“Last Time For Everything”

Using a fake ID at a college bar

Getting caught with a girl in the backseat of a car

Running out on the field for the senior game wearing number 17

There’s a last time for everything

THS~vs~St. Joe 129Little did Nolan realize on that Friday when he took the field, wearing number 17 on Senior’s Night against Pioneer Valley High School, that it truly would be the last time he would call a play in the huddle. In the third quarter he suffered a concussion, a journey to the emergency room was how we ended the evening. He didn’t get to suit-up for the last league game in Nipomo. Due to the loss the Eagles suffered, the team did not make the play offs, and Nolan’s’ days of grid iron play came to close.

In July, we as a family, said good bye to a very successful barn yard journey in and out of the showring. All three Hildebrand children were there when Lilly marched her replacement heifer, Charlotte into the sale ring and we paused for a moment to capture a picture. Just another golden memory to add to our treasure chest.  We all knew it was the last time. The celebration was part melancholy, mixed with a bit of relief and a whole bunch of nostalgia. In one week, 15 years of countless hours and our annual summer mission was gone.

As I drove back to San Diego the following Sunday morning, Brad Paisley voice resonated as he began to sing about the last time for everything. Maybe it was the mention of number 17, maybe it was that I just spent a week on forty-four acres that haunts and inspires me, who knows, but I can’t help shake the feeling and ask the question, how often do we know it is the last time, should it matter and how does one recall the last times you don’t know to file in your memory bank?

For example, Brad points out fishing with your granddad on the lake. I grew up with the simple known fact that my grandma had a lake cabin. It wasn’t considered luxurious (by no means would it even rate two stars), but it was given. Just like any other summer truth, school getting out, swimming lessons at the Templeton pool or going to the fair, we would spend time at Nacimiento Lake with grandma. Sometime during my college years my grandma sold her cabin. Not a 100 percent why, although I have my suspicions. And for some other unknown reason our parents seemed to have no desire to keep it in the family. But the truth is, I don’t recall the last time we swam the channel or fished off the bank nor did I realize to note our final visit.

What I wouldn’t give to go back knowing it would be the last time. The lake house is so precious to me that when my grandmother passed away and my mother and her two brothers were cleaning through her treasures (yes, I thought everything she owned was simply gold) they on the other hand saw most of it as destined for the landfill. I instantly grabbed the lake house journal, that kept the stories of each visitor’s trip, number of fish caught and a few tall tales, out of the garbage pile.

Then there are the last times one just can’t wait to happen. How many seniors at Cal Poly came bouncing into my office exclaiming they had taken their last college exam EVER?  I often wonder, now that they are fully engrossed with a career, house payments, child rearing and all the other fun life events that come with being a “grown-up”, do they wish for the days when life was nothing heavier on one’s mind than a dreaded final?

June of 2016, I taught my last quarter at Cal Poly. I had no clue it would be my last. I think of my last AGB 406 presentation, that just so happen to be at a winery where skeletons hung on the wall. At the time I agb406thought well here is a first, if only I had known it was also the last. Would it had mattered?

And finally how about the last time you have to do something that is just plain miserable?  My mom battled breast cancer twenty years ago.  I can recall her coming home from chemotherapy, begging her doctor for it to be the last time.  He would very patiently remind her that she could stop treatment at any time, but how much her odds improved if she stuck it out.  She did soldier through the process and completed her last scheduled treatment.  That last time proved to be the ticket, she has been cancer free ever sense.

What is my point?  I do not have clear perspective on the best way to channel that golden “last time”.  One thing I don’t want to experience any time soon is the last time I write for my blog.  Truth be told, even though I don’t post very often, I have dozens of blogs I have started over the past months and years.  Written work that just needs a little editing and a sprinkle of pixies dust.   Fingers crossed these saved treasures will be published sooner, rather than later.

I guess after all Brad probably says it best we really don’t know most of our last times, so maybe it is best to live each day like it is the last and be sure to make the best use of tomorrow.  Because the one thing I am sure of, there is a last time for everything!

Sometimes you just don’t know when that’s gonna be

Hold me baby, give me a kiss

Like tonight is all there is

Cause there’s a last time for everything

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