Today is Monday and for some of us that are lucky enough to have the day off due to the Labor Day holiday, I say, “ Happy Labor Day and enjoy it like none other.” It comes but once a year and it seems that a lot of us get caught up with life and its responsibilities and we all sometimes forget to just stop, breathe and be in the moment. Today is definitely one of those days I intend to “be in the moment” for a couple of reasons.
First…my sister Lora is getting married to a gentleman named Glenn. And from what I have heard from her, Glenn and those around her, she is genuinely excited and hopeful for her future ahead.
Secondly, the seventh of September always holds a special place in my heart, as it is my Mother’s birthday. She would have been a young seventy-two years old today. “Happy Birthday Mom! We miss and love you!”
So while reflecting on what this day means to me and the events that will transpire with my sister's wedding, I also ran across a touching story and lesson to be learned that was written in honor of a thirty year old cartoon strip that we all may know or at least have heard of…Calvin and Hobbes. If you are not familiar with the comic, it simply is a young boy, Calvin, and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, and their adventures together, which are generated from Calvin’s imagination.
I often caught myself reading these books while hanging out with my younger brothers when we were all still young and at home. I always found them to be fun and entertaining. The best thing about reading this comic strip was always the message contained within it…the message generally was one of joy and happiness. I have come to find out over the years, and even though I also "grew up" like Calvin does in the story below, that an imagination goes a long ways...I have conquered many mountains in my day with my imagination...I have leaped tall buildings in a single bound in my imagination...I have become a captain of a ship and sailed the seven seas in my imagination...And during those times when I might feel a bit somber, because I want to be closer to family for events like weddings or birthdays and I can't be there, or realize that my Mom is no longer here with me when I want to call her on her birthday and tell her, "I love you," I take a deep breath, find my imagination once again and quickly remember that anything is possible..."in your dreams."
"IN THE FINAL MINUTES OF LIFE, CALVIN HAS ONE LAST TALK WITH HOBBES...
"Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?"
In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes. God, he was so tired and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife. Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, "Did... did you.... find him?"
"Yes dear," Susie said smiling sadly, "He was in the attic." Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll. Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long.
"I washed him for you," Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband.
"Thank you, Susie." Calvin said. A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia.
"Dear," Calvin said finally. "Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him."
"All right," Susie said. "I'll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I'll be back soon."
Susie kissed her husband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. "I love you," he said.
"And I love you," said Susie. Susie turned and left. Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door.
Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. "Hello Hobbes. It's been a long time hasn't it old pal?"
Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered. "It sure has, Calvin." said Hobbes.
"You... haven't changed a bit." Calvin smiled.
"You've changed a lot." Hobbes said sadly.
Calvin laughed, "Really? I haven't noticed at all. "There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room.
"So... you married Susie Derkins." Hobbes said, finally smiling. "I knew you always like her."
"Shut up!" Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever.
"Tell me everything I missed. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!" Hobbes said, excited.
And so Calvin told him everything. He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grandkids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade, and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause.
"You know... I visited you in the attic a bunch of times." Calvin said.
"But I couldn't see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal." Calvin voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes.
"You grew up old buddy." said Hobbes.
Calvin broke down and sobbed, hugging his best friend. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn't grow up and that we'd be together forever!!"
Hobbes stroked the back of Calvin's hair, or what little was left of it. "But you didn't."
"What do you mean?"
"We were always together... in your dreams…' ”
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