I’m fifty four years old today—that’s more than half a century and in all likelihood, more than half my life.
I’ve had to learn a lot of new words in those 54 years. When I was young we didn’t have computers, laptops, e-mails, google, Amazon.com, anything.com, cell-phones, smart phones, iPhones, iPads, iPods. We didn’t have microwaves, VHS, cds, blue-rays, DVR, Nintendo, X-Box, PlayStation or Wii. Blackberries were a fruit. If we wanted to travel, we found our way with a paper map that unfolded into an awkward size and interrupted the view of the driver and was impossible to return to its original nicely folded shape. We didn’t have google-maps or GPS. Our books were made of paper—no kindles, no nooks.
We didn’t worry about recycling, energy-efficiency, global warming, hybrid cars, political correctness, dirty bombs, terrorists.
In those fifty-four years there are also words that have gone into retirement—vinyl records, 78s, 33s, 45s, cassette player, eight-track-tape (I actually never really heard that one much before), and my most valuable possession as a teenager—transistor radio, to mention a few.
Fifty four years. There are a lot of new and very special people in my life—Mark, Michael, Matthew, Anna, Mark Joseph, Gretchen, and Luke—a grandchild. Pure joy.
There are too many people who are permanently gone from my life—Grandpa Smith, Grandma Smith, Grandpa Lemmons, Grandma Lemmons, Uncle Jim, Uncle Mike, Aunt Nancy, Aunt Mary, Great Aunt Agnes, Dad Grote, Annie.
A lot happens in fifty four years.
Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me this life, for taking care of me before I could take care of myself and for teaching me how to live well.
I may live another 20, 30, or if I take after my Grandma Lemmons, 40 more years. But if I died tomorrow, I would have had a good life. I’m lucky, or as my friends, who I never see anymore, down at Our Daily Bread would say—I’m blessed.
So, to mangle a quote from a woman who once lost her head,
“Let us eat cake.”