Some time ago, the hospital in my small town ran an ad in the local newspaper to introduce the community to a recently hired doctor. In it, the doctor answered questions about his life, training, and experiences.
When asked about his interests, he explained that while growing up in Oklahoma, he developed an appreciation for working the land and outdoor activities. He then added, “Some days I think all I want is a really nice tractor.”
I suppose all of us are susceptible to daydreams: crossing the ocean in a canoe, being a horse whisperer, owning a tractor.
I like to imagine what strangers long for: Does the lady in the supermarket line picture herself dancing the Nutcracker? Does the teenager riding his bike by my house imagine himself scoring the winning touchdown in a Super Bowl? Is the politician working the crowd thinking about the songs he’d like to write some day?
My mother sometimes voiced her daydream: “I wish I could have one day, an entire day, when you children could get along. Just one day!”
Dad longed for something grander in scope. He wanted to pack us all up in the questionable vehicle of the moment and move to Alaska.
I, too, had a dream. For forty years, as I helped others become writers, I fantasized about sitting with an introspective look in front of a typewriter in a quiet, bare space — like photographs I’d seen of Ernest Hemingway during his Paris years — and writing whatever I could find inside me.
I never imagined fame and wealth. I never thought, “I’d like to write novels or poems or maybe messages for greeting cards.” I merely thought about a quiet place where I could give myself to the act of writing.
I don’t remember Mom enjoying an argument-free day when my siblings and I were young; but, as adults, we frequently found our way, singly or together, to her home, where we visited with the woman we loved and never once quarreled.
Dad never lived in Alaska, but his daughter Barbara made her living in high school classrooms in Anchorage and Homer; and Dad visited her often.
I don’t know if the doctor has a tractor.
I realized my daydream. Though I don’t look like Hemingway and my home doesn’t resemble his Paris office, I retired and began to write, losing myself in it as he did. And every time I sit quietly with my computer to do so, I’m grateful.
It’s never too late for your dreams to come true.