Friday, May 29, 2009


I have begun of late, to think about 'last things'. Or, to put that a little clearer, to think of doing everyday, normal things for the last time.

Do you remember the last time you sat at the table with your family? Not the one you have now, but the original one. Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Grandparents? Can you recall the last time you sat and listened to your Dad dole out wisdom, or your Mom talk about what she was cooking for lunch? Can you remember the last time you sat with a grandparent and talked about the 'good old days'---the ones they lived when they were young?

I do recall one of the last times I sat and talked with my grandmother Merritt. I had decided to interview her, and we recorded her as she talked. We asked about her courtship, and wedding...about her mother and father...about her brothers and sisters. It was a very, very special time.

I do not remember the last meal I had with my original family, before I got married...while I was still their "little girl." But, I wish I could recall it. Perhaps it got rushed through as wedding plans were nearing completion. Perhaps the stress of getting the wedding 'just right' caused us to hurry through it.

I can't remember the last night I slept in my own bed before I was married, either. Was my mind racing through the plans of the coming day? Or did I toss and turn all night? Perhaps, I fell to sleep quickly. But, it is lost to my mind.

If we realized we were doing something for the last time...would we make it special? Would we do it slower? Would we add something to make it memorable? Something to cause us to hold it in that 'special memory bank' that brings important things back to us?

If we knew it would be the last time we would ever ride a bicycle, would we ride it slowly, so as to capture that feeling of the wind in our face? Or would we find a big hill to slowly pedal up, huffing and puffing, just for the thrill of coasting down quickly...our hair blowing straight out behind us? Would you stop because your legs were sore from pumping the pedals, or would you ride until you were unable to see the street in front of you in the darkness? You'd make it last as long as possible, if you knew.

If we knew it would be the last time we swam in the ocean...would we be more daring than usual? Would we try to make it all the way out to the second sand bar? Or would we be content to sit at the waters edge...where the waves break...and enjoy the feeling of letting those waves gently lap at our back. Would we be able to see the bigger waves further out, and not be forced to feel ourselves pushed along by them, as they rushed to shore. Would we walk down the beach and try to dodge the incoming little roll of foam...or would we throw caution to the wind and boldly let the rolling edges of the waves wash across the bottom of our pants legs and begin wicking the wetness up to our knees. Would we hurry into the nearest restaurant so as to get a good table before the dinner rush? Or would we sit and watch that glorious orange ball of warmth slowly sink down behind the water's edge? Watching until the last tiny spot disappeared...and waiting for the 'sizzle' as it touched the water. Would you remember the feeling of sand and sun and wet clothes? You would, I think, if you knew.

What if it was the last time you would eat ice cream? Would you choose the biggest banana split? Or the yummiest, thickest fudge to top 2 huge scoops of vanilla? Nuts on top, of course! Would you choose your favorite ice cream bar...would it be an ice cream sandwich, or a Nutty Buddy, or a fudgesicle? Or, perhaps, a banana Popsicle, or that delicious creamy orange sherbet of a 'push-up"? Would you have a large waffle cone filled with your favorite of the 31 flavors? And, if you did...would you eat it fast , so it wouldn't melt and run down your fingers...or would you use your tongue to make trenches in the sides of the ice cream and savor every little bite...and not mind at all if you had to lick a little bit off the side of your hand?
I think sticky hands and fingers would be acceptable, if you knew.

Webster defines 'savor' as: To appreciate fully; enjoy or relish: 'I want to savor this great moment of accomplishment'.

What should you be 'savoring'? What should you be committing to memory? What should you be 'squeezing' to get the very most out of?

My Pop has said so often through the years..."We need to squeeze every minute and get all the good out of it we can." True words...wise words.

Appreciate life, seek out the best, and fully enter into it, take the extra time necessary to imprint the 'goodness' of an experience in your mind forever. Taste the tastes...smell the smells...feel the air and the wind and the sun and the rain. Let it all wash over you and become immersed in it. SQUEEZE IT!


Southern Lady said...

Oh, Tonja ... you have such a beautiful way with words. This is truly an inspiring post ... and my weekend will be richer because of it.

Wouldn't life be wonderful if we experienced everything as if it was the last time we would do it.

Gram said...

What a wonderful post - I think sometimes it would be too hard to know last times - like the last time you kiss your sweetie goodbye or the last time you have Christmas with your Mother. But I think we should try to live each day like it is our last. Have a great weekend.

marychristina said...

Oh!! Lots of wonderful things to think about! I'm not sure I could always bear thinking about last time possibilities, but I love the idea of taking more time and savoring ordinary bits of life and realizing how special they are. Because, you are right, if we knew it was for the last time, that's exactly what we would do. Thank you, Tonja!

Laura said...

What an amazing post.

This won't be the *last time* I visit.


Musicaljean said...

Great and inspiring post, Tonja.

I do clearly remember the last time my family had a Christmas gathering at which the circle was completely unbroken. 1981. A month or so later one of my sisters experienced a separation, which led to divorce. A few months after that my mother died of cancer.

I also clearly remember my last night at home before I got married. I was up until 2 AM cleaning out drawers, etc. because there was another sister expecting to move into that bedroom while I was away on my honeymoon!

Ang baylis said...

You made me think tonight, Tonja! To be honest, I'm a little distracted because I just read our friend, Kat's blog and it saddens me beyond words. When you talk about "Last Things", it makes me appreciate your friendship and your beautifully written blog posts!
Love you,
Angie xoxo

p.s. If you happen to see her, or have a chance to visit her, will you please give her a hug from me? Hugs to you, too!

racheld said...


I've seen you as a loving wife and mother, a bright, kind, generously-giving teacher, a spiritually cup-filled Christian living by the principles of a deep faith, a talented artist and writer and a truly faithful friend.

But until now, this post, this deeply moving, tellingly insightful, beautifully written, inspiring post---I had not glimpsed your depths.

I've not read anything like this in a long time, and I thank you for the wonderful message. It's a great way to begin a new month---a June of savors and of memory making.

Thank you so much for the morning inspiration and the intimate sharing, as if with old friends.


vanilla, slowly, with a spoon, sitting on the two-a.m.-dunes at Pensacola, watching the neon tide by moonlight

Melinda said...

Tonja this was such a beautiful post! We get so caught up in the insignifigant things in life, and we forget what's important. We get so cuahgt up in living life that we forget to enjoy, to savor, as you put it, life. Thank you for the reminder. I hope you can stop by Shore's End soon for my 31 week pregnancy update.