About Me

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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

***Adieu, la Saison de L'ete; Adieu, Doux Jours de la Jeunesse

*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, September 21, 2008
as "Carefree days of our youth"

*Waterbury, CT Republican-American, September 12, 2009

as "Farewell, the season of Summer;
Farewell, the Sweet Days of Youth"

*Little Rock, AR Democrat-Gazette
August 30, 2011
as "Summer Memories with Ralph Couey"

Copyright © 2008 by Ralph Couey

Youth is like a summer’s day. Seemingly endless in its passage, it is a curious mix of living in the moment and racing to the next. There are times of manic energy, and others of perfect indolence. Time has no meaning, for tomorrow is just another version of today. The only measuring stick is the number of days left until the clanging school bell once again makes the clock and calendar relevant and meaningful.

Youth, like summer, is a time for games. The rules are made up on the spot, and any infraction can be whisked away by the liberating words “do-over!” Interest in one game will wane, only to be quickly replaced with another. Alliances among friends shift constantly as the teams change. And in-between, the restful moments in the shade, sipping lemonade from glasses also sweating in the heat.

There is never a schedule, never a plan. The dawn of each day heralds a new adventure, one to be explored to its fullest. Maybe today it’s swimming, or ball, or fishing. We’ll play with our toys, and live for a few hours in a pretend world of our own making. Or just race aimlessly around the yard, if for no other reason than we’re young and we can.

Our imagination runs wild and free. An empty box becomes a fort on some lonely frontier, an airplane soaring among the clouds, or a starship on a mission to distant planets. A bicycle gives us wings, the wind streaming past our ears with a sense of speed. Maybe today we’ll clothes-pin a couple of cards on the rear wheel and become a lone warrior on a Harley, roaring across the limitless expanse of the Great Plains, racing the sunset towards the horizon.

The long, glorious days are broken only by special interludes. The family vacation, loading up the car, and cresting the distant horizon to marvel at worlds unknown. Trips to the zoo, the amusement park, or the county fair. The ballpark also clings to memory. The warm, humid nights sitting in bleachers while far above, bugs of infinite variety orbit hypnotically around the bright lights.

Popsicles and ice cream; movies and popcorn. Dad firing up the grill on Saturday evening, sending the delicious smell of hamburgers wafting across a yard already aromatic with fresh-cut grass. Those long, purple twilights, when even the sun seems reluctant to go indoors as we relentlessly squeeze every last remaining moment from the day.

Once the sun is gone, perhaps there is still time to lie in the grass, look up, and wonder at the stars while sharing deep secrets with your best friend. Maybe Mom will help set up the tent in the back yard, and for one special night, what was familiar territory becomes as exotic as the wild Serengeti.

Youth, like Summer, is meant to be savored and treasured; lingered over until the last vestiges are gone. As children, we rush along, impatient to grow up. We then spend our adulthood sadly wondering why we didn’t take our time. And as the years inexorably pass, those wonderful, golden memories become dreamily indistinct, like the view through the sides of a frosted glass.

Because when the sun finally sets on this most special of seasons; when carefree youth gives way to careworn age; when the endless hours finally do end, it is a day, and a time, that is gone forever.
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