Biographical Non-Fiction posted July 30, 2019


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This was my last conversation with my son.

Changing Times

by Susan Larson

Non-Fiction Writing Contest Contest Winner 
He came home from school as usual and sat down at the counter.

"We had the neatest discussion in school today," he said. "The last Confederate War veteran died in 1959. It's so awesome to think he fought a war with a rifle packed with gunpowder and lived to see atomic weapons. He fought a war with cannons and lived to see the ICBM. It would be so awesome to be born in a special time like that. No matter how long I live I will never see changes like that."

"No," I said, "but there are always changes we now can't imagine. And you're only talking about technological changes. Think of all the other kinds of changes there are."

"I know, but historically, that was still an extra special time," he went on.

"But there are different ways of being born in special times, "I said. "Remember the time I took you and your brothers and your great grandpa to Fernbank Science Center to see Halley's Comet? It was the first time for you and the second time for your great grandpa? You were only three, but I explained to all of you that only people born in special periods or 'pockets of time' were able to see it twice.

"Neither Dad and I nor your grandparents or your children could do that. And someday, you and both of your brothers might be able to see it a second time along with your great grandchildren and then someday, they with theirs. In terms of time, I think that's pretty special," I said.

"Special time doesn't have to be in one fell swoop where you witness consecutive events all in a row. Special time can come in those little 'pockets' that allow you to see in a circular way, weaving your past in with your future along with your own family. Considering when that Confederate War veteran was born, you know he wasn't able to do that."

He looked at me and nodded, his big brown eyes intense with thought as though he liked what I'd said. You could almost see him envisioning the return of the comet, anticipating that special time.

A few hours later he headed out to the car he'd spent two years working for at his after-school job at Dunkin' Donuts.

"I'm going out with Matt and Doug. I might spend the night at Matt's. I'll call and let you know."

A few minutes after midnight my husband and I looked at the clock. He should have called by now. He was always good about that. He must be having fun and lost track of time. Surely, he'll call soon.

About 12:20 the doorbell rang. Four policemen asked to come in.

"Do you have a son who drives a Nissan 240X?" began the questioning.

"Yes," I replied.

After a few more questions concerning his physical appearance, one of the policemen knelt before me, took my hand, and said, "I'm the police chaplain. Your son was in a car accident and did not survive."

"No matter how long I live I will never see changes like that."

"No, but there are always changes we now can't imagine."












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© Copyright 2021. Susan Larson All rights reserved.
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