Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Ghosts of Past, Present and Future

By Warren Sparrow

Most folks think of the “past” as some distant memory. For me it could mean my days and nights at The Charlotte Observer or my first glimpse of the Mighty Wasp, my oceanic home
for three years. Today it means something different. It means yesterday, literally yesterday.

Yesterday was, like Stevie Wonder sings, “an ordinary day.” It was a day filled with the usual, mundane things. It began with making the bed here at Huntington, a neighborhood within
Forest City, NC 28043, a town of 8,000 souls. After making the bed, I enjoyed breakfast with Mary Sandra. We had our “usual” Cheerios sprinkled with walnuts and blueberries. In order to
“better ourselves,” we read not one but two newspapers, The Charlotte Observer and The (Not) Daily Courier which is published in Forest City four days each week.

The balance of the morning was consumed by attention to personal grooming, etc. Next came lunch. Because it was Friday, we did what we do every Friday: Meet with the Lunch Bunch which is a gaggle of Mary Sandra’s longtime pals, usually four to six of them. Yesterday there were four. We met them at El Michoacan in the center of Forest City. A good time was had by all.

After lunch I undertook a major project, one which required great patience. I “decalcified” our Kuerig 2.0 coffee-maker. It took two hours! Believe it or not, our coffee tastes better. Once this time-killing job was done, it was time again to get serious about bettering myself. Instead of sticking my head into the internet sand, I returned to a book I had been reading for a month: Grant by Ron Chernow. I was about 100 pages from the end (Page 959),
vowing to finish it before bedtime.

After supper I watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy before returning to Grant. A little after 9 p.m. I finished the book. I learned that Grant died of throat cancer, having been a heavy smoker of cigars. He weighed 80 pounds at the time of his death. I cried while reading the last few pages.

My melancholy passed quickly thanks to NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony. Did you see the drones? Wow.
Let us now turn to the “present.” It is Saturday morning, a tad gloomy and wet. I am enjoying my new surroundings although they are not so “new.” I have been living in Forest City
for about 16 months. Our home is one where Mary Sandra has lived for about 30 years. It has two bedrooms, 1.5 baths and a good-size living area equipped with a big, flat-screen Visio TV.
We truly “have it made.” We have two air-conditioned cars, an air-conditioned condo, a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a washing machine and a dryer.

For “outside” entertainment we go to baseball games at the local ballpark where college players spend their summers learning to hit
with wooden bats. The beer is cold and the barbecue is hot. We have season tickets.

We go to high-school football games. But, we do not have season tickets. We go to concerts played by the Rutherford County Symphony at the local community college which is
named Isothermal and has a large and well-appointed auditorium. We go to the movies, driving to Shelby (25 miles) or to Spartanburg (35 miles). By the way, we liked Darkest Hour better
than Dunkirk.

Finally, let us turn to the future. I am going to sell the West End home. Though I have gone back and forth on this notion for many months, today I am firmly committed to selling the
“old family home place.” My future is not tied to that unheatable barn in any way. The house and its contents are part of a life well lived. They are the “past.” They are not the “present” and
they are most assuredly not the “future.”
So I say goodbye to my old friend. I will miss you. Let us go forward on separate paths.
I will be pulling for you. Please pull for me.

Gratefully yours,
s/ Warren Sparrow

12 February 2018
Forest City, NC