Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

October 23, 2013

Recalling the indelible moments of our lives

By Keith Kappes - Publisher
Journal-Times

Oct. 23, 2013 —     The dictionary defines “indelible” as “unable to be forgotten; memorable.”

    Each of us has experienced indelible moments in our lives, sometimes without realizing it at the time.

    I relive one of mine each time I take my family on vacation and watch the moonlit Atlantic Ocean surf roll onto the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

    My mind races back more than 50 years as I recalled seeing the ocean for the first time as an awestruck young boy on a family vacation in South Carolina.

    Some of our indelible memories we share with millions of others like where we were and what we were doing when President Kennedy was assassinated or when the hijacked planes hit the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon on 9-11.

    Seeing my first child a few minutes after his birth was a thrill to be repeated seven times.

    Fortunately, the hospital changed its maternity policy after the first two and I had a front row seat for the last six, even though my wife still claims I was the worst Lamaze coach ever.

    As a lifelong fan of Elvis Presley, I even remember that I was helping mow grass at a cemetery when the world learned of his untimely death.

    I was sitting at my desk in a newspaper office late one night when my editor asked if I knew someone from my hometown who had just been reported killed in action in Vietnam. It was my best friend from childhood.

    I had seen persons die before but that did not prepare me for the emotional impact of holding my dear mother’s hand and feel it turn cold as she completed her life’s journey.

    I sat transfixed for eight hours in a waiting room at the University of Louisville Hospital while a team of surgeons were trying to save my friend’s life by replacing his cancerous esophagus with a section of his colon.

    The operation worked but the deadly disease already had spread throughout his body. He died seven months later.

    I remember my first airplane trip at age 16. I was excited but my grandmother slept through the entire flight.

    My first byline in a real newspaper was an adrenaline rush and today I enjoy seeing the same thrill on the faces of new reporters.

    As I reflect on these and other indelible moments of my own life, I am convinced that William Faulkner was right when he wrote:

    “The past is never dead, it is not even past.”