Sometimes, I just sit still and marvel at creative genius & its many manifestations.
My 94-year-old Nanny once said these words into my 25-year-old earnoles:
“…I remember when daddy would hitch up the wagon, and we’d go down to the… [pauses to find an accurate term] …congregation-type picnic…”
I must have done a quadruple-take.
She proceeded to tell me about LIFE BEFORE CARS, comparing and contrasting everything from travel to meals to clothing to interpersonal relations, all while providing a visceral connection to what human’ing is about.
It was like looking at a Live Photo of survival, standing at the base of a monument to existence that I was, somehow, also a part of… 🤯
Being there as she formulated ways to explain her observations was un.be.liev.able. And to begin to understand the intangible parts of her personality, then to see how they played off all the events of an ever-changing Life was… it gives me the chills to remember that afternoon.
My brain was on fire, processing all that info! And I’m talking about the information of the moment – her word choice, her face as she spoke – as well as the content of her stories. I think that’s what the kids call HAVING YOUR MIND BLOWN.
I’m so grateful to have had that chance to talk to her; the personal experience puts warm-fuzzies in my heart, and the intellectual experience makes me feel filthy rich in human capital, like she gave me a treasure trove full of perspective that I swim in a la Scrooge McDuck in the Duck Tales theme song.
Seriously… any time I need inspiration, I think about that conversation. She set if OFF from “Go” in such a real way… bah, I’m hyped right now just writing about it. Like, she needed a Don King-style hype man for the highlight reel-quality existential chat game she brought.
[falls out laughing, imagining Mildred with a hip-hop crew… Although, if she would have known one, they’d have showed up & shown out for her – she was sweet as sugar]
To be taken on such a mental journey…
‘Aww… she still calls him Daddy…’
(immediately begins trying to recall when she was born, and when cars happened… shout-out to Henry Ford)
‘Wait… WAGON.’ (realization dawns that she wasn’t talking about a Radio Flyer)
(gazes into distance while Oregon Trail visions dance in thought bubble)
I’m pretty confident that my chin was touching the floor as soon as her words finished their processing time. All I could do was put a hand on hers & be amazed. That’s incredible – I was incredulous. And enthralled. And… like… IM RELATED TO THIS PERSON WHO IS OLDER THAN CARS AND WE ARE HERE TOGETHER RIGHT NOW
People in wagons are not that far removed from our lives today. In fact, if my Nanny wouldn’t have broken her femur, she may have made it to see an evolved version of something that came into existence during her lifetime be sent into another frontier – space – that was the natural extension of the lengths people, like those who rode in wagons, are willing to go.
And then… GEEZ… the physical and mental studies that have gotten us – you, me, humanity – to where we are today in a relatively short amount of time in the grand scheme of LIFE… I sit in awe of it all.
Now… If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to listen to How Far I’ll Go and [probably] cry… shut up, that song conveys a beautiful sentiment & I’m TEAM “GET IT FOR YOUR PEOPLE, MOANA!!” ✊🏼all day (also, there’s no ‘probably’ – it’s a FOR SURE WILL):
Just to pick up those last two links: