Wednesday, June 29, 2005

About That Last Picture

I posted that last picture on June 28th even as I was thinking about it. Of the six ROTC cadets in the picture, I am still in regular contact with two of them—and those two are among the top four male friends I have. That’s what my reflections on that picture center upon.

It has been about thirty-six years since that picture was taken. Each of us has gone in different directions. And yet, when we communicate now, there are times that it seems like we are back at the University of Kentucky, sitting around one of our apartments, and solving the problems of the world.

As I reflected upon that picture, the words of Bob Dylan recorded about five years before the picture was taken keep going through my mind:

While riding on a train goin' west,
I fell asleep for to take my rest.
I dreamed a dream that made me sad,
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had.

With half-damp eyes I stared to the room
Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon,
Where we together weathered many a storm,
Laughin' and singin' till the early hours of the morn.

By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung,
Our words were told, our songs were sung,
Where we longed for nothin' and were quite satisfied
Talkin' and a-jokin' about the world outside.

With haunted hearts through the heat and cold,
We never thought we could ever get old.
We thought we could sit forever in fun
But our chances really was a million to one.

As easy it was to tell black from white,
It was all that easy to tell wrong from right.
And our choices were few and the thought never hit
That the one road we traveled would ever shatter and split.

How many a year has passed and gone,
And many a gamble has been lost and won,
And many a road taken by many a friend,
And each one I've never seen again.

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
That we could sit simply in that room again.
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat,
I'd give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.

And today I wish—knowing it is in vain—that for just one night we could return to the simplicity that was then!

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