Blog 1036 – 06.27.2018
No Long Sad Farewells For Me
This November, if I live, I will celebrate the sixty-eighth anniversary of my arrival on this merry-go-round. In 1968 I graduated from Chattanooga Central High School and several members of the graduating class are planning to get together in August for a fiftieth reunion. I only made it to the twenty fifth reunion but had a good time with classmates and sang karaoke for the first time at the urging of my wife. A teenaged Beatle fan, I picked, “When I’m Sixty-Four.” I wasn’t yet so it was a hit, at least it pleased my wife and I was pleased too. That opened a door for me to sing more. Up till that point I had only sung up front in church, and not that for quite some time. I have always loved to sing, perhaps even more than I love to talk or to write and I do indeed love both. Can’t you tell?
One of the most disturbing things about getting older for many people is having to say, “Farewell” to so many friends and family. Not me, and I have said many a farewell, probably the most difficult to a child, my baby girl, Emily Elaine White, when she was thirty-two and I almost sixty-two, still not sixty-four. I have had to say good-bye to many friends and family members – to my grandfather, my father, my mother, and my grandmother – to uncles and aunts, cousins, my first being Uncle Richard when I was ten, and the last, well, I still have three out of four wives, a brother, two sons (one, Ben, no longer claims to be my son and hasn’t for a long time but I will always think of him that way for I met him when he was five.) I met my boy, Jay, on his first day, he disowned me for a little while too in his late teens but I knew I’d win him back. Even my boy, Ben told me when his sister Emily died that he would always be grateful to me for my part in bringing her into the world and that was every bit as good as a hug to me. Ben’s older brother, David, also my son, has already left the stage. He wasted away for almost a year with pancreatic cancer, such a terrible way to go.
I have thought for sometime that I might like to live passed one hundred. With certain conditions i.e. having all the parts that I started out with (except my tonsils – I lost them at fourteen) and all of them working, still feeling good, and having my mind clear and working. For sometime I have thought my preferred exit strategy, when the time comes, is something quick and relatively painless like a heart attack, stroke, or even a speeding Mack truck, no long drawn out good-byes for me, so I will say it now unless I do not get the chance, “I have enjoyed your company, see you later.” Now let’s get back to living.
A friend reminded me of a Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler, in which one line says, “The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep.” I am still practicing that one for my Mockingbird Song fans and hope to put it out there soon. But till I do, Linda, and all who enjoy a karaoke or a mockingbird song, this one is for you. Sweet dreams, sleep tight and if as I hope to, not just now, I drift away some night, I fully expect to see you later in some other even sweeter dream.
When You Come Back To Me Again
Your friend and fellow traveler,