June 22, 2013

Super moon reflections

I’ll never forget that last late-night truck ride with Mr. Ron Fowler. We made the trip from Lawrenceburg to Hamilton together every Sunday night for the better part of a year. The 45-minute drive usually consisted of deep, intellectual discussion—we talked about everything from religion to science and politics. A favorite topic of ours was what a small part of the universe we are, and what our purpose within that universe might be. I tend to connect better with people older than me, and his 70 years of wisdom taught me more about life than probably anything else.

This truck ride was different, though. Ron was strangely silent, and our conversation didn’t stretch far beyond whether we wanted the windows up or down. I remember very well the enormous “super moon” over the horizon on that early-May eveningmuch like the one occurring tonightand the way its reflection appeared in his inquisitive eyes as he observed it. Cornfield after cornfield went by, as did every shop and business I had grown accustomed to passing with him each week. Few words were spoken before we reached our destination, where he told me simply to take care, without making his usual mention of our plans for the following weekend (thus leaving me something to think about for the rest of my life). Little did I know when I slammed the door behind me that that had been my last truck ride with him. He passed away two days later.

Given the chance to return to one specific time in my life, that truck ride would have to be it. I would’ve liked to enjoy one final life-pondering conversation with Ron, almost as a means of saying goodbye—an inadvertent, foreshadowing goodbye—just to have learned a little more from him. But of course everyone wants more when something is gone—everyone wants to have better known the dead man—and my gratitude for the experiences I did have far outweigh my regrets about the ones I didn’t. He taught me about life, and—unexpectedly—quite a bit about death as well.

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