Cue the candles, and sing

Published 8:44 pm Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today, in honor of beginning my 47th year on this planet, I’m going to do a little retrospective. I’ll try to keep from being maudlin, but bear with me through it, and you might find an old memory of your own sparked by my ramblings.

First, though, let me say thanks to my mother (and father) for committing herself to the pain and occasional heartache of raising a child at the comparatively tender age of 20, way back in 1964. And also, I suppose I should thank her for never killing me or selling me to gypsies, no matter how much I might have deserved it.

There are so many reasons that I never expected to reach 47, Mom. Thanks for all your help in getting me here.

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And now, we’re off….

  • Remember when recycling meant collecting tall, glass 16-ounce Coke bottles and taking them back to the store in the cardboard cartons you’d brought them home in? Those things were worth actual money, and a few of them went a long way toward buying a handful of candy if you were industrious enough to look for them alongside the road.
  • Remember New Coke? Yeah, me neither.
  • Remember watching Superman in black-and-white reruns after school? Mrs. Saunders would put me in a chair in front of the television with a bowl of cereal on a TV tray. I think Clark Kent was my first exposure to the world of journalism.
  • Speaking of television journalists, I believe Lou Grant was burned into my subconscious as my model newsroom manager through hundreds of afternoon Mary Tyler Moore episodes.
  • Remember all the patriotic hullaballoo connected with our nation’s 200th birthday, in 1976? I actually had a pair of red, white and blue striped pants. Groovy, man.
  • Remember how polarized the nation was when Richard Nixon resigned the presidency? It’s a good thing that we haven’t become that divided again, huh?
  • Remember when we worried that Skylab was going to hit us in the heads as it fell to Earth? Remember how proud you felt when you saw the first space shuttle launch from Florida?
  • Where were you when Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing a teacher and six other brave astronauts? Did you wonder whether we’d ever fly in space again?
  • Remember that important question you had to answer at the video rental store — VHS or Beta? When was the last time you watched one of those VHS movies?
  • Speaking of questions, remember when a man used to come to the car window at the service station and ask if you wanted regular or unleaded? If someone said, “Check under the hood?” to you at a gas station today, would you consider calling the police?
  • Remember that first calculator you got, back in the ‘70s? Mine was better. It weighed about three pounds and had a case that I could hang from my belt. That’s just the way I rolled. Ever the trendsetter.
  • Speaking of nerds, remember that first real date, the one where Mom had to drop you and the object of your affection at the mall movie theater? Did you see Disney’s “The Black Hole” on that date? Can you remember ANYTHING about it? Yeah, me neither. It really wasn’t a very good movie.

Forty-seven years. Never expected it. Wouldn’t have believed it. Could not have imagined the wild ride that would get me here.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me now.