As I stood beside his gravestone and looked across the valley to the fall-colored mountains, I recognized the moment. This moment was supposed to happen. Serendipity. Providential. Whatever it may be, it was right and good. As I read his words to those gathered, it was a familar sense. Words from an age before that when loosed into the air again have power to shape future. Prophetic words. Offered with the palatable taste of a poet. Once spoken, their influence works deep within the soul; stirring new realities from an old story.
Remember: A collection of words by John W. Hawkinson
“The persistence of memory is an exalted thing. Memory is like a wonderful picture show; go ahead, choose your era. Imagine it. While 1828 is far the best, try 1928 right now…
It’s a balmy night in 1928. Without any promises to keep, you’re traveling up old route 9W on the west side of Dutchman’s river, headed north. You’re roaring ahead in a Model L Lincoln Phaeton or a Packard Roadster with its well-engineered purr of mighty cylinders from motordoms golden age.
The road is all yours, as is the night itself, pierced by rays from two huge nickeled brass drum headlights. Your passenger is not only accustomed to, but thoroughly at home with, a strong rush of cool air whipping through her golden tresses, resembling a maiden of the mist, a madonna of freedom and youth.
The road takes me past the Catskills, past the towns of congenial taste and the stave, quiet, dark timbers of estates; past farms and apple orchards; through the smell of fresh morning hay; the sound of cricket’s music with all the ways of life that seemed to fit.
The night ride continues on into the darkness, beyond the little glowing lights like a symphony of pre-determined harmony. You knew no matter where you were headed, you HAD already arrived. For materialism, if you’re going to have to have it, should be at its best. That’s how it was in those days. In 1928.
But today, this is the shifting era of too much, too much of everything. What once was so good is being suffocated, stifled, drowned, broken and buried for want of more. Not through wild political notions or insidious forms of government, but through want alone man has defined his own purpose; and through want alone man will lose their identity, their freedoms, their elbow room and that wonderful sanity in being part of a well-ordered harmony.
What is this world becoming? Too many people, with too many goods, commodities and services. Over-production, greed, vanity, gullibility, strategic insanity, technological ignorance, religious paranoia, lack of compassion, forgotten humility, and an inability to see the poor and meek.
It may be that through want alone the world will end, not with a bang, but a whimper of want.
So, may we remember the simpler way of 1928 and choose to live toward it today. Uncluttered, with the simplicity of less; the enjoyment of quality and refined congeniality. And when we can’t see it clearly in the present; may we remember.”
May we remember John W. Hawkinson.