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The Last Reunion.

TV Trail

Baby boomers understand how fast time passes.

One moment they’re eating breakfast before school and mom reminds them to wear a coat.

The next moment they’re in their dorm room reading James Joyce.

A blink later and they’re on a date with their future mate.

The clock hands don’t spin like a Hollywood prop to show time passing, but looking back it seems like that clock had helicopter rotors going full blast.

Then it slows down.

Yesterday in Portland, Oregon a group of friends, family, and neighbors gathered to celebrate life. It happened in a church, but it wasn’t about church.

The group drove in, flew in, and walked in to celebrate the life and times of Thomas Vaughan.

Age had softened familiar faces there to pay respect to a man who left a larger imprint than expected.

He was a friend to many of them, a formidable opponent to others, and a father. It’s no surprise that he also played the role of father-figure to so many.

To be a child of a man so admired can’t be easy, but time creates a new perspective. The roles change.

To all the esteemed men and women in attendance, Tom Vaughan was part visionary, part guide, and all Oregon. To four men and women, he was dad.

Seeing a parent celebrated in his passing validates a lifetime of good works. Ordinarily it ends there, but this was no ordinary man.

From 1954 to 1989 and beyond, Tom Vaughan created an era of engagement. Powerful Portlanders might see themselves as key participants, but the more aware among them saw the pin effect of their efforts. History was the subject, but education was the focus. Tom Vaughan found a way to make history the most important topic of his time, and others agreed.

If history is important, and it is, then no history is more important than family history. What do we hand down to our children? What do we want to shine as our most important legacy?

This boomer blogger asserts that being present, being in the room and alert to the needs of others, is the single best message we can give our children. Whether it’s the dining room, the boardroom, or the room with a loved one during their passing, encourage engagement. If a child can do that, then a parent has done their work.

Who wouldn’t want to hear, “Dinner’s on the table, drinks are poured, and the only one missing is you,” from one of our own?

Tom Vaughan’s ghost wasn’t in the house he built, but the ghost of his era was. And they seemed at ease with it all.

As you walk the path of your life’s journey you may not see the company you’re keeping, but they’re still in the picture. Keep that in mind with your daughters and sons beside you.






About David Gillaspie
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