My dad died in 1960, when I was in my mid 20’s. Now, so many years later, his words still come to me at strange times. The thing I remember most distinctly about him is that he used to sit in his chair and play the guitar with all of us kids gathered around his feet. One of the songs he sang was, “The best things in life are free.” I don’t remember all the words but I do remember that the sun and stars belong to everyone. I began thinking of how true his teachings were and are. I am at our lake house in northern Indiana, and I sit out on our porch and watch the clouds for long periods of time. It is almost like meditation as I watch them form, divide, and regroup. There is no painting in the world that can give you such a feeling. The sky is forever changing. I love to feel, watch, and see a storm roll in. The distant thunder forecasts the change that is taking place. The pelting rain soon confirms the promise. In my family, storms were anticipated and experienced. No one freaked out or headed for the basement. The bigger the storm, the bigger the thrill. We used to sit on the front porch in Waynedale, and await the incoming storm, and no amount of rain would drive us inside. It was like a gift of nature, and it has always seemed to me that the people who feel fear and hide are missing the best of this natural phenomenon.

I like to watch the families of geese, too. They glide along with their ducklings leaving a “V” shape in the path behind them. I saw a white-breasted nuthatch working on the tree beside my chair. What a wonder nature is. In the morning there is a chorus of song as the birds awaken and announce the coming of the new day. Green herons are nesting in the tree across the way. Great blue herons are along the shore of the lake. Everything I see and appreciate seems to underline what my dad said…these things are free to everyone.

Only a short time ago, my two grandsons were running the length of the boat and diving off the end. They aren’t here this time. Clay is almost eighteen. Justin is sixteen. My dad used to tell me that time goes fast, but it seemed to me to just be an expression or something that old people thought about. But now I see how true it is. Time is fast. You get to a place where you realize that most of the time allotted to you on this Earth is behind you. I think that’s when you really begin to appreciate all the wonderful small things in life and, indeed, understand that the best things in life are free.

Remember to take the time to appreciate the small things that might go unnoticed along life’s path. Our time here is indeed short.


Mae Julian

The Waynedale News Staff
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