Last Thursday I turned 50 and It was a glorious birthday. I had already been on vacation for close to a week, the weather was fantastic, and the anticipated arrival of my newly discovered ‘Fiddy Sense’ had finally become reality. Turning half-a-century has enlightened me in ways that just a few days ago-I couldn’t have imagined.
My father, who is 89, and still capable of doing things that most 69-year-olds wish they could, always told me of things that I now realize as truth. “Friends are few, and far between.” “Most ‘friends’ you run across could give less than a damn about you-The ones you waste the most time with, will be the first ones to forget your name.” “Your best friends will be your wife and children, they live with you everyday-They know your shit stinks, and they still wanna hug you anyway.” “Smile, and the world will smile back at you-keep a frown and not one person will be around.” “Be half the man I am-I will be one-hundred percent grateful.”
I used to think that the above proclamations of Paul were nothing more than misguided meanderings of my father. He left home at 13, and essentially has been on his own ever since. He served our country in Germany during WWII and returned to the States with the same honor and pride of a Tuskegee Airman. My father never flew combat missions abroad, but he was a hell of an accomplished pilot of life once he returned home.
My father worked at B.F. Goodrich for 40-years. Besides a week-long strike in the 60′s, he never missed a day. More impressive, is the fact that he kept two or three other gigs at the same time. Plowing snow, landscaping(2nd ‘full-time job’ for years) moving furniture etc.=Whatever it took. “You have to hustle and scuffle for every dime you get.”
Acquiring ‘Fiddy Sense’ last week was beyond a blessing. The wise words of my father were realized in a profound manner that exceeded the ‘wisdom’ of my 20′s, 30′s, or for that matter… my 40′s. Those decades, FOR ME, were about most things going in one ear, and out the other. For some reason, I can not only hear, I can see clearly now, the reign of my less than wise ‘Fiddy sense’ is forever gone. I’m fucking fifty, I’m beyond nifty, and thanks to Paul-I believe I can continue to fly! ~Daryl