Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The View From a Little, Green Park Bench - 9-23-09 Editor's Column

The places we go and the things we experience there have a funny way of resonating throughout the courses of our lives.

We always remember some of the tiniest details about places we have been based on how good or how bad the memories we have there are.

For example, I lived in Champaign until I was five years old before moving to Mahomet, and the things I remember about the house I used to live in often astound me.

I recall the stairs just inside the front door and time that I tried to mimic the movie Home Alone and sledded down them in a suitcase.

At the opposite corner of the room - the family room - was where we always put the Christmas tree and I would magically find the presents my parents had stayed up all night wrapping to keep me believing in Santa for one more year.

From there, we would walk through a doorway that led to the kitchen on the left, with a view of the backyard.

And, my personal favorite spot, was the sand pit that I would play in for hours on the west side of the house. Many G.I. Joes fought bravely there.

And that’s just the beginning of this iceberg that so many of us call life.

Recently, I added another location to the many that fill my mind as important places in my life, and this one has the simplest of demeanors: It is a two-seat, green, shaky park bench.

It’s located here in town and I had the opportunity to sit on it earlier this week, as I have so many times throughout the last year, and enjoy good conversation with good people.

The reason this simple bench resonates so much with me now is because even the best memories we have - the ones that stick out to you the most for whatever reason - don’t have to come from time spent on vacation or away from home.

Sometimes the best memories are made in places where you have good friends and good conversations.

I know for a fact that I’ve had some great conversations sitting on that simple bench, and that conversely, some of the conversations I’ve shared there have been about sensitive topics.

However, I can say with confidence that I’ve learned a great deal about myself and about people and my thoughts on them just based on the conversations I’ve shared there.

For those of you who know about the bench I’m referring to, the next time you sit down for a conversation there, think about how that conversation might open up new doors in your life, new windows in your views and new paths to your train of thought. Just make sure you don’t forget where it took place.

Whatever the case, and wherever the conversation takes place this week - green park bench or not - make sure you enjoy the view.

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