May’s the month of the Kentucky Derby, but it’s also the month of many who’ve never seen the inside of a Thoroughbred stall, much less Millionaire’s Row at Churchill Downs.
“Love whose month is ever May,” wrote Shakespeare, who understood a thing or two about human nature, a thing or two, in fact, about preserving personal histories.
So, the idea is to move beyond the first Saturday in May, whether or not you have a winning ticket, past Shakespeare, too, to another richness beyond compare.
We’re talking about you and your family—mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles, and all those other critters who howl and meow at the moon.
Keeping a journal is not for everybody, but The View from Plum Lick holds it out as a new habit worth considering. It won’t guarantee a better day at the track, and Shakespeare will hardly be disturbed. He might even be proud.
Why do it?
Because we’re more than another entry on a page of vital statistics. Each of us is as important as any other bursting bough of May. None of us is perfect, yet keeping a journal as honestly and completely as we might dare is essential in our quest for knowledge about who and where we are, where we might be heading, and where we might have been.
A hardbound diary is recommended. Scraps of paper are lost too easily. Daily entries are steps well-taken. Writing on the leading edge of life is exciting, never mind the spelling or the grammatical correctness. Time spent away from manufactured “entertainment” becomes a priceless moment of better truth.
What were Mother and Father, Grandmother and Grandfather really like? Were they betrayed? Were they often in the wrong place at the wrong time doing what turned out to be the wrong thing? Let them have their secrets, their wish-it-weren’t so’s, but breathe life unto what might have been their sweetest dreams. And may each of us add to those possibilities without being judgmental.
We are the sum of all those who’ve gone before, are we not? We’ve all made mistakes, and we’ll likely make some more. In the homestretch what matters most is staying on course and never, never, never giving up.
So, here on Plum Lick, we give thanks for another merry, merry month of May. No maybes about it. Winter is behind us. Summer waits patiently. Another year flies by.
Some of the best medicine is keeping a family record. Chances are hardly any of us will win a Nobel Prize, but that’s not the point.
A life lived well as we learn each day to keep it simpler and saner, that is our security. That is the inheritance we leave for the next generations.
Oh, to be a community, a nation, and a civilization caring enough to remember and be remembered.