Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Day to Disregard Deadlines

Amidst the deadlines and the demands of this busy season of life,  I was reminded of this blog I posted a number of years back now.  Convicted yet again of the value of time and being careful to choose the right priorities.

Gusty winds made his cheeks redden, looking as if he had discovered makeup for the first time. At 11 AM it should have been warmer, but the spring sky remained cloudy, threatening rain, and the temperature hovered winterlike at 5°C (42° Fahrenheit). There was work to be done, both inside and outside, with little time to do either. But I had promised that young man we would do something and, even though he might not remember, I would. The work would have to wait, as I could not let my words spoken to him echo in painful regret and shame into the future days, or months, or longer.
My grandson, PJ, sporting his yellow slicker just in case the rain came early, was bundled against the chill as I walked, him running ahead with excitement, toward the edge of the hill behind our house. He knew where to go, although leafless trees guarding the edge of the property scarcely hid our destination. "Go down the hill, Grandpa?" he said, momentarily stopping. Knowing the path that lay ahead through the trees he let go of my hand and ran as fast as his legs would carry him. Catching up with him just before the terrain tipped into the shallow ravine, I grabbed his hand again. Breathless, all he could say was, "Let's go see the water, Grandpa."

Slipping and sliding in fun down the narrow path that leads to the valley's bottom, we arrived at the small river's edge. Knowing the answer already, I asked my young companion what he wanted to do now that we had arrived. "I want to go in the water. Please Grandpa?". Before finishing the sentence he grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the riverbank. As he neared the "river" (more like a creek, really) he reached up to be carried. We both entered the water with a sense of anticipation, his being the prospect of the adventure that lay ahead, mine being the potential that the swift running, frigid water would overflow my boots.
Despite feigned close calls on slippery rocks and pretending to be stuck in soft sandbars, we soon found what was becoming our favorite place, a pebbled shore where rocks were in abundance. I quickly forgot about time as we threw an endless barrage of everything from small stones to boulders into the rushing stream, creating a variety of splashes depending on the size and trajectory of the rock thrown. An hour went by. We talked little, except to comment on the distance of a rock thrown, the size of a splash made, or the discovery of a worm underneath a piece of ammunition we needed for our assault on the river. A wide grin never left either of our faces.
It was only later, when I held my pajama-clad grandson, celebrating the day and kissing him goodnight, that I realized how during the aimless hour we spent tossing stones into the river I had entirely forgotten my waiting work and even the fact that I had Parkinson's disease. It was as if the complexity of my life was swallowed in the simplicity of his enjoyment of that hour. All of my demands and deadlines ceased to exist during that time, disappearing like the stones we had thrown in the water.  This poem I found (author unknown) seems to say it all.

Drive hard to deadlines day-by-day,
My discipline dictated,
Demanding I be duty bound
Delights must stay deflated.

Dawn leads to dusk and every day
My dreams seem strangely distant.
Disease draws near, depression's crown,
Discourager persistent.

Despite life’s daily drudgery
My destiny calls, "Forward.
Defeat the dark and death delay,
Destroy the gloom, march onward".

Decision made, defying doubt,
My task a young boy’s wishes,
Depose all lies that toil and sweat
Dare rival hugs and kisses.


  1. Amazing, parallels my own experience this afternoon with Bennett and Chase my 1 year old and 2 and 3/4 year old.
    The poem is awesome.

  2. Glad to see Patrick can bring you out of your busy world and into his fantasy land. Its sure fun.
    Julia Schauer

  3. Finally had some time to catch up on my favorite blog are at the top of the list. Your words connect with my heart, and seem to capture the essence of my journey. Also loved seeing your sparkling grandson.....better than a double dose of Sinemet. :) As always thanks for sharing.

  4. What a delightful post Bob - I found myself skipping stones with you two.