‘Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.’ Albert Einstein
My buddy, Steve, and I were texting, last evening, and we both commented on the swiftness of time.
I began working at Southern Illinois University on October 10, 1978 and Steve began working for the University nine months later.
Steve noted, that when he and I began our SIU’ careers…we were the youngest members of the department.
It seems that everyone with whom I speak regarding the return of the Christmas Season says the same thing…how did it get here so quickly?
It was just yesterday that Mary Jane and I were putting up our first Christmas Tree, a full seven foot tall model, and hanging all of the new ornaments that we had purchased to adorn it and wrapping the Christmas gifts for our new baby, Aaron,…Jonathon had yet to make his appearance on the Stage.
I was hoping and praying that I could become a foreman in Building Services…as there were not many of them and I knew that the additional money would greatly aid our little family.
We attended church services on Thursday night and Saturday night and twice on Sunday.
To this day…I think in scriptures…and I am pleased that I do.
I remember Reverend Hazelip, from Texas, who visited our little church so many years ago.
He said that all of life is a stage and we are players upon it…’So play your part well!’
I recall, one Christmas Season, after Christmas Day. We did not have much money and we did not have many groceries in the house and I had received a Texas Instrument Computer and a used portable black and white television to display the computer on.
I was reading a book on Hunger in America and it was cold in our little drafty house and…I was a little hungry.
When I became a foreman in Building Services an African American Building Service Worker told me that he believed that I had come from humble beginnings and that he thought that I was a young man who had fallen on his knees and asked God to help him.
The gentleman who told me this…was so right.
Mary Jane and I visited the Paducah Art Colony, one Christmas Season, several years ago.
We entered Nancy Calcutt’s Studio and fell in love with a pastel of a young woman with a large hat.
Later, we were riding in the horse drawn Christmas Carriage that was driven by, Jay who is another artist in Paducah, and Nancy joined us for the ride.
The combination of our first Calcutt’ Pastel and the Christmas Carriage ride and the connection that we felt with Nancy and her husband Charlie…propelled us on our love of Original Art or Fine Art.
I recall, celebrating the Christmas Season with our dear friends, Jo Ann and Peter, and our exchange of gifts…shortly before Christmas.
Jo Ann and Peter had a magnificent Christmas Tree…such as I have never seen.
And it was adorned with the most unique and rare and antique ornaments and I marveled at it.
Jo Ann made the most excellent Italian Coffee for us. And, I liked it…almost to much.
We spoke of adventures to come and our friendship and our love for SIU.
I remember Christmas with Mom and Dad…and Laughing Santa and the love that I felt and the security and joy of the Season…and the smells that were unique and special to the event.
Mom looked like a model and Dad made me think of John Wayne.
I was happy and I knew that life was going to be wonderful and complete and happy and fulfilling…and you know what…it has!
The Jay Brooks that you see at sixty years old…is the culmination of all of the experiences that I have had over those 60 years.
‘When I consider they heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.’ Psalm 8: 3-5
‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,’
As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [All the world’s a stage] William Shakespeare