I did something this week I have never done in my entire life.
I did something I thought I would never ever do. Something that some folks who knew me in my youth would say, "what's got into you, you did what?" It could cause shock among some who have known me all my life. I must say I was not or am not embarrassed by it but even I am a bit surprised.
The last time I was home I walked a street that I often walked. Earlier in the day I had driven on probably the most popular street in the growing up years of many youth in the late 50s' in my home town, Wabash Avenue. After going from Third Street to out by one of the old drive-in car hop places (Henri's) and then back I parked my car and went looking for a coffee place. Sitting in the coffee shop I noticed across the street a statue that had been placed there long after I had left town. It is at the corner of 7th and Wabash. It is a statue of a man sitting on a bench. Sitting on the bench, legs crossed with pen and pad in hand. After leaving the coffee shop I went over and I even sat a bit with the man.
The statue is of one of the city's (Terre Haute, Indiana) famous people from the past. Max Erhamn. Erhamn was a lawyer by education but became a very well known poet. Sadly much of his fame came years after his passing. In 1965 Adli Stevenson, a man who had twice ran for president, died and on his night stand beside his bed was a poem. This poem became the center of attention of the various media. The poem "Desiderata" was written ninety years ago (1927) by Max Erhman Up until that time, 1965 it had not received great attention. Max was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. Since that time the poem has become world famous.
What was it I did today that I have never done before? I bought a book of poetry. "The Desiderata of Happiness." It is a collection of philosophical (you like that word) poems by Max Ehrmann. But now after having done this....I might even do it again.
Below is another of his works.
Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength
that comforted me in the desolation of other times.
May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the
margin of the quite river, when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Through the world know me not, may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
but walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
and keep every burning before my vagrant steps the
kindly light of hope. And though age and infirmity overtake
me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dream,
teach me still to be thankful for life,
and for time's olden memories that are good
and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
August 15, 2016