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Chuck Hinman IJM No. 306: Picture It!

A timeless story, as relevant here as in Oklahoma, where Chuck Hinman wrote it, about a phenonemal gift of God, to imagine so vividly even when eyesight, with age, is failing
Next earlier Chuck Hinman story, Depression Days Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at:

by Chuck Hinman

As the days roll by here at Tallgrass Estates, it seems I am fully satisfied spending more and more time in my recliner, not reading or watching TV but just reminiscing the events that come to mind of a long and fulfilled life. I have pictures out my ears but I rarely refer to them. My best reminiscing is done when I have the TV turned off and lean back in my recliner and just let my mind wander through 83 well-lived years. I am constantly reminded of how good God has been to me over the years. My body parts are showing signs of wear but I don't hurt. My mind is debatably sharp so that I could live forever on memories.

I have been amazed at how God has equipped my mind so that I can picture in detail through my mind's eye events that happened so long ago. And what a joy that brings as I wait for the Lord to call me home.

Like for example -- my mind's eye picture of Paul when he lost his first tooth. I remember the incident like it was yesterday, but where, oh where can the picture be?

A men's breakfast at Jack's Lighthouse Restaurant, with Paul

Paul, our son is so precious to me! I reminisce fondly of the many Saturday mornings when just he and I left the house early without the women tagging along to have a men's breakfast at Jack's Lighthouse Cafe. Everyone made over him and I was so proud to be his Dad! I still picture those special mornings in my mind's eye!

Or the time our daughter Mary Ann returned from that gymnastics trip to Texas with a ton of medals and ribbons around her neck. She was seven years old. My mind's eye was busy snapping pictures of this joyous occasion!

I can envision that big chartered bus rumbling up Highway 75 and dropping that little tyke off to her cheering family on the shoulder of the highway. I even remember how she was dressed -- in a little skirt and sweater. She was so cute and so tiny beside that big bus! And there was the big sign we had prepared at the last minute proclaiming to the world what was going on in our hearts... WELCOME HOME, MARY ANN, WE LOVE YOU! I don't know where the pictures are but I don't really need them when I can picture in my mind's eye this special occasion! I can almost smell the diesel fumes as they pulled her luggage out of the luggage compartment! That's what you call "memories" and they make my days at Tallgrass Estates just unbelievably wonderful!

That big rainbow trout that got away

And what about that big rainbow trout that I had for a minute, "the one that got away"! It was on one of our many camping trips in the headwaters of the Rio Grand River in the San Juan Mountains near Creede, Colorado. I remember it so clearly but we never got a picture. Dang! It was a whopper! Oh, yes, there is a picture! God thought of everything! He captured it in my mind's eye. And even though my eye sight is taking a pounding by AMD or age related macular degeneration, my mind's eye is unscathed by problems of the body.

And even though my precious Connie, my sweetheart to whom I was married over 50 years has been gone for a little over two years, my mind's eye helps me to remember like it was yesterday -- the day I first became almost certain that she was in the early stages of dreaded Alzheimer's Disease!

It was in 1987 and I was returning from a trip. Whenever I was gone for a few days, Connie greeted me on my return with a plate of fresh-baked Ranger Cookies, my favorite! She was busy stirring-up the cookies when I walked in the kitchen. As I kissed her I noticed tears in her eyes. I was stunned, this was to be a happy occasion, and I was home! What's wrong sweetie?

My mind's eye was rapidly snapping pictures for times like now as I am writing this. Between sobs, she said she had started making the cookies and couldn't remember where she was on the recipe. She was totally undone! I could tell by the look in her eyes that my fears of Alzheimer's disease for her were almost a certainty!

That snapshot which confirmed beloved wife's illness

I didn't do a very good job of chronicling the path of her illness -- but I do have this mind's eye snapshot of how she looked that day as she was breaking the news to me of something I was expecting. No snapshot would have come close to the picture I have in my mind's eye. They are called "memories." Some are even sad.

Thank you God for thinking of everything to enrich the golden years of this old geezer! But it's just like you to do something like that!
Chuck Hinman, former Nebraska farm boy, spent his working days with Phillips Petroleum Company in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Houston, Texas. He lives at Tallgrass Estates in Bartlesville where he keeps busy writing his memories.

This story was posted on 2009-09-06 03:38:51
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