Happy New Year, everyone.
I wonder what went through the minds of my grandparents in 1962, or my parents in 1975, when both my father and grandfather attained the age I am now. In 1962 Jack Nicklaus was only beginning his golf career. The Berlin wall was up and keeping the east and west of Germany separated. The Cuban blockade started and the pope ex communicated Fidel Castro. The US Supreme Court decided against racial separation on public transportation, and Walter Cronkite begins his career as the anchor of CBS evening news. The Beatles replaced Pete Best with Ringo Starr and West Side Story won for best picture at the Academy Awards. NASA announced the selection of nine astronauts with the "Right Stuff". Quite a year.
In 1975 some of the Watergate crew were convicted and sentenced to prison. The Rocky Horror Show opened and the Eagles and Barry Manilow were chart toppers. That guy Nicklaus won the Masters and Frank Robinson was the first negro manager. NBC paid 5 million to show Gone With The Wind one time on TV. Cher divorces Sonny and Jaws opens in the theaters. Hoffa disappears from a Detroit area restaurant and China and Russia continue to test nuclear weapons.
What occupied my father's thoughts that year or my grandfather 13 years before? Was it anything like my thoughts this year, amazed at how fast the year has gone. Saddened by the senseless tragedy and all the violence and rudeness that seems to prevail in our world.
Or did they find comfort in the beauty of the world and in the people in their life? Were they thankful of the many good things in their lives, the health of their families and the prosperity that allowed them to live comfortably? Did they try to make the world a better place with a well timed smile or a compliment? Were they worried about their health or if the money they saved for retirement would last until they died?
Or did they marvel in the moon in a winter sky, full and bright with coloring from the wispy clouds that pass along its surface? Were they amazed at the technology of the age. Color television in 1962 and in 1975 a small start up company call Microsoft started in a garage. Did they frown at the brevity of life and the start of the infirmities of age? I don't know. They never said.
I'd be willing to bet that such thoughts were as alien to them as singing opera is to me.
But as this year opens I have many recurring thoughts. I can't imagine the standard of living we have in this country, and how we take it and our health for granted. We've become a nation of pill poppers at one extreme and health fanatics at the other end.
I worry about Danny and my mom. I am saddened by the pain and suffering of those who I know have constant pain or health issues, or have paid the emotional toll of loosing a loved one this past year. I worry about Deb most of all. She is my jewel, the one person that can put up with me. She, who along with a dog I've mentioned before, loves me unconditionally every day.
She is doing well so far with the radiation. Applying the creme to prevent skin damage, fighting a cold this week, but resting and saving her strength for the coming weeks.
We try to imagine a world without the pain of disease and injury. A place of happiness and complete understanding. Where nothing disappoints and nothing surprises. A place where there are no goodbyes, only hellos. A place that Dorothy imagined to be somewhere over the rainbow.
So on this first day of the new year, I have a wish for each of you. My wish is that you achieve the peace of mind that comes with understanding that this place we call home, isn't our final destination. We are meant to suffer and die before we reach our final reward. That life isn't fair, has mind numbing stress at times, and the buttered side of the bread always hits the floor first. And since this isn't our final home, we can be assured that a place has been prepared for us to spend eternity. I believe this completely, because I read it in a Book.
Out of love and hatred, out of earnings and borrowings and lendings and losses; out of sickness and pain; out of wooing and worshipping; out of traveling and voting and watching and caring; out of disgrace and contempt, comes our tuition in the serene and beautiful laws.
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882, American Poet, Essayist