There’s one thing that is guaranteed to brighten my day…an unexpected visit from an old friend. I think most of us would agree that our links to the past – the very roots from where we come – have a way of cutting through the drudgery of our every day lives. For a moment, we forget about deadlines and commitments and drift back to a place where people know us for who we really are. These people ground us, call bullshit on our bullshit, remind us of uncomplicated times and the values with which we were raised.
Today’s unexpected visit was from my dad, Jim Condron. Dad died 31 years ago, but his handsome face is staring at me now from a photo shared on Facebook today by an old friend. There he stands, sometime from the mid-1960’s I’d guess, between two fire trucks, with five of his coworkers in the former Norwood Company 1 Firehouse. (Pictured, second from the left.) Oh, for that head of hair.
I can’t explain the feeling that rushes over me when I see old photos of my parents, or when I have dreams about them…subconscious visits from some other place. Both are gone now, which is why these unexpected visits leave me numb, in a void where nothing exists except them and me, frozen in a moment as I look into their eyes and recall how comforting it felt to have them in my life, right there.
The coincidence of seeing that photo today was not lost on me. It’s September 11, 2015. We all know about September 11, a date that made us more aware of the sacrifices of firefighters, paramedics, police and other first responders. A date that reminds us how quickly life can be extinguished. But it’s also a date that should make us feel closer to those who are still a part of our lives.
You know what you need to do. Brighten someone’s day. Be the unexpected visitor that makes a difference. No better time than now.
September 11, 2015