When I was young, I made a deal with my parents.

Here’s the story of how the deal went bad.

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History has always fascinated me.

I’ve been interested in the Civil War since my family took a vacation to Gettysburg.

I thought I might write down my thoughts on the Confederate battle flag and statues, but I’ve decided to leave them for another day.

Instead, I’d like to go even farther into the past.

Here’s a quick story about how yesterday might influence today and tomorrow.

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This is just a garden-variety story.

My grandparents sometimes had a garden beside the barn in their backyard, and Pawpaw went to till it up one day.

My cousin and I went with him, to “help” I guess.

He tilled the earth, and we watched it turn.

For some reason, maybe just to play in the dirt, I was close enough to the ground to see some of it wiggle.

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When I was a kid, I hit a phase when I wanted a pen pal.

Maybe I was intrigued with the possibility of communication with a person somewhere in the wide world beyond the limits of the map dot I call home.

I was still young enough to get mail sent by someone who didn’t want my money so maybe it was the childish thrill of a letter addressed to me and hidden, like a surprise, in the mailbox.

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I have been an uncle for almost four years.

My sister and brother-in-law have twin girls and a son who’s younger than his sisters.

I think about the days they were born every now and then, because they were days to celebrate.

When those kids were born, I was just about euphoric.

I have probably told this story here before if you were to check the archives, but the day I became an uncle euphoria served me well.

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Time capsules have always intrigued me, because when one is found a sliver of the buried time is brought to light again.

Suddenly, the past becomes the present and the future at the same time.

I’ve never seen one opened except in the movies, but if I were going to bury one now seems like a good time.

Since today’s WordPress Discover prompt is “hidden,” and one of the suggestions is to write five to seven items you’d place in a time capsule to be opened in 30 years, I thought I’d give it a try.

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Some people take pride in every chance to relive their glory days, to tell their children tales of days gone by and often remembered.

Some tell stories of incredible athletic feats of yesteryear, and back them up with testimonies from old teammates they see in Wal-Mart or moments frozen forever in framed photographs on the walls of hometown restaurants.

Those stories take them to a time before their backs hurt, before they worked long hours to pay for mortgaged houses.

They take them back to when they had all of the time in the world, when they lived for Friday nights and thought they were invincible. (more…)

It was just another Tuesday, and I was just another 15-year-old sophomore in high school.

My mind had little regard for anything except girls, sports, what I’d eat for lunch and how I’d get through math class.

I didn’t have a cell phone or a driver’s license.

I was nowhere near New York City or the World Trade Center.

Terrorism was just a word.

I’m 32 now. Things are different.

I know you might skim this story on your cell phone. I know you might be too young to remember what happened.

Maybe you weren’t even born.

Maybe all you know about Sept. 11, 2001, came from what you’ve seen on social media or heard in history class.

My friend wrote a column about Sept. 11 last week, in which she made a wonderful point about what I remember most from the the day’s aftermath. I’ve thought about you since I read it. I thought about you again this morning, when I saw an Instagram post from a history teacher who had students interview someone who has a clear memory of what happened 17 years ago today to help them see a different picture of one of America’s most disasterous days.

I’ll never forget what unfolded in those hours.

If you can’t remember, and you have a minute to spare, I’d like to try to take you to a time when the history you’ve heard was just heartbreak. (more…)