Last Friday I turned 70. My daughter Lindsey was kind enough to put a picture of me celebrating on Facebook and many of you responded. Thank you for the fact there were more thumbs up than down. I have discovered than it is almost impossible to look forward and backward in the same breath without tripping over yourself. Advanced age brings great wisdom.
We went to the Broadmoor with two of three offspring families for the weekend. We will do an encore in London with son Scott and company in 10 days. My mom used to say when we all got together, “Can you imagine that JJ and I started all this?” I think I get it now.
The kids were beyond funny staying at a big hotel for the first time. Sorry. For those who do not know, the Broadmoor in Colrado Springs is a beautifully updated version of a bygone era of luxury and class. A large lake with bridges and geese provided plenty of entertainment for 4-10 year olds. You couldn’t help but think of what this all must look like to these young wide eyes. They found hidden spots and nooks and crannies throughout. There was a library that could belong in any baronial manor and the oldest found their way up the book stacks on a movable ladder.
Daughter Lindsey gave me a digital picture frame loaded with pictures that really did go back 70 big ones. I don’t know where she found them but they were beyond fun. A lot of streams and bridges. I hope I didn’t burn too many of the latter. There were friends past and present. Some had died . Some had just faded away. The grandkids all marveled at the sight of Padge when he had hair. So did I.
As the pictures passed in the slide show you could almost feel the emotions of particular times. The security of a big house as a five year old. The uncertainty of a prep school in New York City or a college in DC. Be cool TTG. The world is your oyster but don’t blow it. The Navy provided a whole different sense. Sitting on a Swift Boat late at night in some God forsaken place 10,000 miles from home was not one’s idea of a road trip.
Then a new chapter with a wonderful wife and the tiny beginnings of a family. Careers, houses, station wagons and clubs. What more could you want? But then the wanderlust and adventure kicked in and we were off for the West. Seemed to suit us just fine and always called us back.
Time doesn’t tarry but roars as the years roll by. You look at your peers and say there is no way I look that old and gray. I put 19,000 steps on my Fitbit on Saturday as I tried to prove once again that I was Superman.Working out, golf, tennis and of course the victory cigar. I did this for my kids, grandkids and wife but most of all for me. Not to show off but to set the tone for the who knows how many years to come.
We drove back north to Denver on Sunday morning. It was a sparkling day and lot to think about. I25 may seem boring to some but to me it was a panoply of sights and thoughts. The Air Force Academy was a symbol of youth and leadership and at the same the war machine I have learned to detest. Mesa and buttes under Monument Hill hid farms and those anonymous families that ply the land. A huge Burlington Northern train hauled gigantic vanes for wind farms, Dozens and dozens of them. Ironic these are the same rails that carry the coal trains out of Wyoming. To each his own.
Beyond birthdays I have had some truly touching and difficult meetings this week. At hospice yesterday I sat with a woman for almost three hours as she lay dying. I was incredulous at the human spirit as she fought to live and yet knowing the inevitable. Later I talked with a great friend who is battling cancer. Nothing special. Just talk. I heard from someone who has been estranged for over five years. We talked for an hour. Some things change and others never do. I had to put distance with another. I wish I was more tolerant.
I lit into our local bishop over what I considered to be some serious insensitivity and ignorance. Predictably he told me to buzz off with a “Sincerely yours in Christ.” C’est la guerre. I am working with some incredibly civic and energetic people who want to try to make Denver a better place to live. They amaze me. All in all, situation normal.
Strangely enough this curtain came down on Sunday while watching the Masters. Jordan Speith is one hell of a golfer but an even better human being at the ripe old age of 21. Must be his Jesuit training. I didn’t marvel at his score as much as his grace and maturity, His posse was his family. The groupies and pariahs could wait and maybe never appear. He was decent and wholesome in a world where every one wants to get a piece of you.Just a nice way to end things.
I am going to use that as my plan for the future. In spite of all the mayhem abroad and nominations at home there is a beautiful world out there. So much to do and see and most of to all learn. Thanks for reading and for your friendship one and all. It’s what keeps me going.
Ted The Great
I have been alive during the terms of 13 presidents and 7 popes. A half a dozen major wars and countless skirmishes. A good friend, Sue Rush told me at a cocktail party many years ago if I had married any other woman I would have burned through three wives by now. No doubt.
Our first house in 1972 cost $42,500. I went to bed the night before closing convinced no one would ever pay more for a house ever again. My dad bought a house from Bill Levitt himself in a luxury neighborhood in Manhasset , Long island in 1937 for $9,000. Levitt went on to build hundreds if not thousands of homes for GI’s coming home from the war in the late 1940’s.
Jordan Speith in not even three years on the tour has earned over $13,000,000. He will be 22 in July. His caddy has earned $375,000 in the last four weeks alone. Where did I go wrong?
The Broadmoor sits on 5,000 acres 60 miles south of Denver. It has over 800 rooms consisting of bedrooms, suites. brownstones, cottages, and ranch accommodations. The height above sea level is 6230 compared to 5280 for Denver. We always say going down to Colorado Springs but in actuality it is up.