Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Looking back long ago...

I don't usually blog about myself, but for whatever reason I'm feeling a bit introspective and reminiscent today.

I found a few old photos of yours truly and so here they are--taken long ago.

I never knew how much I weighed when I entered this world, until someone mailed me the birth announcement (from my parents' possessions after they died a few years ago).

So I took my first breath--out of the womb, bloody, naked, screaming, thrashing about--weighing in at a whopping seven pounds!

The one of me looking happy and content in the crib was when I was two and one-half months old (this fact is scribbled on the back of the photo).

I'm standing in one picture next to my two grandfathers--Ed Jenkins (my mom's dad) on the left; James Avery Timbs (my Dad's dad) on the right.
Papaw Jenkins was an intensely religious man. He would sit alone on the porch and pray and recited Scripture every day and every night. He was good, gentle, caring--devoted to his church, Valley Forge Christian Church, which he helped found early in the 20th century. Papaw Timbs, a deputy sheriff in his younger days, liked to fish and hunt, and he loved to play games--horseshoes, checkers, card games such as setback and spades and rummy. I think maybe some of my playfulness derives from him. I cherished every day I had with him. He died in the late 1960s, when I was in the USAF, serving in the Philippines. So I never got a chance to say good-bye to him, something I regret to this day.

And, of course, that's me as an Indian (maybe I should say Native American??) with the knife in my mouth.

I loved playing cowboys and Indians.
I remember having guns and holsters and bows and arrows. And when I got older, I enjoyed watching westerns like Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel (with Wire Paladin). (And whatever happened, as the song says, to Randolph Scott?)

Today, I'm 66 years old (soon to be 67) and I dearly wish I could get that playfulness back!

As a bumper sticker prompted me the other day, I should be wagging more and barking less. No truer words were ever spake...

It's worthwhile to look back and try to figure out how I became the man I am today. Where did I come from? What forces (or people) shaped me? And then, of course, there's those inevitable questions dealing with finality: what happens now? Where do I go from here? What will be my legacy? Patrick Yeung, my son-in-law, has put that legacy question to me a few times.

I still don't know how to answer it.

Maybe some day.