This is an essay from a pal of mine, Lauren Norsworthy. We could all use some of his timeless wisdom, Here you go!
I got up this morning out of habit, for there was no sunrise to wake the sleepy night. Dark rain-soaked
clouds curtained the out-of-doors releasing a slow, but steady drizzle, making life seem constrained to a
closet corner. The rooster failed to set his alarm, the birds partied too late, and neighborhood coffee pots
refused to perk. Until I began to store up treasures, undefiled, that fade not away, I too would have slinked
into the shadows of such a melancholic, dismal day. This would be a great day to slip out and see what
mankind has accomplished for himself.
With coffee cup in hand and wipers slapping I wondered down the vacant morning streets. My first stop
was Holly Tree, wrapped in golf courses, filled with terraced lawns, and framed with pillared fences. This
was society, the fashionable, the elite, the elected according to success. Castles in a garden. Dreams of
reality. Abundance. Five thousand rounds on eighteen holes, eternal bliss. My but it’s par for the course.
Paradise Found. I swallowed hard in reverent respect. I postured stiff, saluted with one last glance, and
ventured on down the road.
Not too far, not far at all were brand new automobiles packed on lots on the right and on the left.
Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, B.M.W., a man-about-town’s ride in style. Now this was the big guys ultimate
candy store. No question about it. Those two-car garages needed a couple of these. Riley’s life would
have been unbearable without such class. A hefty down payment, a song and a dance, and all of this could
be yours too. This is where the rubber meets the road. But where did it all come from, and where was it
all headed? I drifted toward town.
The trees were huge and hedges high. Stately old homes nestled deep behind the vines. Relics of forgotten
dreams gone by. Old paint began to chip and flake away. Sidewalks cracked from swollen roots beneath
the ground. And now there’s a shutter in the yard, a shattered pane of glass, an empty shell. Ah, yes, this is
the place of the broken clock, where values meet the anvil test of time. A beggar by day, a vandal by
night, with no home but an alley nest. This was bound to happen but someone should have warned them.
All those years of hard work, that career, that favored status, those credentials, the honor society, the most
likely in the class of ‘34, but what happened? What went wrong? Where did it all go? I ‘bout knocked
over a garbage can full of old concerns on my way out of there.
This was going nowhere. I sped out Old Thunderstruck Road and spotted Lonnie’s Auto Parts off to the
side. I rolled slowly by to check out several acres of inoperative autos on display behind Lonnie’s shack.
They must have been towed here from the other side of town years ago. The paint matched the mud
around them. There must have been something major wrong, for the earth had swallowed them half-way
up around their rims. The last of the open road was in their rear-view mirror. One thing was for certain.
They weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
A few miles down the road I came upon the city landfill. Deep green grass covered what seemed like
miles and miles of manmade hills. What a sight. So this is the final resting place for all of man’s treasured
possessions. I’ll bet there’s not a thing under those domes that man did not work very hard for and prize at
one time. Oh, there’s at least one thing not there. He left his car at Lonnie’s place.
I thought I had seen everything until I got back in town. Just had to stop by Rose Hill Cemetery and pay
my last respects. There were the Clarks, the Bledsoes, and the Brookshires. Their troubles seemed to be
over and the good words said, “rest in peace.” All seemed quite well and in order here, until something
caught my attention. Here was the grave of a well known music teacher from town. There was something radically odd. She had no headstone. No, she had a full-sized petrified grand piano. With eyes lifted
heavenward, I wheeled away.
I got home and I think someone fried the rooster. Coffee aroma was in the air, people were stirring, and
the rain had stopped. I had seen enough of man’s accomplishments for one day, and had seen once again
that years of hard work and good intentions can’t produce one eternal value in life. The things of this life
“grow strangely dim” for all.