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There are so many things that I have to be thankful for that I sometimes need to just sit down and try to make a list of them. Conversely, some days it would be easy to get depressed about my position in life — after all, I am 73 years old, I am overweight, I have more than my share of aches and pains, and I take about three shot glasses full of pills a day just to function. Of course, I have only myself to blame for my problems — like the old adage says, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
I am happy and thankful to say that I started this life of mine with nothing and I still have most of it. In addition, I have acquired a bucketful of memories of the ups and downs of my lifetime experiences. Robert Brault (whoever he is/was) once wrote, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” How true this is and so many of the little things that happened to me over the years come back to me now as “big things.”
My early time on a dairy farm back in Dover Plains, New York...saving up to buy my first three-speed English bike...my first car (a ’49 Pontiac with a faulty ignition)...my senior prom...my first airplane ride to Lackland AFB, Texas to go to Air Force basic training...my marriage in Germany to The Little Woman (no small thing)...the birth of our son (who started really small but got really big)...exotic visits to Nashville, Evreux, Chateauroux, Naha, Denver, Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Baguio City, Mount Laguna, Denver, Osan, and back to Denver...Air Force retirement...Civil Service retirement...and the move down here to Golden Pond.
It may be selfish of me to be thankful every time The Almighty blesses me with each new day on this earth — especially when so many of my peers have departed. I have an ex-boss in Denver who sends me one or two e-mails a week, forwarding obituaries or funeral arrangements of people we worked with. I call her the Queen of Gloom and Doom but she means well and just happens to be the focal point for such information — just like back when she was the “Executive Assistant to the Director, Defense Finance Accounting Service-Denver Center.” How about that for a title?
Truth be told, I have had my share of setbacks over my 73 years but, with the exception of losing relatives and friends too soon and the fact that TLW and I could never have a second child, I can honestly say that I have thrived by applying these simple truths that life has taught me: (1) Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things. (2) Some days you are the dog and some days you are the hydrant. (3) Some days you are the windshield and some days you are the bug. (4) Learn from the mistakes of others — you can never live long enough to make them all yourself. (5) Do not overindulge in natural foods because most people die of natural causes. (6) Never take life too seriously — nobody gets out alive anyway. (7) Forget that old “quitters never win and winners never quit” doo-doo — I say quit while you’re ahead! (8) Never play leap-frog with a unicorn.
Well, that eighth one is just plain goofy but it kind of defines my nature. However, before I close, I would like to present some truly valuable advice from folks who are a lot less goofy than me. However, I did feel the need to add my own two cents — forgive me for that.
Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” How true that is! Also, you cannot tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
Cowboy Wisdom said, “The best sermons are lived, not preached.” We all know at least one person this applies to, don’t we. Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than hanging out in a garage makes you an auto mechanic.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life...that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Beautiful, just beautiful! Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass — it’s learning how to dance in the rain.
Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Amen to that. To consider cause and effect, you must first pause and reflect.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: email@example.com