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Those Were The Days

Mid-July 2020

I used to look back at the 1990s and, almost immediately, rush, in my mind, to a future time. It is only within the past few weeks and days that I have arrived at a warmly serene understanding of that past, a decade of tumult, for sure; but a decade which led to this moment.

The work of a writer, at least of this writer, takes into account the past, the present, and the future. There are, undoubtedly, some moments more treasured than others, some days viewed through a lens that attempts a softer focus. The past is what an artist needs, and treasures, for the proper perspective in any creative domain.

Without the past, there is no future. You can’t forget something you did not know to begin with — that practical truth is truer today than ever before, in light of the darkness that too many people call enlightenment. The past holds limitless wealth in terms of knowledge, lessons for the morrow, warnings of human folly and error, whispers of heroes who will not die, no matter how many times their enemies try to bury them. The past is not something from which to run. It is something to cherish. In its glory and its gore, the past yields the future, forevermore.

I, myself, have run from the past, perhaps faster than I’d wished to do, in order to survive, to secure some form of safety, to reach a place where harm cannot come to me. I used to have several pairs of running shoes, at my command, in my closet. For a long time, that footwear was just about the only ones in my possession!

Truth to tell, I am not built for running. Maybe for long-distance, since I lack those quick-twitch muscles that give a person the quick jump off the block, or out of the gate. Slow and steady wins the race for me!

The running-shoe apparel really was not a decent way for me to treat my lovely feet. The foundation of the body deserves the elegance and strength of classic design, the constancy of tradition, the certainty of time-tested adornments that do not come and go with the latest fad. My essay, My Naked Feet, explains my struggle to tread my own path with quality and beauty and patriotism!

My running shoes of previous decades, the 1990s in particular, became replaced with footwear that expressed newer dimensions and bolder directions of my life. No longer merely a married woman with children, I grew to discover the joys that had always been longing for my journey toward them.

I took the road less traveled by, as simply but wondrously explained by Robert Frost in “The Road Not Taken”. I have always taken such a road, sometimes even a fledgling path that is not even a road. For me, the start of a trail oftentimes begins with my imagining it to be an unexplored way of life, more than a route heading in a perceived direction. Usually, my nose leads the way!

Such choices always beckon to me, perhaps instinctively, but always powerfully. I understand that not everyone can trail-blaze a direction of complete newness and astoundingly original novelty. A person, can, nonetheless, listen to the inner prompting of his heart, and decide, with the courage of that heart, to walk in the ways of the Lord, to defy the wretched crowd, to follow a heart that is faithful and true.

Those were the days of my years — that brought me to today. Those were the days that, in some way, also lay ahead for me. I anticipate them with impatience, and with gratitude.

Those Were the Days

Those were the days

when we played as if

there were no tomorrow

Those were the days

when we triumphed

over sorrow

Those were the days

when we looked at

life without fear

Those were the days

when we held each other


Those were the days

of each one

seeking your own star.

Those were the days

that led us

to where we are

And those days

are just alive as ever


our dreams belong


In the midst of

looking ahead,

always remember

the past

is the future

without dread

life filled instead

with love

that lights the way

to faith and hope

and the forever

within one day.

Debra Milligan

13 June 2020


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