Saturday, August 18, 2012

I was the winner! Oh yes!

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I was the winner!  Oh yes!
“I am definitely not ready to show the photos yet!” was my statement to myself and my wife.

Hokey Mokey have I ever changed, I was once young and vibrant. I once climbed mountains and was a guide for others. I was always a step or a more ahead of others that I led up that mountain. Yikes… the photos show it only too well.

Today it aint so. I am still vibrant and alive and more than ready to go… I just can’t climb the mountain any more.

Funny enough though… my request made on that mountain those years ago was upon my death, my body was to be cremated and my ashes would be taken to the top of that mountain. 

BUT - As I age rapidly all the people that I asked to do this task with my ashes are also too old and more frail than I am.  That will never happen!

So how did this resolution of not showing the photos come into the mix today?

My daughter asked me to look for a photo of her sitting on top of Lion Rock Mountain in Hong Kong.  That meant digging into the old photo album with the loads of snapshots that were printed and my wife has organized into the many albums labeled, “Hong Kong”.

I started opening the albums one by one looking for Lion Rock photos.  Whoa – did I ever come across a bunch!

We must have climbed that mountain a dozen times each year that we lived there!  At least it seemed much that to my daughters – I am sure.

For those of you that don’t know me – we lived in Hong Kong from January 1981 until June 1985. We left Canada in December 1980 and arrived a month later to the wonderful world of South East Asia and all that it had to offer.

Oh the memories that came flooding back with each photo!  Wonderful – wonderful memories with each one.

There in the photos are a much, much younger Murray and Alida Lincoln. Their two daughters were just little kids when they arrived to that brand new world that they would take part in.  The two little girls transformed into beautiful young ladies from the first photo album to the last one. The transformation was amazing to look over again… and again.

Two beautiful young women were developing right under our nose and we had the great joy to take all the photos in all those albums – all 14 of them!

It was in the one photo album when I flipped that one stack of plastic photo holders over... that I saw the most startling photo of all. There I was with my hands raised in a victory pose.  Legs spread apart and hands shooting skyward. My mouth was open as I was shouting a victory shout.

I had made it to the top of Lion Rock again!  Yes! The victory was so sweet. I had earned another Gold Medal in the life of vibrancy and aliveness.  My bright yellow T Shirt with YMCA boldly stamped on it declared my affiliation that day.  I was the winner!  Oh yes!

As I looked at myself in that photo… the jubilation was nothing short of amazing even now…30 years later.

But as I looked at the photo closer there was a striking difference between then and now. I was of so very young.

There was no belly then. I was at least 30+ pounds lighter.

In 1982 if I had tried to get to the top of Lion Rock Mountain in Hong Kong at the speed that I did it then – with a 30+ pound back pack on I would have been not standing there with my hands raised in victory… but rather laying on top of the rock gasping for more air and a huge bottle of water!  I would be looking through groggy eyes at the trail that led downwards – all the way back home… and I would be calling for a helicopter to fetch my from my mountain perch.

It would have been harder too – in 1982 to have added another heavy load of aging to that body.

Good Lord I am tired and almost puffing as I write this now… thinking of what happened to my old body since 1982.

But oh the memories… wonderful memories.

Yesterday I scanned all the photos of my daughters that were in the two albums. I will give these digital treasures to them shortly.

The fun part now is that their own children, Anda’s four boys and Dana’s boy and girl – are all the same age their moms were when they came home from Hong Kong.  Dana was just about 17 – the age of her son.  And Anda was just about 15 ½ years old… close to the age that her two oldest boys are now.

I am sure that my reaction to this bit of photo journalism is because I am old but memories are young.  These two dynamics in my life come crashing at each other and I have to deal with it. Oh boy.

Are you laughing at me?  Go look in the mirror and take look at what happened to you! Take away 30 years and see what you have in your photo.  Gotcha!

BTW If you are on Facebook – someday soon you will see these photos.

Okay… here it is.. the one startling photo of me… the one that I want to stand at the side of my coffin – or urn as the case may be…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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