A momentous occasion occurred last Saturday. The Divine Miss K and I marked our 50th wedding anniversary. I can hear you all now, wondering how she did it? I usually quote the Bible and tell her that, “Many are called but few are chosen”. We have had a lot of fun and it doesn’t seem like 50 at all.
A weekend in Palm Beach was a more than fitting replacement for a worldwide cruise or a quick jet to Paris. The Brazilian Court Hotel is old school and elegant. Maybe the way things used to be. Not a throwback but a hidden treasure. It was perfect.
For the uninitiated, Palm Beach Island is its own little world with His Hairness and Mara Lago to the north and Worth Avenue to the south. The latter is home to swells and wannabes. Comically a hot red Ferrari came around the block several times with the radio blasting. Gauche but noticeable. It called to mind “cruising” in American Graffiti. Just grayer hair and a lot more expensive hot rods.
There was a marvelous inside terrace at the hotel that was the meeting point for breakfast, an afternoon glass of wine or a wonderful dinner. Neat but not gaudy is the phrase I like to use. Kath and I chatted quite a bit. We reminisced and looked forward. That forward part looms ever shorter but we still have a little runway left.
Looking back was an adventure. Friends made and too many friends gone. Wonderful kids and grandkids. Successes and failures. New horizons and incredible memories. When you think of it we have seen assassinations of presidents and wars of all sorts. My little sojourn to Nam interrupted our wedding plans. 9/11 struck right in the heart of my daughter’s nuptials. A death of my best friend broke my heart. Financial crises almost broke my and a lot of other people’s back.
We thought we would never recover. Watergate was going to bring down the country. Riots at the Democratic convention in Chicago were almost as heinous as a couple of weeks ago at the Capitol. Kent State. MLK and a soulful speech of hope in “I have a dream” and then to have that candle snuffed out by a lunatic. Little Rock, Montgomery. You think you have seen violence?
Yes, we got down but I still revel in our tenacity and resilience. In every single instance we came back stronger than ever. Bruised but not beaten. Why do we dwell on all that is wrong and fail to even consider what is right? That is not to brush off the gravity of now. It is bad and we know it. But why is it so hard to dig deep? 70% of our populace feels we are going in the wrong direction. Do you feel that deep down or is it just chiming in with the chorus because it feels better ?
Okay for the moment let’s call me a “Have”. We were comfortable growing up but a wonderful Irish mother would cut you off at the knees if you even hinted at that. We had paper routes, cut lawns and babysat. I delivered mail one summer to pay for my college expenses.
Was it hard? Who knows ? It was a job and you did it. Military service was not an option but a rite of passage. Nobody gave a shit who your daddy was. It was a remarkable experience in that everyone was the same and you were serving your country.
Along the way we have met trust funders and others who climbed the wall. People who got their place by right and others who got it by grit. I am turned off by the entitled. I am equally so by the “ you owe me”crowd. Just a fair shake, not a free ride. The world as we know it is not fair. That is unless we are willing to give up any sense of achievement or self esteem. A socialist society begets equality. If that is what you truly want, then go for it. I honestly don’t think you will like it once you get there..
I am not pontificating but maybe just spilling my guts. Kathy and I have seen a lot but we are not sage philosophers. At least not me. As a society we tend to analyze and criticize ad nauseam. Gotcha here. Gotcha there. Is there any role for just living? Doing the best you can. Saying what you feel without retribution. Spontaneous and genuine, not canned and appropriate.
We are a minuscule dot in the history of time. We think we are the cat’s meow but we are just a few years from being a has been. Maybe you have giant headstone or a building named after you. After it is over, does it really matter? Fame is fleeting and so is life. Take time to enjoy.
I truly hope you have been as lucky as me and hopefully that still very cute brown eyed girl feels that way also. It is not money or fame. It is a life that has been a blast. Every night I make some smart ass comment before we go to bed. She smiles broadly, giggles and it is the best thing in the world. As time goes by.
Several years ago I wrote down how I hoped to live my life. Not commandments but aspirations. I hope one or two might work for you.
Nobody and I mean nobody is better nor worse than me. Whether you are a vagrant or a billionaire we are the same. Don’t play either card or your are history.
I will speak out when I see injustice. My place in life sometimes may makes that uncomfortable but I have to look myself in the mirror every day. It is just not right
I am passionate and sensitive to the core, which some see as a weakness. I take it as a strength. I feel for myself and I feel for you.
I will lay down in the road for you if you make the effort. Charity is a two way street. I will give but you have to show me you want to take steps to change
I trust people to a fault. I believe in their goodness. I have been betrayed on occasion and it stinks. I have also been rewarded and they are some of the best moments of my life.
I crave the unknown. It is not an abyss but an exciting prospect.
I can’t take back what I said 5 seconds ago. I really don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I am writing to you, my good friends at this very point in time and that is very cool
I am going to turn people off. Too brazen. Too outspoken. But if you get me, we will have a boatload of fun and maybe accomplish some wonderful things. At least we tried.