Sometimes – often – I wake up in the early hours of the morning and can’t go back to sleep. I listen to music from the early 80s and for a moment it’s 1980, and I’m a college freshman again. I’m in my little shotgun apartment in Jacksonville with the cold tile floor. It is early in the morning. I’m sleeping on the same bed I had as a kid, and the sun is peeking through the thin drapes in my bedroom. My parents are asleep or just starting their day 100 miles away, but they and my grandparents will be in the stands on the 30- yard line near the concession stand on Saturday. And it is time for me to head to Southerners band camp or Mason Hall to practice – or more likely to philosophize on the bench outside of Jerkyl’s office. (Jerkyl was a nickname for Dr. Jerald Davis.) John is there. Jeff is there. Lisa is there. For a split second we’re all there again.
And then it passes as fast as the last 39 years have.
The 80s music is still playing on an oldies station. But that split second when it was 1980 is over. This morning my father is far more than a hundred miles away. So is John. But, that’s ok. I know where they are. Mom is just down the street. My precious kids are down the hall asleep, and that’s very good. And it’s now. I enjoyed the visit and find myself in my melancholy 1980 from time to time.
But today, here and now, is good. Life isn’t as simple maybe. But my world is rich. In a few hours my kiddos will be stirring. I’ll get my achy back out of bed and spend the day with young people exploring their 1980 for the first time or adult students building a better today for their families. I’ll spend the work hours with passionate colleagues and friends. I’ll see cousins by the dozens at Walmart. (That’s what happens when you live in your hometown.) And by the grace of God, I’ll return home to my kids and have Mom over for supper. I’ll still visit 1980, but even if I could – as sweet a memory as it is – I wouldn’t stay there and miss today.