I recently came across something on the Internet and thought it an interesting idea. It can be found in various forms, not many different from the others though. I’m sorry to say it comes with no mention of its original author. It is often seen without a title. I have given it one and have rewritten it.
I’ve changed the order of things. I’ve changed the wording, I’ve added a lot and taken away a little. It is my version and from what I’ve seen, I think it’s the best.
I share it here.
If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me,
because I’d like to hear it again.
~~ Groucho Marx ~~
My old friend Al Bello was, to say the least, one-of-a-kind and among my oldest friends. We met in 7th grade dishing out our own brand of trouble to our teachers and others. Al was among my small circle of class clowns, birds of a feather.
“Al” – School Days
In our quest for attention, we were especially brutal to our music teacher, Miss Morgan. I’ve come to realize, the attention we sought was our misguided attempt to make up for other things lacking in our lives. No excuses though. In hindsight I regret how we treated her and by the time I wanted to apologize she was gone. She was a fine, gifted woman and her story deserves a place of its own here in this blog.*
Over a period of 45-years Al and I lived our lives separated by time and distance. He stayed in Maryland while I moved west. We managed from time to time to reconnect, only very occasionally, via phone calls. I had spoken to Al several years ago when I learned he was suffering with COPD. He was the same guy, the same sarcasm and still the jokester I remembered from our times together so long ago. Despite all those years of separation and little contact I remember thinking: losing him would be a bitter pill to swallow.
Life is an everyday occurrence, until one day it’s not. ~~ Susanne Strempek Shea
A few weeks ago I was looking at hand tools, many of them with a lifetime replacement guarantee. As I read those words I was reminded there really are no guarantees, not with tools and not especially when it comes to lifetimes. Here today, gone tomorrow — no time outs, no second chances and few replacement parts.
Like most of us when young and stupid I thought myself invincible, that I would live forever. At least I envisioned the inevitable so far off that it seemed that way. Even when I experienced the death of contemporaries my attitude, my life style and the risks I often took spoke of an assumed immunity. That only happens to the other guy, tomorrow never comes! But as one ages — receiving experiences and education that almost always come with the passage of time — we realize the years quickly pass us by. For me the inevitable is a lot closer than it was once perceived. So, I’ve changed my mind, time to savor the moments. Continue reading
During my youth every kid in my Riverdale, Maryland neighborhood had a bicycle, and I was no exception. I had lived there since I was four and all my earliest childhood memories originate there. I’m sure I went through three or four bikes during those years, my first being a small Huffy with training wheels, and later upgrading to the most popular of them all, a Schwinn! Continue reading
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share.
~~ Steve Jobs ~~
I had planned to post something different in the morning, but just over an hour ago I saw the news on the Internet of the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The fear I wrote of, just a little more than a month ago, that his time might be short, has sadly been realized.
In June of 2005 Jobs left a touching and timely commencement message with the graduating students of Stanford University. From his unique perspective and very personal experiences he urged those graduates to pursue their dreams and to look to the various setbacks of life for the opportunities that present themselves, including death itself.
I’m not sure why I am as saddened about Jobs’ death as I am. I guess it has something to do with his young age and all that he had to offer the world, now cut short in the prime of his life. The world won’t be the same without Steve.
“Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is optional.”
“Age is just a number.” “You’re only as old as you feel.”
“Growing old ain’t for sissies.”
As much as we might wish it weren’t so and as much as the young think it will never come, we all grow old. At least we have hopes we will, rather than face the alternative. But I’ve also been known to say, there are worse things than dying, and… there are.
With the passing of each year we draw ever closer to getting older… getting old. I’ve often reflected on how quickly it has come along. Certainly reckless living, eating, drinking and merriment — thinking we’ll stay young for ever, that tomorrow never comes — will hasten its arrival. In looking back I wish I had taken more time to stop and smell the roses. Not that I haven’t done that on occasion, it’s only I wish I had done it more. Continue reading