Time passages -- 02/12/09

It was late in December, the sky turned to snow
All round the day was going down slow
Night like a river beginning to flow
I felt the beat of my mind go
Drifting into time passages
Years go falling in the fading light
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

Well I'm not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don't last
Well it's just now and then my line gets cast into these
Time passages
There's something back here that you left behind
Oh time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

"Time Passages"
Al Stewart & Peter White

Sometimes my mind wanders and I think of the past and the present and the future and the on-rushing flow of time...

And this happened to me a few days ago when my brother reminded me that this past Saturday was the 90th anniversary of the murder of our grandfather -- Officer James M. Lawrence of the Kingston Police Department (Kingston, NY) -- killed in the line of duty February 7, 1919.

Yes, long before our time...

Our Dad was only twelve years old when his father was killed.

And then on Monday the channel 10 (Providence) morning news program's "Flashback" spot (one of those on-this-day-in-history features) showed the Beatles' first American television appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, February 9, 1964.

Forty-five years ago.

The symmetry caught my attention. Forty-five years have passed since I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan's TV show. Sure, it's been a long time. I was anticipating my 21st birthday in about two and a half months. (Now I'm anticipating my 66th birthday.) In 1964 I probably would have said my grandfather's murder had happened almost in ancient times, forty-five years in the past. Now, forty-five years seems like a lot of years, but not an impossible span of time. Then forty-five years was more than twice as long as I had lived at that point. Now forty-five years is less than four times as long as I've been typing up my thoughts on this online journal.

And two years later, in 1966, I would spend the summer months as a member of the Kingston Police Department (which brought six of us on partly to help fill in the ranks during the summer and partly in hopes of recruiting some of us to stay on -- two of the six did stay on -- and I had given that serious thought but I was offered a teaching job and took that) and I've often wondered what my father thought when he saw me in my uniform. You might not think it if you are used to seeing pictures of me with glasses and a beard (and lots of gray) but if you allow for that, there actually is a strong resemblence.

But when I look at his photograph all I can think of is how young he was!

Today is Lincoln's birthday.

It's also our mother's birthday. If she were still with us she would have celebrated her 100th birthday today.

When Charlie and I were kids the Kingston school system would alternate between marking Lincoln's birthday and Washington's birthday. One year (if my memory serves and -- who knows -- I could be wrong) we would have no school on Lincoln's birthday and the next year we would have no school on Washington's birthday. (This all being years before they moved the celebration of Washington's birthday to always be on a Monday and retail stores began calling it "Presidents' Day" to hype their mid-winter sales.) And on years when we had Lincoln's birthday off we would joke about it really being to celebrate Mom's birthday.
(Charlie, am I imagining that about the alternating holidays?)

Well, not a funny video, just a Youtube video of a live Al Stewart performance of "Time Passages."

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