Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Town

63F, 80%, wind at 0 mph and thirty percent chance of rain. At this hour and age and stage of life, everything about Grovers Corners is even more real than ever. When I first watched Thornton Wilder’s play on the stage of the old Bay High School auditorium it was poignant and wistful, the town, times and lives so ancient and quaint but still overlapping my world. A year or two ahead of me in school, the Stage Manager did a memorable job, his name slips my mind, but in starting to clear out the attic my four Bay High annuals showed up this weekend, I may thumb through and see if I can find him. 

Our Town is my all time lifelong favorite stage play, above anything I’ve seen since in New York, Tokyo, London, Columbus, or at the Panama City civic center auditorium; grew even more so with the years of life. It seems to have become home and my own life, Grovers Corners has.   

If life were to choose, if I could go to a time beyond me, say a hundred years from now, the end of December 2114, or okay simply September 2035, and told to look back and choose any era of mankind, any age of human history to live in, when would it be, what would I choose? Would it be the time and age I was granted, or some other? 

Maybe I don’t know. For starters, as I've said before, it might be my grandfather’s time, late 1800s into the mid-twentieth century. War, which seems to define history and set its boundaries anyway, would help me decide. I would have to be American. After the Revolution. After the War Between the States but before we became whatever happened to us with Vietnam, our loss of innocence, ideals, integrity, ethics and humanity, the start of our decline and fall to which so many are oblivious. Culture and industry would help me decide, never mind the airliners, I’d travel distance by train but the first automobile would come along in about five years. The milkman would deliver a quart every morning, two on Saturday. I'd have to live on St. Andrews Bay.

People would make the difference, not for life itself would I miss having shared the world with Mahatma Gandhi, oh and Winston Churchill, and people I have loved so dearly. Gone before we earned the world’s contempt and murderous hatred, I’d live in the age when America was admired and Americans welcomed and loved around the world: I well remember that, which would overlap my imaginary Our Town with where I actually have been and lived and loved. I might choose different cars to own and drive, and keep longer. For science, I wouldn’t want to miss weather satellites, at least enough to look down on the fluffy white donut of a hurricane turning and swirling across the Atlantic.

This doesn’t need to be too long or dreamy. Probably comes up because Christmas is over here, dawned, was present, and is done, ended yesterday as Tass and family drove away in a loaded Ford station wagon, her waving to me as I stood in the middle of the street, wishing she was just arriving instead, in fact, I could go back to 1972 and start all over with her. Kris is still here, her car in the garage another couple of weeks; but Joe will be driving away in an hour, before daylight so as to arrive home before dark. By dawn it’ll be just the two of us rattling round in rooms that echo before we ourselves leave.

Along in the middle of Act One, a favorite line, "This is the way we were in our growing up and in our marrying and in our doctoring and in our living and in our dying." 

He forgot to say “in our loving.” At the end, the Stage Manager philosophizes a bit, winds his watch and wishes us good night. 

I’m wishing a good morning. Need to check over my sermon notes and have another look at my Sunday School handout.

TW+ as +Time speeds along toward wherever it’s taking me --

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