Thursday, 5 February 2015


The year is 2010. An emotional Vincent Van Gogh moves in wonder through an exhibit of his paintings in Paris' Musee d'Orsay, listening to the Museum's curator refer to him as one of the world's greatest artists. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty, he hears.

What? But Vincent Van Gogh died in 1890, you argue. Of course he did. I haven't gone completely dotty........not yet, anyways.The scene I describe is from a British TV episode in which the time travelling Dr. Who and Amy attempt to have a tortured, self doubting Vincent realize his legacy by bringing him into the future. Knowing my love of Van Gogh's work and my fascination with his life, our son, Christopher, emailed the YouTube clip to me. Shamelessly, I admit to loving it. I actually shed a tear. Pure fantasy, but oh, how wonderful. Would that we could bring figures from the past "into today" so that they might understand their impact on our world. What a concept. And then my imagination flew. Not a mental game of what historical figure would I like to meet, I asked myself instead, Who would you bring "into today" and where would you take them?

I have a dream. My first thought was to bring Martin Luther King "into today". How I would love to walk the streets of any American city today enjoying his expression as blacks and whites together, exit the subway, enter places of employment, and eat in cafes, all without National Guard presence to force such integration. Though definitely not a perfect world, no one can argue that American race relations have come a long way since King's African-American Civil Rights Movement and subsequent 1968 assassination. Nothing, though, would make me happier than to have Dr. King ushered into the Oval Office and to hear the introduction, Dr. King, please meet President Barack Obama. Did he dream that far, I wonder.

Wouldn't it be fun to fly with Orville and Wilbur Wright on a jet or let Alexander Graham Bell handle that little rectangular box of communication, the iPhone? I doubt they could ever have imagined the impact of their dreams on future generations. How incredible it would be to bring them "into today".

As an admitted sentimentalist and making no apologies, my first choice of who to bring "into today" would be my parents.  I would like to seat my Mother at our Christmas Dinner table, watch her realize that her traditions continue to be celebrated, hold my breath as her glance settles on the laughing, bubbling, blond-haired young sister and brother at the table, and then feel overwhelming joy as Matthew introduces his beloved Gramma to her great grandchildren. I would feel my hand in my Father's as we walk the corridors of learning. His older, slower pace I know would lighten just to be in this university milieu. Into the rear of a classroom we would deke, just as the lecture commences. I can picture my Father in rapt attention and then the tears welling in his eyes as I nod towards the Professor and whisper in my Father's ear, Dad, you are listening to our Christopher.  

Ah! imaginery musings, these may be, but what about yours? Suspend reality for a moment. Who would you bring "into today" and where would you take them?

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