"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Friday, November 22, 2013

When the world was young, and so were we

Fifty years ago today...tread lightly
I can not watch any of the almost unending coverage this week on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination, especially the black and white TV footage, or the many old men talking about that day, and the historical events. It's too personal.
The day dawned bright at Oklahoma Christian College in Oklahoma City 50 years ago. It was homecoming, and I'd come with friends from Albuquerque to visit friends from a year ago, and to see a special person. I'd attended OCC the year before as a freshman, but went back home to a semester at UNM because of finances. But I never forgot this high school senior I'd met at church.
Snapshots by a friend in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963
The day turned black. Many students were gathered in the student union that morning, when terrible news from Dallas changed the mood. The Young Republicans...of whom I'd been a member...immediately draped a wall with a photograph of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated a few hours earlier.
I remember little of the rest of that day, except for my date with the special person. Later than evening, outside her home in Bethany, Oklahoma, she accepted my marriage proposal. 
The day turned bright. I remember little, and when children were mentioned, she said "four." So it was over the following years.
When there was hope and joy, and Jackie
Back home in Albuquerque, while black and white TV droned on and on with the funeral, friends commented how great it was to hear my voice full of hope and joy. The next semester, I returned to Oklahoma, to Central State University, and marriage that summer.
The years were good, and not so good, as with wine, and some were bad, and there were also mistakes and sorrows. But thankfully, the four children are healthy, smart and terrific, and today there are eight grandchildren, two of them bearing their grandmother's name.
Thus it is, that every Nov. 22, in spite of forgetting other dates, I always remember--tragedies, hopes and joys, and sorrows. Journeys ended then, and also began.
America lost hope, and I found it. As with my country, there have been bright days, and fewer dark days. Today, I'm thankful for all the bright days, and the many lives and memories  that have followed.
When the world was young, and so were we.

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