Every summer John, Laurie and I have gone to South Lake Tahoe the second week of September for over twenty-five years. None of the three of us has missed a single summer, even though there have been deaths and funerals which have saddened and truncated some of those lovely times. Over the years many of our friends have joined us, but as the years have passed these two guys have aged into their late 80s and I, who used to envy them because they could get the senior discounts at our casino eating feasts, now I get the senior meals, which are far too big for me and I resent having to pay for food I leave on the plate.
Over that quarter century all of us have lost the sparkle we once had. Both of these guys were once engineers at Stanford University and so they were no dummies when I first met them, but now we are all so slowed by age that various things like the computer world are a challenge well beyond our ability to keep up with even the basics. Even young people are complaining of the information overload, but they grew up with that glut as part of their way of life. It was just the way the world was. We older guys mostly thought of the onslaught of information as a passing thing, and when it first started happening we just concentrated on more real things like books and newspapers to keep us up to date. I always made more of an attempt to stay with the technical flow than they did. My first computer was a Commodore 64, and then I moved over to DOS 3.0 and remember wondering at one time if it was worth the effort to move up to DOS 3.1, and whether that would be an end of computer innovation. How quaint and antiquated all that seems now. I literally typed in the code for a word processor, from a computer magazine, into that first computer. And it worked! That processor didn’t have all the little perks, like a spell checker, but it was a great improvement over a typewriter because it was easy to go back and change things. Typing speed was just as fast as with my current keyboard.
Times have changed! I suspect that the three of us would find our lives more similar to the people vacationing in Lake Tahoe back in 1880 than those young people up there today. That is probably why we like going up there – it’s a longed for memory of a wilderness experience that our grandparents had and we harken back to.
This photo of Laurie and John reminds me of the Roman god Janus which faces the future and the past at the same time. It is the eternal now always looking both ways. Every time we have gone there we thought it would be the last time. Someday that will be true, but we are already beginning to think about the coming September and the quiet times in our cabin and on the lake shore and our feasts at the casinos.