Saturday, November 12, 2011
Who would have thought the monkey in hand would last 84 years?
But then, again, who would have thought that I would have lasted so long? It looks a bit grotesque and I can't figure out the pose, but maybe it had something to do with the rickets I was supposed to have had at very early age.
I was thinking this morning - thinking about all the birthdays that have passed since November 12, 1927. I don't remember this picture ever being taken but it is one of those that seems to emerge when you least expect it. Like the one where I was proudly looking into the camera lens with diapers at half mast. I hated that picture because it always seemed to come out of the archives just in time to be shown to some person I least wanted to see it. And our children - at least certain of them - seemed to gloat that they had put one over on the old man. By the way, I haven't seen THAT picture in quite some time - maybe it has found some blessed file thirteen along the way.
But when I look back over the past 84 years, I realize that lot of history hasa been made in my lifetime. People like FDR, and Harry Truman, and Ike, and JFK and Nixon and Clinton and the Bush's. Events like the great Depression, World War Two,radio and television, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the protests of the sixties, the Space Race, atomic energy, Iraq and Afghanistan along with a whole flock of good or tormenting events throughout the world.
Then I think of all the jobs - large and small - that I've had. A Tydol/Veedol grease monkey - helping build a freezer locker plant - pitching hay - shoveling manure - newspapers - radio - machinist and draftsman - Air Force - aerospace engineer - preacher - teacher - travel agent and more. It reminds me of an interview where an interviewer, who had read my resume, asked if I thought I had found my niche in life. Maybe, maybe not - who knows?
I think of all the valleys I've gone through - and the mountains I've climbed. I think of love lost and love gained - of a wonderful wife who has traveled through life with me for all these years - and our children who no longer are kids but grown adults with lives and families of their own. I have memories of times not so good - and times of great joy. A lot of it is wrapped in in photos and videos and blogs and newspaper columns most of which are buried in boxes that probably will be unloaded after I'm gone. But memories can be treasures. Like when our middle daughter Amy and friends dressed up for Hallowe'en as a string quartet. Or when our eldest daughter Linda was the cause of a public relations situation in Colorado. Or when we took Linda to college and I realized the at-home family was shrinking for the first time.Or when Jeff left for the Navy. Or Greg went west or when Lisa won her nursing pin.
Memories - we've all got them - and we treasure them more and more as the years pile. They help us grow and for most of us, they help us mellow.
As for me, the best birthday is the 84th - today. It opens the door to tomorrow, and it gives cause to remembering special times - like when I turned 18 and got my first notice about being drafted for the Army. I wasn't drafted but I remember the induction center with its marble benches and the inductees were pretty much bare naked. So, like I say, treasure your memories and thrive for tomorrow. Remember: the best birthday of all is when you wake up in the morning, put your feet on the floor, look in the mirror, and thank the Lord for another day and another opportunity at life.