TIME FOR REFLECTION
A Personal Holiday Tradition
This is my 54th holiday season as a married man. Even as I write it, I am amazed and thankful. My wife Sandy and I eloped during the first semester of our senior year at Davis and Elkins College, the best small college in America. That was on November 13, 1962. On December 13, 1962 we were married again for our family.
November 13, 1962 was the 12th anniversary of my father having a heart attack and dying at the kitchen table. A great trauma for a 10 year old. When I realized our date for eloping was that anniversary, Sandy said to change the plan. I decided to change the memory. It was a great decision.
As with all married couples, we have had our ups and downs. We have struggled and flourished. We have had good and not so good health. We were/are blessed with three children who, I am proud to say, are wonderful people, which is more important than any other accomplishment. Our grandchildren are following the same tradition. They make us proud every day.
My favorite time was when our children were teenagers. Yes, you read that correctly. I don’t think I, we, they, ever laughed more. It was a time that all of us grew up.
In our married life, we have lived in West Virginia, New York, Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts and then back to Arizona. I have been a teacher of children with learning disabilities, director of a program for “retarded children” (as they were called then) at New York Medical College/Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals, drove a big bus throughout New York City as part of that program, lectured at two international conferences on mental retardation in Europe, drove a truck for Seven-Up, sold insurance, graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic as one of four class valedictorians, was a student, teacher and administrator at Palmer College for nine months prior to graduation, had a professional office in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and then in Tucson, Arizona.
My experience as a student, faculty member and administrator at Palmer College taught me the importance of looking at all issues from different points of view. Therefore, I am more likely to intelligently evaluate issues rather than simply act/rant emotionally. One exception was the New England Patriots losing a perfect season in the last seconds to the New York Giants. That still pisses me off.
For about 20 years I was one of a few pioneers in the field of low intensity laser therapy (LILT) and lectured internationally on the clinical application of this marvelous technology. Most important of all, I had a positive impact on people’s lives for 54 years. I hope to continue that trend.
I have almost always had a wonderful sense of humor. At least I think so. In truth, my sense of humor exists to entertain myself. I think I am pretty successful at it. I learned my humor, for better or for worse, form Irving Katz, one of my many surrogate fathers.
For most of my life, I have lived with pain associated with a benign tumor on a nerve root in my lower spine. It was successfully operated on in 1971 and 1981. However, it appears I am so likeable that it keeps coming back. It prematurely ended my Chiropractic career.
In my lifetime I have had many people who have helped save an emotionally lost kid. One was James Tyson, a man of color from Raleigh, North Carolina and the janitor/handy man for the apartment in which I lived. He taught me to be on time, be pleasant about work even if you don’t love the chore, to always do the best quality work, to admit mistakes and, most importantly, that love is color blind.
A special teacher, Nathaniel Glass, saved my academic life during my senior year in high school. Another teacher told my mother, “If you are lucky your son will be a garbage man, but I don’t think he will pass the civil service exam.” I thank her because it was my goal to make her wrong.
Lee Morrone saved my adult life by being a remarkable role model at a time I desperately need one. She even “paid” for me to get accepted to college. It was there I met my wife and everything good happened since then.
There were many others. I can never repay them for how they saved this kid. I can, and have spent my life paying it forward.
My wife and I have discovered that the “Golden Years” is really “Fools Gold”. Nevertheless, I certainly can’t complain. My father died at age 42. I am sure, if given the choice of living longer but having arthritis, hearing problems, pain, and increasing maladies, I think he would have chosen all of them.
Speaking of the “Golden Years,” my wife and I had a discussion about our “intimate relationship.” Yes, even old people can occasionally be physically intimate (they are always mentally and emotionally intimate). She suggested that we save those moments for special occasions. I thought about it and calculated that, considering birthdays (ours, our kids and grand kids), anniversaries (we have two), national holidays, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Passover, Christmas and Hanukkah, New Year, Halloween and Thanksgiving, it came to about 25 special occasions. When I told her what I was thinking, she informed me she was thinking more like whenever a new Pope was elected. How could I not love that woman!
As we have gotten older, we have, more and more, realized that the best possible holiday present was good health for us, our children, grandchildren, relatives and friends.
I have also learned that the most valuable thing in our lives is time. We can lose our money and accumulate more, we can even lose our health and regain it. However, every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, score and decade that passes can never be recovered. It is for this reason that I am especially grateful that you spend some of your time reading things that I write in my blogs. I never take my time or yours for granted.
I have been told for most of my life that I always see the “glass as half full.” That is not true. I am always happy that I have a glass. It is my wish for all of you that this holiday season and New Year bring you good health, prosperity and love. I also hope that you always have a glass.