WILDER'S WHOLE WORLD: Going places without reason

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

My young man son, age 22, asks me all the time why I go to events that I have no reason to attend. Of course, he sees no reason for me to go; and he gets agitated when I do. But if there is ever an example for age difference and perspective, this is it.

I have been fortunate in the past 20 years or so to have had a great support system for my family. It’s not like I went looking for it; it just appeared in the youth sports and other activities we participated. The people, as a group, were all so inclusive and warm and simply nice to each other. As parents, we bonded even as our children did.

One of the reasons I return to some of those activities is simple: I miss it.

No, of course it’s not the same. I don’t have a six-year-old on the team or in Scouts now, but I get to remember. At this point in my life, that is enough. But even this isn’t the overriding reason I go. No, it’s the people I want to see again and reconnect. I don’t really go for the game or activity. I go to see those incredible people who shared a slice of life with me and mine over an extended period of time.

And yes, I go to my son’s high school games where he once graced the court or the ball field; maybe, once or twice a year. Since it has only been four years since he graduated, there are still some of the same faces around. I get to see them and learn what has happened in their lives over the past year. I get to hear the ‘gossip’ from the community. I even get to see some of my son’s former teachers. I get to remember an incredible time in our lives in a place where it all happened.

In 20 years, it probably won’t matter as much. But right now, it is still fresh on my mind. I look at pictures and recall where we were and who was there. I remember the laughs and the fun times that we had with people who I don’t even remember right now. Yet, they were part of the fabric of our lives – adding such rich texture to an experience that I will never know again.

Of course, I want to feel that again…

All of them want to know about my son; and they want to tell me about their children, my son’s schoolmates in detail. They are proud. I am proud. We all shared a time in life that will be remembered far beyond a basketball game or a Scout meeting. We grew up together with our children; we went through a passage of time that was new to all of us.

Well, until now, when a new chapter page has turned, where those little kids move off, go to college and even get married themselves. I look in their eyes and see the future – a place I may not be part of, but that’s okay because it is time for a new generation to take over. I may still have something to give; and I will, but the majority of it will be from the younger generations.

Yes, it hurts to see (and feel) a significant Life change happening in your own life. It will take time to fully understand the changes. Thoughts of my own parents (now deceased) crowd my mind: What did they think at this same juncture of their Lives? How did they handle it? I certainly didn’t know enough at age 22 to ask them. They seemed fine, but what turmoil must have roiled in the recesses of their minds?

These are heady questions and situations; they are not for the feeble as they say ‘old age’ isn’t either. This must be my first step into that great unknown chapter of Life that no one is really ‘ready’ for; you spend most of Life raising the next generation and suddenly, it’s their turn to teach the young. Years go by like leaves in the fall; I heard once that ‘The days are long, but the years are short.’ And this is so true that it is scary! I never understood until the last four years or so. I’m starting my seventh decade; and most days, I don’t know where the time went.

So, I go to what is familiar when I can: to remember what I’ve built and cherished in the small places of Life…in the church fellowship halls and on the baseball fields and on the road; and in places I’ve never been, but remember like my own.

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.