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home : opinions : commentary April 29, 2016

5/29/2013 8:33:00 AM
The good (and not so good) old days

Matt Santos

This past week was one that many local teens will never forget - the day they graduated high school.

Some will enter into the workforce, some will further their education, while others are planning on a little relaxation before heading into the next phase of their lives.

I attended three graduations in as many days, and too many to count over the years, but I still remember almost every detail of my own, nearly 30 years ago.

There was the excitement of change, sadness in knowing it might be years before seeing some of my friends again and, of course, the hopes, dreams and opportunities that were in front of me.

Yep, even now I'm thinking of all the great things I've accomplished over the years ... OK ... give me a minute ... still thinking.

Alright, I got it. There was that time I rescued ... Oh, wait that wasn't me. Oh - in 1991 - I ... no, that wasn't me either.

I know. When I was in college in 1985 and started to ... no, wait ... I never got around to finishing that either.

Maybe I should start out with the not-so-great things I've accomplished over the years.

I once set out to make a table. In my head it was going to be this strong, stable piece of furniture that would be passed on from generation to generation. Of course, not being the handiest guy in the world, what I ended up with was a wobbly plank on four sticks.

This was kind of a letdown for me, because in my family a fella was expected to know a little somethin' about building stuff. My brother was a carpenter, most of my uncles were carpenters, both of my grandfathers were carpenters.

Me? I was not. As a matter of fact, I was the opposite of a carpenter.

In an attempt to get rid of the wobble, I shaved a little bit off one leg. That didn't work, so I cut a little off another leg. Then another, and then another.

What I ended up with was a very large chunk of wood. But I will tell you, when you laid that chunk of wood flat on the floor, it didn't wobble a bit.

So, in a sense, I did create something - two things really:

1 - A very large cutting board, and

2 - Some nice firewood.

Then there was the time I tried my hand at farming. Well, not so much farming, per se, more like I planted a tree once.

I had an aunt who, way back in the olden days, took an avocado pit, planted it, watered it, and many years later, had a huge avocado tree that filled her back yard. My dad was the type of guy who could grow anything - our yard was filled with lush plants, trees and bushes.

So, taking a cue from Auntie Lupe and my dad, I decided several years ago that I too would grow an avocado tree.

This inspiration came after polishing off a whole bowl of guacamole, which in itself is quite the accomplishment. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from finishing the last of the dip with the last chip. It takes patience and expert timing, two things I've been working on for


Anyway, back to my little avocado plant. For those of you who weren't aware, the avocado (a fruit or large berry to be more precise) is officially known as Persea Americana - I called mine Percy for short. If you have ever tasted an avocado or listened to Percy Faith's "Theme for Young Lovers" you won't ask why.

Pure heaven, both of them.

The tradition I started with my table carried on when I dropped my jacket on Percy, breaking his spine. The only difference is he was too small to burn.

I guess I haven't really accomplished much.

Is that a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not.

When I think of all the hopes and dreams I once had, the desire to put my mark on society, it all fades away when I compare it to the satisfaction that comes from eating some chips in front of a fire.

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