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August 19, 2013

CUMMINS: Gather ye, the milestones

A milestone is a stone marking each mile, which is considered a significant point in one’s life journey and development. We travel life’s road collecting various milestones, from a birth certificate to certification when you pass to the unknown. Between birth and death, we are issued numerous certificates and licenses. If you pin these many documents to your living room wall, you won’t have to paint it. Some think a marriage license is one of the more important ones while others consider divorce papers as significant as the Declaration of Independence. 

Which certificate is the one you cherish most? As I think back when my mind is alert, my driver’s license was the key to my manhood, or so I thought. A driver’s license legally permits you to take out girls, which leads to blood tests and a marriage license. That leads to children, and then you attend kindergarten graduation ceremonies and sit in hot sun watching your babies strive for participation certificates by trying to hit or kick a Little League ball. In my historical cardboard box, I still have vacation Bible school certificates certifying I memorized the Ten Commandments, and then forgot some. 

Some of my darkest days were preparing my children for their driver’s test. During those years, I raised my voice to high pitches as each of my four children wrecked a car early in life. When I’d call my insurance agent, he’d say, “Oh, no,” but meant, “Oh, yes.” The day after my only precious daughter got her driver’s license, she side-swiped a car. Not her fault, it was “too close.” My twin sons loaded two other 16-year olds — nothing deadlier — into my gas-saving small car and rolled it over against a dirt bank. They pushed it back up, drove home and greeted me with, “Don’t get excited.”

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