College football is not everything.
It is not worth your full attention on Saturday afternoons when your time is a pot of boiling water about to spill.
After fifteen years, time shows me I still don’t like Emerson and Thoreau. Yet, Mark Twain – for me – still cuts the BS and gets to the story.
Time takes little pieces and parts I want to spend with my son. That time is spent at work, at work again, school and studying.
I don’t let time win. I steal time during which I should be eating to pick my son up from his half-day program. I race home from Winthrop on the nights I arrive earlier to take him to parks with water so he can enjoy what is still left of summer. After all, summer does not leave South Carolina so soon.
College football still catches the eye as I try to make it through Emerson. Your team does not show up, and then they explode. Next the Gamecocks are stood up at the one yard line and they lose to Georgia. A heart breaking loss. For a writer who loves college football, emotion fills the senses.
You know time is right. Football should not be as important. Your son asks, “Where are the race cars?” not “Where is South Carolina’s defense?”
Time reminds you just as Clemson University was a constant part of childhood, the University of South Carolina was a part of youth. What has time really left of your connection to them when you must dedicate your time and talent to a university that has laid a platter of opportunity in front of you? A university where professors understand the heart of your time is not watching a game on Saturday, but a little boy who grows too fast.
So, my boy drags a wagon after splashing in the Catawba River.
College football is just noise in the background adults in his household make a fuss over, and all he wants to know is, “Where are the race cars?”
Emerson and Thoreau wrote of how time could become nonexistent in man’s relationship with nature.
They did not see the nature of a boy growing up; how it happens too fast. How many hours does your conscience count when you are not with him?
Time also teaches you’re the student who does not have parties or football at the center of your life.
On Wednesday, a woman said to me, “You said, ‘You’re a mom, right?’” We show pictures of our kids, and discuss the challenges of studying with a toddler around. The guilt. The anger. The frustration. Not enough time. For the first time in graduate school, I thought, Someone gets it.
“Why are you in this class?” someone might ask.
For my son’s future.
“It is required.”
Time takes many things I love. Since completion of Sons of the Edisto, I understand time for writing comes in small amounts. When it does, I dedicate it to Elliot McSwean and my other stories. Again, time shows my short story writing has improved. This is the period in life for stories; not novels.
Time in all its wisdom knows it never provides enough for one person.
By Rebecca T. Dickinson