It was a moment one can only describe as profound. We were driving northeast on Pacetti Road thinking about the recent visit of the grandkids. All of a sudden, the realization hit us like a runaway logging truck hurtling down an Alabama dirt road.
Ardis made a comment about her young grandson, something about when he reached the age of 30. We both quickly did the math in our heads and suddenly, we seemed to be looking at the logging truck as it bore down on us.
The youngster will reach 30 years old in a little more than 25 years. We looked at each other with the sudden and shocking realization of just how short two and a half decades really is in comparison to lifetimes.
“His mother was only two or three years old just yesterday,” Ardis said. Then she added, “Well, maybe it was last week.”
The meaning of her statement did not escape me. When you are young, the passage of time has very little meaning and for the most part, you are unaware of its passing. When you’re young, you are too busy living your life to notice it slipping by. You have your career, your family, and other important occasions happening all around.
Sometimes, something will happen in your life that will remind you our time here is temporary, and limited. These are the events such as the passing of a grandparent, the loss of a friend to an accident, or some other similar occasion. Still, many of us do not get the message until later in our lives.
As we continued driving down Pacetti Road, I thought about how quickly time passes and wondered about the coincidences in life. For instance, take Pacetti Road. The appropriate authorities named the road for the Pacetti family. I am a descendant of those Pacettis. I can trace my roots back to Cuba, Spain, and England. One of my great grand aunts came to Saint Augustine and married a Triay and one of those descendants married a Pacetti. From what I have researched, our family owned about 500 acres of land in the Saint Johns County area at one time.
In continued research of our families, Ardis and I discovered our respective families always seemed to live near one another over the last couple hundreds of years. She and I lived in Tampa, as did our parents. Our grandparents lived near one another in Cardenas, Cuba and both our families go back to the same small town in Northern Spain. (This we discovered just last night through Ancestry.com.)
As we continue the research, I question how our two families can cross paths so many times—over the centuries. And how is it that she and I connect in Florida.
After all this, I begin to wonder why there are those who we cross in our lifetimes with whom we share an instant “connection.” Did we perhaps play as children in another lifetime? Is it possible we worked together somewhere else? Were we together in another land far away?
These are incredibly overwhelming thoughts.
Yes, when we are young, we have no perspective as to the length of the year or a decade, or a lifetime. It is only by studying our family from previous eras that we can begin to realize the importance of time. Only then, when you comprehend how short 100 years can be, can you put perspective on time and assign it importance.
As we turned onto Highway 16 and continued thinking about time, I wondered if we would be around when the boy turned 30. It was odd thinking of his parents at our age, and Ardis and I reaching the age of her parents now.
©2012 J. Clark
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