It seems like some of the craziness is tapering off while we still hold onto our cherished moments of insanity. Transition can go forward and the vaccine is in sight. Yet as homo sapiens we can’t control our urges to mingle on the feast day of feast.
We all want our place at that Norman Rockwell table even though Uncle Lenny always gets smashed and someone makes a remark or taunt to causes one or several to leave the buffet in tears. We say grace but real fast so we can dig in. Some don’t say anything.
In the midst of all this I have decided to sit down a few days before and really think about all I have and how good life has been to me. Not riches or fame but an incredible series of events and relationships that have formed me over these 75 years.
For a moment just think about family. Not just immediate but over the centuries the number of unions that go into the DNA of you and me. My grandmother, who at the age of 14 joined her 16 year old sister to go down a country lane in County Roscommon, town of Boyle and wind up in a place called America. Talk about guts or desperation or perhaps a little of both.
There have been so many teachers that cajoled, disciplined and gave you little pearls of wisdom that have stuck with me all these years. The Sister Eamons and Albertas that were strict but not as heartless as wags might tell us. My beloved Jesuits who taught me to question and an English teacher in college who liked the way I wrote and may have given rise to Ted’s Head so many years later.
Bosses? As a true rebel and egalitarian I have railed from time to time about authoritarian figures. Still there were some who saw something in me whether as a captain of a ship or a titan of industry. One in particular gave me wide latitude to as he said, “make myself or hang myself”. Your option.
I mentioned to a fellow golfer last week, a memory when I had a caddy back in New Jersey. He dryly noted he never owned a caddy. I quickly added that Steve, a black man from Harlem and I were good friends. It did make me think about so many people who have been so giving to me over the years.
Whether it is a waiter, maitre’d, cleaning lady, bartender, nurse, shopkeeper in a little town, just for a moment of revery I am going to cogitate about how gracious so many people have been to me. Again I have always thought of them as friends. I wish there was some way I could thank each one of them and let them know what that has meant to me. Maybe just a please, may I have, and thank you today can make up for some of that.
Kathy and I have lived in so many locales over the years. A little nuts? Of course but just think of the myriad of people we have come to know from all walks of life. Neighbors by the score in towns, churches, clubs, kid’s soccer teams, schools and business. When you stop to add them up, it is really astounding.
Of course there have been some that have stood out more than others. Roommates, teammates, classmates, shipmates. For some unknown reason we clicked and I am so fortunate to have so many good friends right now and it is incredibly sad that some have so few or none. I have girl friends. Don’t tell the divine Miss K but I love talking to women. I am an equal opportunity gabber and sometimes flirt. To each and everyone of you I say thank you.
To those who have departed you know now what an effect you have had on my life. My closest friends, John and Tom. My older brother Kevin. All gone far too soon, no matter what their age. All are there when I needed them. I only hope I was half as good in return.
Of course the final piece has to be family. I have a sister that is the mother hen and the glue that holds this group of reprobates together. Even at this age when we are supposed to be independent she is there watching and worrying.
My son and daughters are in a word, fantastic. They have spread their wings but have not forgotten their roots. Each is is special and unique in so many ways. My munchkin grandkids can do no wrong. I look at pictures around this joint on a daily basis. I think of each one as the amazing individuals they are becoming. I forget birthdays and ages but they are always in my heart.
Last but surely not least I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such a wonderful wife. A good friend told me several years ago if I was married to any other woman I would have had three wives by now. The oracle thus spake. I am always amazed at the serendipities and pure chance that we met. It’ll be 50 years in January and doesn’t seem half that long.
The coolest thing is that when asked what she did for a living, she responds forcefully she was a mother and a wife. It has been her calling and her life. She is as cute as the day I met her and suffice to say I married up.
I hope if you have gotten this far, that you too can think about what gifts we all have. Not just a quick prayer on one day of the year but a realization that someone has been looking down on us even if you don’t believe in a God. Thank you for listening and reading all these years. You are all wonderful and dear friends. Thanks for the ride
Ted The Great