Bruce Heberle

Thinking Out Loud: Don’t Blink

March 20, 2021

I have been thinking a lot about the Kenny Chesney song: “Don’t Blink.” The song talks about how quickly time passes. Life’s hourglass, holding the sand grains of our lives, empties moment by moment. It is our choice to use the time wisely or simply allow it to pass with no meaning.

Bruce Heberle
Bruce Heberle

When I graduated from trade school, Mr. Keenan, one of my instructors told us: “In 5 years none of you will be doing the job you were just hired to do.” I thought that was a crazy statement to make. While I do not know what happened to every member of my class, based on the conversations with those that I stayed in contact with, his prediction held true. None of us were working in the field we were “trained” in 5 years later. We had all progressed to other positions.

Many of us were young when we started our careers, now we are not. Our HVAC careers have seen many changes since we started. We may have started out as helpers or installers, but we progressed to service technicians before moving up to management. This trade has allowed all of us to provide a good living for ourselves and families. All of this happened in the blink of an eye, while the sands in our hourglass of life continued to empty.

Don’t blink! I am age 6: I meet a good friend who will remain so, my entire life. As a young boy, the eighth street gang builds forts, explores caves, and goes on expeditions around the wooded hills and bluffs on the west side of town.

I blink… and the scene changes to life on the farm. We are fishing for perch along the banks of the creek with cane poles under the shade of the willow trees. We go swimming, gig frogs, hunt rabbit, squirrel, dove, quail and deer. We work the fields and race the Cub Cadette and the Ferguson along the green pepper rows separating the other vegetables from the tomato patch. Our horses Scarlett, Jenny and Champ are galloping through the hay fields of the farms where the hospital now stands, and eventually, you will find us riding our bikes to town to watch baseball games and hanging out at the Pool Hall.

Blink… we are now cruising the streets in our muscle cars. There are Camaros, Chevelles, Tri-five Chevys, Novas, Torinos and Mustangs passing by Super Bees, Road Runners, Cudas, Challengers, Dusters and Darts. We watch the reflection of our mag wheels on the store fronts on 4th street, across Shiller and down 1st. We turn around at the gas station and reverse course. At 4th and market, we head south on 19 and then turn around at the root beer stand. Most of American life in the 60’s is turbulent, not in my hometown, life is quiet.

“Don’t blink, just like that you are 6 years old and you take a nap. You wake up and your 25, and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife. Don’t blink,” Kenny Chesney.

I met my wife at 23, and 45 years later, we are still here. We are married with two sons, who are married to two great girls of their own, and they gave us four awesome grandchildren. All of them are doing well. I am grateful for what I have been given. Everything I have that means something – my wife, family, friends – are a gift. The last 50 years of my life have flown by. I have made mistakes and taken things for granted. I have a few regrets, but mainly, I feel blessed.

“Don’t blink. Best start putting things first cause when your hourglass runs out of sand, you cannot flip it over and start again,” Kenny Chesney.

See you next month.