All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
So, said William Shakespeare, the Bard, who summed up life in a few short lines of memorable school day prose of long ago.
As I write this I hear the sound and endless drone of a power washer outside my den, as my wife and I begin the process of getting the house ready for sale. The days of raising children are over, as are the best days of my life in my third home. No more pool or bar-b-que, but no more maintaining the premises with lawn people and no more endless summer days weeding and repairing, all will soon be gone. I won't say what my plans are because there are certain people I don't want to know. But I will downsize and enjoy what is left of life for us.
Often when Mom was still alive I would go to visit her. As I neared her house I would remember the wonderful teenage years I spent in our home growing up, and later dating my wife and then coming back for holidays with the family. There seems to be almost a distant echo that sounds through the trees of the neighborhood streets as I would near her house. All the things that people said and did, calling me back once again, telling me it as the green grass of home, Mom in her apron and Dad in his flannel shirt, two old people that made me think of another time.
Today, as I ready myself for our move, I hear once more the distant echo, this time calling out words like; Daddy and Joe and chats with neighbors and neighborhood parties. As I remember, we even had a goldfish or two and a dog named ‘Happy' who although she loved us all was anything but!
Somehow, I wonder if I'm now wearing that flannel shirt my Dad had, if I look like Dad to my kids, and will there be echoes some day when I'm gone?