“your last ride”

 

Three months ago, I took a one week trip by train to the Midwest to attend a cultural event in Milwaukee. I had never been to the Midwest before (except for a one day business trip).

I spent time in both Milwaukee and Chicago.

I had always wanted to see Chicago. An acquaintance of mine who traveled a lot in his business career told me that it was not a particularly interesting city.

I found that it was a great place to visit. Milwaukee was less interesting, but pleasant.

Anyway, what I wish to mention in this post is that I met a fellow on the train who is in his early 40’s. We struck up a friendship over a long conversation during breakfast in the cafeteria car. We have managed since to keep in touch.

He has a day job, but has aspirations to become a writer. He is desirous of feedback from me about his writing and advice about how to start a blog.

We tried to touch base over the holidays but kept missing each other. He lives in Ohio, but he has family in New York City and visits here often.

I got a phone call from him today. During our conversation — pleasant as usual — we inquired about one another.

I told him that I was doing very well absent the usual problems that seem always to crop up in one’s life, like burdocks. You can’t be rid of them, it seems; there’s never any respite.

He laughed, in his usual good natured way. His reply was: “When you no longer have problems, you’re ready for your last ride.” He said this was how a friend of his put it.

Having problems, he said, is part of life; it means that you are ALIVE.

I loved the way he put it. “Your last ride,” to the cemetery. It may be a common expression, but I had never head it before.

Last ride. Problems are a part of life – intrinsic. Having and experiencing them mean that you are not, by the grace of God, dead.

I loved the thought and the choice of words.

 

— Roger W. Smith

      January 14, 2017

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts a websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin.
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