"CY" was Carl, one of my father's three
brothers. He had grown up, gone off to war, fathered five children, and
retired as a vice-president of a large oil company. He had truly made many
more important marks in his life.
I had buried my father three years earlier, and my uncle Carl had passed
away five years before that. Their father had been gone for over twenty
years. But in that single instant, all their memories came flooding back
I can only imagine what was going through my uncle Carl's mind that day
long ago in his childhood when he made his mark on his father's big oak desk.
I'm sure that his father gave him a stern lecture, and probably inflicted a
quick swat to his behind. There may have even been a missed dinner
But the initials were never removed. By the time I came along, there was a
thick sheet of glass covering the top of the old desk, which prevented
further damage to a well worn top.
The old oak desk survived my grandfather, grandmother, and all four of
sons. They are all gone, but here was this old desk, reaching across the
years to remind me of a time when they were young, and suddenly I connected
with the family long gone. Gone, but still teaching me the ways of fathers
When I was a small child, there was a poem under that thick glass cover on
the old desk. On yellowed newsprint my grandfather had cut and saved,
were eight little lines:
I've four and twenty golden hours
To spend just as I choose,
With no one but myself to blame
For minutes that I lose,
Oh, but then I must remember
Those lost minutes for I see,
There is nothing I can ever do
To bring them back to me.
In my office at home, there is an old oak desk. It has sat for many years
in my office. And carved into the right rear corner, there are still two
faint initials, "CY", that remind me of who I am, where I came from, and
about fathers and sons, and the marks they make on each others' lives. It
reminds me of the marks my son and I make on each others' lives.
And I must remember....
Copyright © 1998 Phil Yantis --- Texas