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Oh, to be young again ... or maybe not!

Running a few errands in town, Al and I noticed a 1960 Black Porsche, a 356 bathtub, and Al said again as he has said a hundreds times before, “I use to have one like that, it is one of the most beautiful Porsches made.”

Every time he says it, a sadness and longing comes over him, his eyes glass over and I know he has gone back to those youthful days.

In 1962, Al and I bought a beautiful shiny black Porsche with the finest precession motor ever put into a car. This was before family and responsibilities. He boasted that his Porsche could easily go 150 miles per hour. Al never considered that he was dangerous, but he claimed that the State Patrol was always on the look out for him.

When we had our first child, the car was too small for a family so we traded it in for a new Plymouth Fury. I know when I say it, I cringe too. Yes, cry your heart out,

Al has.

It seemed to be the responsible thing to do at the time. Years later, Al still shakes his head and says “I can’t believe that I traded my Porsche for a Plymouth Fury. What was I thinking?”

Before heading for home, our paths crossed again with the black Porsche so I asked Al, “How would you handle having a Porsche today?”

He said, “Back then, we had the money and we were young and foolish. Today I would know the value of what I had and I would know how to take care of it. The new ones cost a lot more but they are not like those back then.”

Al was deep in thought, knowing he probably would never own another Porsche again. How many things of worth have we let go of, even for what seemed like a good reason at the time?

I replied, “Yes, they say that youth is wasted on the young. Young people do not know how to value things.”

I remembered an incident in our family: Our nephew, who was raised with more money than sense, was given a Porsche when he was in high school. He jumped ditches with it and tore it all to pieces. He used it like a dirt bike; he quickly ruined it.

I thought about my response, and wondered if it was true in the arts. It is the young who has the freedom to let art happen, enjoy it, experiment with things and throw caution to the wind. They can take it or leave it. They have an adventurous spirit to enjoy it and try even ridiculous things. But do they know the value of what they have? Probably not.

Al continued with his moment in the sun and reminisced about Friday nights at the end of South Eubank Road in Albuquerque where the high school boys drag raced. An old man in his 60s would come out with his hopped-up car and drag with the kids, usually winning and laughing at them. When Al tells that story, I always think that the old man must have missed something in his youth and was regaining it by racing the young high school boys.

Where is the balance? If Al had a Porsche today, he would drive 45 miles an hour, not because of the car’s performance but that is how Al drives today, slow on reflex and unsure of himself. He would not be on the lookout for the State Patrol. In fact, he has been pulled over for going too slow and told to pick it up a little, he was dangerous to other motorists.

Does Al need a low riding sporty Porsche today to drive over bumpy roads and park in the garage when the winter snow piles up four feet on the Lower Blanco? Do we become too practical and responsible, losing our ability to dream? Or does life come around a second time so we can be children again? On Friday nights, is the old man recapturing what he missed in his childhood? Was he showing off for the kids or showing himself something? Who knows?

So where do I go from here? I think the young will still jump ditches with a fine piece of machinery, and old men will still dream of the days when they did and some will even try to recapture it. Some people have Porsches in their garages, others have the memory of owning one in their heart and played the fool and got a second chance.

Children who played at art when they were young and have grown up and have forgotten it, might say that it isn’t necessary until one day they spot something that reminds them of those youthful days and wish that they had pursued their talent. It might be with slow reflex, a shaky hand and dim eyes but they take courage and seize a second chance. It won’t be their fine performance that counts. It will be valuing what still burns in their heart and that is what is most important. We have all played the fool.

Final brushstroke: Art comes from the heart and is developed in the character of a man. It might have come too soon in life. Count on a second chance.

Readers’ comments

The following are comments from the readers. Be sure to e-mail your comments. They will be shared with the readers of the Sun News.

Dear Betty:

The Moment of Reality in Hawaii was truly interesting, I especially enjoyed the added comments.  I could see you all inspecting the floor. Then as I got to thinking about the traditions of the island, I recalled hearing an interview about the Navajo Indian and how they are losing the art of their culture. The young aren’t interesting in keeping with the rugs and sand painting and many of the items we enjoy seeing when we visit their museums. G. Doolittle Tempe, Arizona

I loved the story you sent of the art Museum in Honolulu.  We will have to see that exhibit. We tend to overlook simplicity in our fast paced world.  It appears the artist slowed you down a bit and asked you to look at his art in a different way.  An adventure for sure, even though some of the viewers were moving to fast to catch it. Please keep sending your stories.  They bring a smile. Always with Aloha, Willow, Haiku

Too Much Space, A fun read.


Cortez, Colo.

Dear Betty:

A Moment of Reality Appreciation. Howdy from Arizona!  I enjoyed reading your articles... I attached some thoughts about our trip to Hawaii. I’m not sure we had as much fun as your family at the gallery. Your article brought these thoughts from our one trip to Hawaii: an appreciation of the beauty of God’s creation (so many palm trees and flora of every kind, Hibiscus flowers of many colors, bamboo grooves); of the diversity of nature (who could imagine red hot lava flowing into the ocean or a turtle that huge or black sand?); of the reality of war and terrorism (visiting the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, viewing the USS Arizona, climbing every step to look out from Diamond Head, thankful for the work of the weapons research laboratory where I had worked and wondering about all the oriental weddings taking place in Hawaii); of the history and beauty of the Hawaiian people (and pondering the similarities to the Native Americans that I live around in the southwest and wondering how the casinos impact their reality and their art), and of the comprehension of water covering so much of our planet (having lived only in the Midwest and Southwest) and the need for ocean research and development. What a blessing we had visiting Hawaii!

Barbara Holder

Green Valley, Ariz.

Quote for the Week

“Happiness doesn’t depend on what we have, but it does depend on how we feel toward what we have. We can be happy with little and miserable with much.” — William Dempster Hoard, politician and publisher.