Saturday Morning Discovery
By John R. Greenwood
|"The Cave In The Mountain" -1894|
What fascinated me was what was inside the front cover of the 120-year-old book. It’s there where I find that the book was a gift to my grandfather in 1913 for his 14th birthday. He gave me the book in 1963, fifty years later. I remember staying overnight at my grandparents this particular night. He gave me the book the next day while I was helping him with some chores around the house. I was in my Hardy Boy’s book reading years back then. My grandfather’s, “Cave In The Mountain” was his 1914 version of my 1963 Hardy Boys Mysteries. I’m sure he handed me that book with fond memories of his boyhood swirling in his head. I hadn’t opened it in years. It brought back find memories of time spent with my grandfather. I now had three grandson’s of my own and it made me look at that inscription through a much different set of eyes. The number of years was enough to give you pause but what inspired me to grab my laptop and starting writing about it was the speed at which those years between being a grandson to being that grandfather had taken place.
Here are attendees of my grandfather's 14th birthday party on June 4, 1913:
Muriel Davis, Alma Kilmer, Bertha Hopkins, Helen Ten Eyck, Jeanette Fonda, Katherine Davis, Vivian Lathers, Frank Sweet, Ralph Kurlbaum, LeRoy Kurlbaum, Jay Rhodes, Clifford Cudney, Ralph HumGurr Ten Eyck, Elmer Greenwood (my grandfather).
I opened the book once more, randomly, right in the middle, and the passage to the left caught my eye and my emotions.
“The world was void:
The populous and powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless;
A lump of death, a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes and ocean, all stood still,
And nothing stirr’d within their silent depths.”
I read it over and over and suddenly I realized I was watching a current version of the evening news. The fighting, the violence, the pain of poverty and despair was being sensationalized for profit. The world is, was, and will be used for lots of the wrong things and few of the good things. I’d gotten all this from one little re-visit to an old book given to a young boy once, twice and maybe more to follow. The world is becoming a lifeless stone and we must revive it’s vitality. We don’t need to go back to heyday’s or the good-ole-days, we need to recreate the good-new-days, the I-can’t wait-to-get-moving days. We need to grab books from shelves with one hand, caulk windows with the other, and figure out that life is about doing both things at the same time and doing it with vigor and purpose.
Yes, I did complete trimming out the window and for some reason the view seemed to have a crisper feel to it. It had to do with the added bonus it provided me on this otherwise uneventful morning in November.
That's the way it should be.
Life should show up whenever it feels like it, but you have to be paying attention so you don't miss it.