Dreams Don’t Expire

Slim Randles is today’s Wednesday’s Guest with another short essay to make us stop and think a moment. I am never sure which I like more, his humor or his more serious columns, but they are both good, and I am glad that he shares them with us so freely. His Home Country columns are syndicated in hundreds of newspapers across the country, and he shares them here for just the cost of running the short ad that follows each one. What a deal!

Dreams can be elusive. Sometimes we wait a long time to have one come to fruition, and sometimes they don’t happen at all. What we learn from this story about Harvey, is that we have to take some kind of action to make a dream come true. It doesn’t happen just by wishing and dreaming.

Please grab a cup of coffee and a sweet roll and enjoy the read.

“You don’t mean it!”

“Sure as I’m sittin’ here, Doc,” Herb said, putting an extra swirl to his coffee and cream.

“Flying lessons?”

“Yessir. Said he wanted to do it before he got old. I know. I know. He’s already old, but still, he’s up about every weekend now, buzzing around.”

“That’s just nuts,” Doc said, “I know for a fact he won’t see 70 again.”

“True enough, Doc, but you know they aren’t letting him take the plane up by himself.”

“Thank goodness for that. But what in the world made him want to fly a plane?”

“When I asked him that, he said it was the war that made him sign up for lessons.”

“What war?”

“Vietnam. He said he was a ground pounder in ‘Nam and always envied those pilots who got to do their fighting with clean, dry boots.”

Harvey always was a kind of strange one around the valley here. Kept to himself, mostly. Worked down at the gas station gun shop until he hit retirement age. No one better at fixing a flat or doing an oil change.

But he was always on the quiet side. He’d ask about you and your family, but didn’t really have anything to say about his own life.

But now he’s up there every weekend, looking down on the rest of us from the driver’s seat of a Cessna.

“Vietnam was a long time ago,” Doc said.

“That’s what I told him too, Doc. But he just smiled at me and said, ‘Well, Herb, there’s always next time.’”

Evidently dreams don’t come with calendars.


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Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here on the blog, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us.

4 thoughts on “Dreams Don’t Expire”

  1. Surely, Vietnam was a long time ago and such is true about ‘dreams don’t come from calendars.’

    Coincidence that I am home with baby Scuba and I ‘happened’ to read this entire post? NOOOOO. Nothing is by chance.

    I do have a dream, which stems from childhood, as I would always walk down to the grove of trees on our family farm to escape. I did this with a pen and paper. I have journals, boxes of journals in the attic in the house where I grew up. I am now in the process of creating my blog, in hopes to be received.

    On another level, Vietnam…my father served during this conflict and for a man to carry an event his whole life, until his near dying day, and tell his own daughter the ‘story’ which plagued him his entire life was a blessing. For my father to look me in the eyes, after a ‘code blue’ was called and he was ‘brought back.’ True and for utter real, as his hair was now gray. Four days prior, brown!!!! For him to tell me the story that I tried to get out of him for years, was a blessing. He was now at peace. Not only with what he went through, but at peace with our relationship. We did not speak for a few years, in turmoil, he and I were for various reasons.

    However, after the story was told, he went back to the family farm, the same farm where I wrote in the grove of trees, to spend his last days. I held his hand, comforted his sweltering mouth, held an ice cream bucket for him to go urinate in, talked to him, told him that although we had are issues, I was proud to be his daughter, and then I counted his breathes and smelt the smell of death.

    This ‘event’ in Vietnam, stationed aboard the USS Evans, his own wife did not know, until that moment in the hospital and she finally knew why he was the way he was his entire life.

    We are all at peace and so true, that dreams do not come with calendars. My dream of having peace with my own father came true.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Sheila. I knew there was something dark and horrible that your father was keeping to himself, as did so many good men who went off to horrible wars. I do hope that someday you will share that secret with me. On numerous visits, I tried to get him to open up to me, telling him it was safe to dump that on my if he did not want to tell the awful truth to your mom or to you or Shane, but he did not. He came close once or twice, then backed off.

  2. Sitting at the kitchen table at 4:30 each morning, when I moved back to the farm, this was always my best shot at getting it out of him. Dad really wanted to, I always ‘knew’ and he always reverted back to our neighbor to the north, Bob. My father told stories about Bob, his small grove of trees, where he built a shooting range. Neighbor Bob did his time as well in Vietnam. He received numerous sharpshooter awards throughout the country. This was his ‘out.’ Still, this took its toll on his own wife as well, like my own mother. The fact remains no matter what we have endured in our lives or are enduring, we all have our own ‘outs’ and yes Maryann, I WILL tell you dad’s story … in person

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