Maybe Once, But Not Now


I just heard a song, really listened to it, that struck home like a sledge hammer ringing soundly as it strikes a spike. I don’t know why. I’ve heard the song many times before. Today, however, something must have been different.

At eighteen I knew what I wanted and where I was going in the world. A skinny kid with a dream, that’s what I was. A hayseed, straight off the farm. I had a dream and I knew I was destined to reach it. I was going to save the world from itself.

Somewhere along the way that dream faded into a misty cloud, disappearing into nothingness.

Yes, I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. A time of change for our nation, our people, and the world. I knew the country needed me and I was prepared to charge into the changing times. Little did I know.

It’s been many years. Voluntarily, I served three years in the military. Even did a little time in Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam debacle. Too many years in a 911 center, and I’d had enough. I guess there were too many people asking for help that they didn’t need. And, then there were the people needing help I could not deliver.

After all these years, that dream of an eighteen year old has become the regrets of a man much closer to the end than he is to the beginning. I look back at the long road behind me, and know that road ahead is much shorter.

It’s been more than twenty years, but the words of this song still ring true. I’m going to let them tell my story. It’s pretty straightforward. I think maybe each of us can see ourselves in these lyrics. I just know, for me, I’m not a rock. Maybe once, but not now.

Like A Rock

(Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band)

Stood there boldly
Sweatin’ in the sun
Felt like a million
Felt like number one
The height of summer
I’d never felt that strong
Like a rock

I was eighteen
Didn’t have a care
Working for peanuts
Not a dime to spare
But I was lean and
Solid everywhere
Like a rock

My hands were steady
My eyes were clear and bright
My walk had purpose
My steps were quick and light
And I held firmly
To what I felt was right
Like a rock

Like a rock, I was strong as I could be
Like a rock, nothin’ ever got to me
Like a rock, I was something to see
Like a rock

And I stood arrow straight
Unencumbered by the weight
Of all these hustlers and their schemes
I stood proud, I stood tall
High above it all
I still believed in my dreams

Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
twenty years
I don’t know
I sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone
And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall

Like a rock. standin’ arrow straight
Like a rock, chargin’ from the gate
Like a rock, carryin’ the weight
Like a rock
Like a rock, the sun upon my skin
Like a rock, hard against the wind
Like a rock, I see myself again
Like a rock

Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.