When not reporting an accident or construction slowdown, the overhead interstate signs in Georgia often give this message in yellow-lighted block letters:

CALL 511

My witty 11-year old mentally moved the hyphen and joked: “Cool. Real time-travel info. Call them. I want to go to another time.”

For the next several minutes we imagined the various times and places to which we’d travel if such an option was available.

In most periods of history my visits would be brief. Who wants to live without reliable heating and air conditioning, modern medicine, cable TV, quick-and-easy transportation and instant communication? (OK, being without cell phones for awhile would have its benefits.)

With just a decade-plus of experience, traveling into the future was more attractive to my daughter than to me. And imagined visits beyond my own half-decade were usually for quick, first-hand glimpses of historical significance.

My greater time-travel dreams were back to earlier experiences of my own life; a chance to simply relive.

To play one more after-school pick-up baseball game until dark — or too dark to see the ball.

To split a six-ounce Coke with my grandmother and laugh together at the antics of Red Skelton.

To smell fresh honey being spun from the comb, filtered through cheesecloth and poured into jars on our back porch.

To paddle down the Conasauga, Chattahoochee, Chattooga or Nantahala River with friends and no fear of sore legs and shoulders the next morning.

To spend the night at the old Boynton Boy Scout hut, playing ping-pong and listening to a George Carlin album.

To put the top down on my well-worn ’69 Ford Galaxy convertible and watch 13 college classmates pile aboard.

The list goes on. But life in the present tense always calls me back. It is where I find my greatest joy.

But God does give us memory for purpose. It is a gift.

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