Jim Croce has been gone a long time. Killed in a plane crash in 1973, Croce was the James Dean of the rock and roll world, stolen from us just as his massive talent was about to go super nova. Unlike Dean, Croce was a just a regular guy with a wife and 2-year-old son which makes his classic “Time in a Bottle” all the more poignant. Croce wrote that song for his son who is now a man in his 40s and probably has few, if any, real memories of his father. But he does have “Time in a Bottle” and, no doubt, he has grown more appreciative of that song with every passing year.
Passing years make us appreciate time and who hasn’t wished to put “Time in a Bottle”? I’ve been reading about time recently and came across a book entitled Momo written by Michael Ende and, curiously, published in 1973 — the same year as Croce’s death. Momo was conceived as a children’s book but it has become a bit of a cult item and is more properly called a fantasy novel. Wikipedia describes it thus:
Momo, also known as The Grey Gentlemen or The Men in Grey, is a fantasy novel by Michael Ende, published in 1973. It is about the concept of time and how it is used by humans in modern societies. The full title in German translates to Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people.
I was intrigued and immediately went in search of the book, which took a bit of — ahem — time. The book is out-of-print which surprised me since Ende is also known for The Never-Ending Story which has exhibited staying power over the years. I finally tracked down a copy of Momo via one of Amazon’s suppliers. It is in the mail to me and eagerly awaited.
Take the time to read a synopsis of Momo and you’ll get an eerie view of looking at today’s society in the mirror. Grey suited men enticing the populous with gadgets and trinkets, encouraging them to trade their time for these baubles and to “save time” for the future when they can enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Momo has already taught me something and I haven’t even opened the book. Perhaps it because my retirement is looming on the horizon that I was so struck with “saving time”. Perhaps it is the work I do — grief counseling — at which I hear tales from those who feel that their “time was stolen” because their future is now void of the one they loved.
The truth is we have no time except the moment we now live. We say that often enough but do we really hear it? Yesterday is most certainly gone and tomorrow is a dream. We only have the moment at hand with which to work. Almost forty years ago a proud father sat down in his moment and penned a song that has endured to this day leaving a crystal clear message of love to his son. The things we can do with our time! Don’t squander the present trying to save for the future or you may miss your moment completely. ❧
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