I feel I should announce this journal is now in other hands, so the viewpoint will shift, and the tone change. This is my first post. I do hope you will bear with me. Thank you.
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;..."
Ah, Kipling. That will not be published until twenty three years after my death, but I believe Kipling and I would have understood one another.
'If' frames the life of my dreams; the life I hold still in the melancholy of reverie; the life of goodness lost - home, family, profession. "What else is there," one might ask? And I would answer, "All I am, as I stand before you."
I will look back and think of the key pivot points that would have lead to peace.
If... we had not suffered such privations in the war, would my mama had become ill and died so young when I yet needed her, the core of my childhood and family?
If... my mama had not died, would I and my papa have worked together, built something strong and good? He did build something - a community. And I built law in the west, but we did not build together.
If... my mama had not died, would I still have gone to school, learned honour within myself, acquired that spark of ambition to reach up to the stars in all things? I should like to think so, of course, but I was surely influenced. Education and inspiration are irreplaceable.
If... we had not been so susceptible to tuberculosis, phthisis, consumption, would I have been a proud dentist with Robert? Would I have helped him found the Southern Dental College? Would I too have... married? It is a large supposition, for surely it was not only the consumption which caused my exile.
If... I had not been friends with Billy Leonard (but how could I not have been), would all the tragedy have occurred in Tombstone? Honour Before All, though it lead to perdition. Would Morgan not have been killed, Virgil injured? Ah, Morgan!
If... we had been more careful, killing Stillwell, would I have been free of the threat of extradition? Would I perhaps have returned to my dear Georgia, at least for a visit, seen my dear family again, been more careful of my health in Leadville with its ten months of winter?
There are some things that I still feel too keenly to mention them.
My friends, my family. My thoughts are so wistful, bright, dreamlike, always bounded by what could have been - things it is so hard even now to think of, though I always did my best. Wyatt. And Morgan, Robert, Mattie, my mama, my uncles. I feel keenly all my regret for what was as it must have been, in final analysis. In formal logic, when one offers a predicate for a subject that is not true, any predicate one may give is equally sufficient as any other to make the whole statement true. And I both dwell on this and sidestep its rather open possibilities. For me, if my mama had not died so, all would have been well. And I ignore the opposite. Had we all been fine and healthy, all would have been very nearly the same. One may say anything, but I choose to walk through a beautiful possible life in my dreams, though I have kept it to myself, save for Wyatt. A gentleman does not impose. A gentleman does not weep over what might have been, no matter how wistful, how beautiful. A gentleman does his best with what he has been given. Though it lead to perdition.Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus