy the soft light at the end of day. When exactly were those good old days anyway?

I had a small epiphany today, on the freeway in Toronto. We were stuck in Friday rush hour traffic, and I could have been home in LA for the way everything looked around me. Urban sprawl, gnarled traffic. In the back of the car, our two girls (12 and 15) were bored, and Heather, our 12 year old, was trying out the names of all her friends, audibly, in Pig Latin. This became a rather long and exhaustive dissertation, which involved large quantities of giggling between she and her sister.

And then it hit me. I will never, ever, again be at exactly this point in time, with these amazing, sweet, thoughtful, maddening, and wonderful ladies that God has briefly loaned to us. This moment in Toronto traffic, with the slightly annoying giggles of two girls, was in fact....The Good Old Days.

Some day, when Nancy and I are older, moving slower, and reflecting on the past, we might just recall this vacation, this time off, and this trip in the car. And we will smile and say.......well, you know the rest.

Maybe, these are the "good old days" for you to, if you are looking.

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