“Every dog has his day, every day has its way of being forgotten,
Mom it’s my birthday. What would you say?”
- Dave Matthews Band
It is my birthday, although Mom never forgot it.
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I was unforgettable to her, probably because I came into the world at a Missouri small-town doctor’s office during a blizzard and the doctor thought I might kill her. I tried to come sideways. The doctor found a hand hanging down when he examined my mom. I think I was just curious about what was out there and was hesitant to come out until I thought it was safe.
Amazingly, we both survived, her for 95 years until March of last year and me for 65, so far. But who’s counting?
Judging from the number of calls and letters I’ve gotten trying to sell me Medicare supplement insurance in the last few months, almost everyone in the world. But that will soon be over since this is my last milestone birthday.
I’ve been 13 and turned a teenager. I’ve been 16 and gotten a driver’s license. I’ve been 21 and gotten to drink legally. There also was some age in my 20s when my insurance rates went down for some reason but I can’t remember either the age or the reason.
I’m told memory loss is a symptom of aging as well as the tendency to ramble far from the course of what you were trying to say, but I wouldn’t know.
Life begins as a sprint as we each try to reach those milestone birthdays as quickly as possible to become adults, with all the privileges thereof. But after 21, it quickly becomes a distance race and, if we survive, a marathon.
The problem is we don’t even know where the finish line is. That makes it difficult to plan a strategy, which may be why I never did.
As soon as I realized I wasn’t going to get my dream job — professional baseball player — it didn’t seem to matter much what I did. So, I stumbled along until I luckily stumbled upon journalism and discovered there was another career I could love.
Eventually I ended up coming to Belleville, doing this, and getting paid for it. I know, life can be so unfair, can’t it?
Occasionally the days dragged, but the years flew.
I mostly had a good time, met some incredible people and saw some cool things. I not only got to ride in a blimp, but I got to ride on two different blimps, although one was called an airship. I don’t remember why I was on either of them although I do remember talking to Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith on one of them.
If only I had written these things down.
Wait, I did and I kept them all. If only I could find them now.
I tell you, as you get older, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. I can’t wait for another year.
Wally Spiers: Wally.Spiers@gmail.com