The Time of Our Lives

Some of my favorite times

By Jeff Salter

Topic: At some point in your past, was there a year – or a significant period of time – that you consider your “favorite” time (or, at least, one of your favorites)? What was going on?

I must have been in a reflective mood when I suggested this topic. As I’m trying to compose this blog, however, I’m very nearly drawing a blank. Certainly there have been spans of time – whether as brief as a day or a long as a season – which I now view as among my favorites, but overall, I feel conflicted. I know there’s a tendency for most of us (especially as we age) to remember earlier times as the “good old days.”

My childhood years, for example, were in the good old days and I have many fond memories of activities, events, places, and people of that period. But I also remember many disappointments, often hearing the word “no”… not to mention living with four other people in a one bathroom, un-insulated, un-air-conditioned house with a floor furnace that seemed to barely keep us from freezing in the winter. I remember chiggers, ticks, skeeters, fire ants, stickers. I remember hand-me-down clothing that never fit me… and wanting tennis shoes that my mom would never buy. For many of those years our family of five lived on a single income of $100 a week… about what a beginning school teacher made at that point.

So, despite a few high points that I remember fondly, those were not such good, good old days after all.

My years as an adult with my own family have featured many high points — but I also remember the grinding weight of meager incomes and tight budgets… and having to be the one to say “no” to purchases that a child wanted and that I wanted for them.

Many high points of my military service and library career were also fraught with the stress of the event itself… and that considerably subtracted from my “enjoyment” of such moments. For example: accepting a newspaper award from the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. John D. Ryan, at the pentagon (1973); announcing the winner of the Louisiana Literary Award at a library association banquet in my speech before about 400 colleagues, with my wife seated at the head table with me; autographing books at the American Library Association Conferences in New Orleans (1989) and Atlanta (1991).

All that said – as a prelude of sorts – here are among my fondest memories:

*** most of a day at Disneyland in the spring of 1958, when I was in second grade. My older brother and I had the run of the place and enjoyed every single minute… even though we couldn’t afford the ticket package which would’ve allowed us more rides.

*** a sizeable chunk of my senior year in H.S. — when I was NOT grounded, that is. I was in three school plays, went to a speech convention, went on a lot of dates, went to several dances, managed the B honor roll without too much academic sweat, had some disposable income from a part-time job, and generally showed off a lot.

*** Our first few months in late 1970 as newlyweds, when we lived in a tiny “shotgun” duplex in Abita Springs and I worked on a weekly newspaper in Covington (LA).

*** boarding my final flight from Thule Air Base (Greenland) on my way home and knowing my remote tour was completed.

*** though I was not doing the actual “labor” of course, the births of our two children were stressful for me. I love both of them dearly and have struggled to provide for them and help them find their way in the world… but I was a hot mess when they were born.

*** A portion of my time in Library grad school, when I was president of the graduate library science association and rotating editor of the association newsletter.

*** there were small slivers of my public library career in which I felt like I was making a positive difference, could see the results of my efforts, and was quite active in the state library association.

*** holding my first published (hardcover) book in my hands [non-fiction, respected royalty publisher, 1988].

*** though the responsibility of being a young parent / provider sometimes felt too heavy on my shoulders, I’ve really enjoyed being a grandfather… especially when each grandchild was still young enough to appreciate my attention and effort.

*** seeing my children and grandchildren baptized

*** watching some of the youngsters I taught (in church programming) when they were little… grow up and graduate H.S.

*** weddings. A high point in my life was our wedding in 1970, though I was too nervous to “enjoy” it… in the sense of being able to relax and chill. Dressing up in a tux and “giving away” my daughter was an experience I’ll never forget, but it was fraught with nerves and emotions. I was a lot more relaxed for our son’s wedding… partly because I didn’t have a role that people were watching. Ha.

Summary: Looking back over my own list, I don’t see lengthy stretches which I view as “favorite” periods. So I conclude that the “best times of my life” – so far – have been bits and pieces as I’ve muddled through, with help from many family and friends, and through the Grace of God.

[JLS # 592]

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About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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18 Responses to The Time of Our Lives

  1. I truly understand. In fact, I have put off writing this week’s post because I don’t have any idyllic time(s), either, and I think I have come across as too negative all too often.
    We take what we can get, and have those times carry us through. God just hands some of us more difficult jobs than He has asked of others. We’ll find out why at the end, which is the
    beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Sometimes I’m “accused” of being negative simply when I’m pointing out facts and realities. I like to have a contingency plan, an escape route, a means to obtain assistance if needed. To me, it’s a matter of “being prepared” (as in the old boy scout motto). Oh well.

      Like

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I tend to get impatient with my mom for not being able to come up with anything to be thankful for at Thanksgiving or any other time of the year. I need to just accept the fact that she chooses to dwell on the things that make her unhappy and dissatisfied. On the other hand, despite your hardships, you’re able to come up with a considerable list. These are indeed the highlights that you SHOULD remember as the events that define your life. Now, if we could just do something about your nerves, aches, and pains…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I was young when I married and young when we had our kids. Our son was born when we were netting about $240 a month in the Air Force. Those were lean times… and it sometimes bothers me that I remember the struggles more than the occasional happy times.

      Like

    • trishafaye says:

      My mom also tended to be very negative. “If I have any luck at all, it’s bad luck.” Or “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to me.”
      But probably because of that, my sister and I both try very consciously to focus on the many blessings in our lives. (At least TRY to, as we too get more less-than-positive things than we’d like and sometimes we aren’t as successful in seeing the positive side of things LOL)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you, I drew a blank when I first read your blog, but after thinking about it for a second or two, I remember a very special day spent in the company of my favorite uncle.

    When I was first married, my husband and I went on a vacation to Minnesota where most of the relatives on my mom’s side of the family live. My uncle Hjelmer invited us to go fishing with him on a secluded and private lake. The lake may have been around the size of a football field. It was so peaceful. The fish jumped out of the water every now and then. We ate breakfast on the rowboat with our lines in the water.

    A great blue heron flew from the top of a pine tree on one side of the lake to the other, right over our heads. It sat at the top of the second pine tree for a long time watching us. I guess we had invaded it’s fishing hole. LOL That day, I got the worst sunburn I’d ever had, but still, it was a most memorable day for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I’ve found that the really good or really bad parts stand out while we forget how wonderful just an ordinary day can be. Since I retired I’ve enjoyed just watching the seasons change, visiting with my friends and family, or finding a book that I love. I didn’t think of that when I wrote my post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      yes… appreciating the beauty of an ordinary day can be wonderful. Or sitting quietly with a friend or loved one.

      Like

  5. Esther says:

    Thank you for sharing, Jeff. Like you, I can’t think of one specific day that would be my favorite time. My memories are filled with snapshots from different times in my life, like favorite passages from different chapters in a book. It’s nice to remember those special happy times and it’s also helpful to remember the times that I didn’t enjoy. Some of the times that were painful were the times God used to mold me and break me, and eventually make me into the person I am becoming today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Snapshots is a good way of describing those little bits and pieces of a long life.
      and, yes… the Good Lord is still not finished molding my clay.

      Like

  6. Kathleen Loyd says:

    I remember getting my first bicycle and having the freedom to ride down Bootlegger Road (gravel at the time) with my brother and a couple of the neighboring Douglas boys. I remember going on a weeks vacation to Florida with Laura Banks and her Mom and Dad in their Airstream trailer. That was one of the best times.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. trishafaye says:

    I loved reading all the happy memories that you shared with us here!

    Liked by 1 person

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