“Someday,” Daddy used to say often as I was growing up, “I’m going to the Holy Land. I want to walk where Jesus walked.”
He talked about it a lot and dreamed about it even more. In those days, before the world was presented to us wrapped up in a passel of knowledge known as the Internet, Daddy bought big maps of that storied land. They were gingerly rolled up and tied with a ribbon after each time he spread them out on the kitchen table and studied them like a child studying a new game. Sometimes, he carried the maps with him and showed them to other people, pointing out key points of interest in the life of Christ or the path that the Apostle Paul had traveled. He treated them as a precious treasure, and so they were — they represented his dream.
“How are you gonna get there?” I, 12 or 13 at the time, asked one day from the back seat of the car as he talked to Mama about it. Daddy didn’t fly. Never stepped on an airplane in his life, and he wasn’t about to start. Even for Jesus.
“I’ll take a ship,” he replied. In World War II, he had served in the Navy in the South Pacific, so he liked ships — not a boat, mind you — a lot. Planes, he reasoned, just weren’t necessary when you could drive, ride a train or a take a ship anywhere you wanted to go.
He said it often.
“Mark my words, I’m gonna see the Holy Land before I die. Someday.” It is the only time he ever laid down a declaration with “mark my words” that it didn’t happen. I can’t tell you why he never went, except that I suspect it had to do with the cost. Whenever Daddy set his mind to something, he would work hard until the money had been earned to do it. However, it would have taken a lot of dollars to take a ship to the Holy Land, and most probably my daddy — a survivor of what he often called “Hoover Days,” known to others as the Great Depression — just couldn’t justify the expenditure. My parents, admirably, I now realize, always lived as though another Depression was lying just around the corner.
“What if times get hard again?” Mama asked repeatedly. “You gotta be ready.”
I suspect that’s why someday never came for Daddy’s trip to the Holy Land. And that makes me sad. He wanted it so much. He worked so hard. And he gave so much to those around him that he deserved to have that dream. I wish I hadn’t been so caught up in my life that I didn’t realize that one day he just stopped talking about “someday.” Though I was still struggling myself in those days, perhaps I could have persuaded him to keep looking forward to that “someday.” Now, if he were still alive and wanted to go, I would give him my savings or work another job to make it happen.
I hate to say that I didn’t realize then how much “someday” meant to him.
But really? Isn’t it that way for us all? We each talk of something that we’re going to do “someday.” Mama left me a few dollars she had squirreled away and now I have tucked them away, saying often, “Someday, I’m going to use that money to put in a little waterfall on that hill behind the house so that every time I see it, I will remember how Mama flowed through my life.”
I’ve been saying that for five years now. Every spring that rolls around, I declare that I need to do it, but I put it off until winter’s freeze rolls in and it’s tabled again.
I sure hope that my someday doesn’t wind up like Daddy’s.
Rich is the author of “There’s A Better Day A-Comin.’” Go to www.rondarich.com to sign up for her newsletter.