Change, and life, is good

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It wasn't exactly Nadal vs. Federer, but my brother and I went to war on that tennis court.

Things change so quickly. I know, I know. Of course, they do. That’s life. But that hit me today as I sat alone for a few quiet, peaceful minutes surveying the small town I spent much of my life in.

As I looked at an aging park across the street to the west, I thought, “Damn, it’s been 20 years since Dan (my brother) and I played tennis in that park.” The tennis court is a skating park now. It has been for years. Man did we have some wars on that court.

I remember my first trip to that park, which was and is essentially a few swings, merry-go-round and some picnic tables. Back then, the park was loaded with trees. I remember sitting under one talking to a friend, also a freshman, who was dating a senior who really wasn’t a nice guy.

I expect the A&E production trucks to pull up any day to shoot an episode of "Hoarders."

I looked across the street to the north, at an old house that has transformed from nice to something straight out of “Hoarders.” Seriously, who keeps a washing machine in the front yard?

I looked across the street to the west again, to the senior apartments that have been there forever. Not much has changed there, which makes sense.

Not bad for one guy who had a heart attack two weeks ago and another who weighed 310 pounds two years ago.

I thought about cutting wood with my dad earlier in the day. How just a few weeks ago, he was in the hospital after a heart attack. Today, he’s picking up 75-pound stumps, cutting wood, hauling brush, keeping pace with a healthy son 31 years younger than him.

I also thought about where I was a few years ago. Cutting wood wouldn’t have been possible. Neither would picking up 100-pound trunks. Getting to that point after being so pathetically out of shape didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of a lifetime, it didn’t take long.

Then I looked to the south and saw my mentor, my high school English and journalism teacher, walking home. I thought about how she was the first person to call me when I decided to leave Kansas State and come home. Good lord … that was 16 years ago.

Change is great.

She was walking with her family, her daughter, granddaughter and two grandsons. Then I smiled. That’s my family. I literally laughed out loud as I thought about high school, how the girlfriend and I barely knew each other.

It hit me again: Hell, we barely knew each other 18 months ago. She was the hot girl from high school who happened to be related to my favorite teacher and a really good friend (her sister). I was the “star pupil” (her words, not mine) who her mom talked about.

A year after we started dating, I can’t believe all the wonderful changes time has brought. It’s happened so fast. That’s life. And I’m grateful to have a good one.

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