At moments in our lives, we pause to reflect and ask ourselves those “What if?” questions: What if I had seized that opportunity? What if I had taken another career path?
As we’ve exited the pandemic, have you found yourself behaving as if it is still raging? Turning down invitations. Postponing that special vacation for another year. Housebound.
On social media sites, our friends and acquaintances occasionally ask us to respond to those Have You Ever queries regarding such mundane items as states you have visited or types of conveyances in which you have ridden or which you have driven.
For a bit of fun, I’ve decided to put my own “Have You Ever?” survey together. As strange as some of my items might seem, I have done them all. Think about your own life: what’s on your list and what would you like to add if your age, physical condition, and finances will allow- and just do it.
___Kissed a pig (You’ll need to skip to the end of the column to learn about the place and the circumstances under which I did this.)
___Made moonshine in a large homemade still and served your product to hundreds
___Toured a working coal mine
___Walked on the roof of a coal tipple that ran over a river or roadway
___Worked in a prison directly with inmates, many of whom were incarcerated for murder
___Stoned a poisonous snake to death
___Been to a nightclub in Harlem while underage
___Spent the night in a National Guard Armory as a civilian
___Set your brother’s flannel shirt on fire with a sparkler as you celebrated July 4th
___Entertained 15 sixth-grade kids from an inner-city neighborhood for a sleepover at your home
___Projectile vomited on yourself and others on a carnival ride
___Attended the same high school in Toledo that Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H attended
___Driven a large tour vessel in the Houston Ship Channel
___Wrecked a VW bug and fractured your neck
___Stood on a mountain and watched below as a group baptized new converts in a river
And on my list are many items that I have done and feel certain many of my readers have also done:
___Picked berries for making a pie or grapes for jelly
___Tried to bribe a police officer with Girl Scout cookies
___Been to the Beaches of Normandy
___Pulled a stupid prank in a college dorm
___Brought wildflowers home and planted them
___Picked paw paws
And the list goes on and on with hundreds of treasured memories with my birth family, my sons, my grandchildren and those with whom I’ve worked in colleges from the “Kentucky coal mines to the California sun.”
I reflect upon the richness of my life: I’m 12 and being baptized by immersion at the baptistry at the church of my childhood. My father made a rare appearance at the church that evening, and he was inebriated. As the minister brought me up out of the water, I was told my father shouted, “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!?”
I’m 15, a junior at Woodward High School in Toledo, and have agreed to a date with a champion bowler. My average score is about 88. I knocked down a single pin in our first game and refused to bowl any more.
Now I’m 16, and a friend sets me up with a blind date. My date is actually blind, and my friend has a crush on him. They married after high school.
Now, I’ll tell you about kissing the pig. I was president of Lee College in Texas and was serving on the local American Diabetes Association board. As a fundraiser, community leaders had agreed to participate and the person to receive the most votes in terms of donations to the event would kiss a pig. The deadline approached, and I felt comfortable in going to an afternoon meeting because my donations to another person meant that there was no way I would be the top fundraiser. While I was gone, the faculty got busy raising money by voting for me. When I returned from my off-campus meeting, the event had come to a close, and I was the winner.
The day came for me to kiss the pig-with the media and college faculty in attendance. I had on my usual attire, high heels and a suit (no pants in those days, just skirts). I was terrified, but I got down on my knees and kissed that pig. It wasn’t a hog, but it wasn’t a piglet either.
My advice: Treasure your memories (Consider recording them in a notebook with photos or sketches) and continue to make new ones so that when your time comes to depart this earth, you will know that your life has been well lived. Do I hear an Amen?
Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., teaches telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and works with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or [email protected].