Author: Ramos, Jean

Like Sands Through the Hourglass

If someone were to ask me to describe my Christmas of 1984, I wouldn’t be able to recall a thing about it. As a matter of fact, I can’t remember a thing about the whole year of 1984 or 1983 and many other years for that matter. I have large blocks of time that I can’t give an accounting for. I have lived nearly 24,000 days on this earth and I can only tell you how I’ve spent a fraction of them. I’ve celebrated 66 Christmases and yet there’s only a few that stand out in memory.

It appears that I’ve divided my life up by certain life changing events; events that were either really happy or really sad or created some other strong emotion when I was experiencing them. Celebrations or events such as births, deaths, graduations, high school re-unions, and weddings stay with me as reference points. The purchase of our first home, our children’s milestones such as their first Christmas, first birthdays, first day of school, weddings, etc. also serve as my life’s bookmarks for other things that may have happened during a particular year.

There are several songs titles I can think of that use certain events as reference points. Remember the Frank Sinatra song, “It Was a Very Good Year.” How about, “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died?” “The Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” are two more that come to mind. I’m sure you could come up with some of your own that illustrate my point.

I wish that I had been one of those “journal keeping” type people. I think it may have been a wonderful legacy for my grandchildren. They would be able to read my recollections of some history making events. I can remember Chimpanzees being sent into space, the words, “Under God” being added to our Pledge of Allegiance, and General Eisenhower becoming President of the United States. I recall what a stir it caused when Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on a podium at a meeting of the UN General Assembly, and the excitement of Alaska and Hawaii becoming the last two states added to the U.S. The Cuban Missile Crisis, The First Man on the Moon, The Berlin Wall, and the Viet Nam War, were all part of history in my lifetime. Of course my grandchildren could read about these events in a history book, but it would be much more meaningful if they could also read my reactions and opinions concerning how these world events affected me personally.

Perhaps it’s not too late to start journaling, or even going back and writing my thoughts on various earth shaking events. I have saved newspapers with history making headlines for many years. I stopped saving them in the past ten years or so, mostly because it was creating a storage problem. One of my daughters used my newspaper collection for a school history project in the eighth grade. We had divided them up by categories such as Space Exploration, Medical Advances (first heart transplant), Presidential Elections, Wars, Show Business, (Elvis’ death), etc. I also kept Sample Ballots from various elections. I have a sample ballot from the primary election in which Robert Kennedy was involved when he was shot and killed. I suppose I could go through these and record my thoughts and feelings on these events. They all must have left an impact on me or I would not have saved them.

Lately, I use Bluegrass Events as my reference points. I joined the CBA in February of 2008 and attended my first CBA camp-out in 2009. I began writing my Welcome Column in May of 2009, after that first spring camp-out. Since much of what I write also includes stories about what is going on in my personal life, this has now become my journal of sorts. I also have a large collection of pictures to add to my CBA stories.

Perhaps I will one day join the ranks of my friends Cliff Compton and Rick Cornish and publish my favorite stories; those that I feel would have the widest appeal. I know which ones I received the most feedback on; stories such as “Homeland Security,” which tells of our personal battle with raccoons. (I’m beginning to think everyone has a raccoon story). Just ask Kelly Broyles or read Rick’s book. Of the stories I’ve written, my personal favorite is called, “Road Trip.” It recounts my experiences of traveling up and down Highway 101, all alone with my thoughts, Bluegrass on the radio and a close encounter with a trailer load of portable toilets.

How about you? Have you recorded your stories for posterity? I wish my parents and grandparents had written their stories down. Stories get lost after one generation don’t they?

I wrote an article about the 2012 Great 48 for the Breakdown, that special event in my life has now been recorded as part of my ‘history.” My very generous husband, Terry, has once again blessed me with the gift of another musical instrument; a nice Gibson F5L mandolin. The year 2012 will find me spending a lot of time practicing the fiddle and mandolin. I’m making some progress and enjoying the challenge. I wish you all a year of “good challenges,” and I look forward to seeing you at the Spring Camp-Out in April.

Posted:  1/22/2012

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email