Can't sleep? Read today's blog post. It is my birthday today so today's post is all about me. Through the years in pictures and words. I just find today a time for reflection. Tomorrow the blog will go back abnormal and there will be less selfish posts.
Long before there was Chubby Checkers, there was chubby cheeks:
I was the only one in the family with red hair. I often would think I was adopted. Whenver I thought my parents were treating my sister and brother better than they were me, I'd hop on Dolly and run away. Clear to my grandmother's house. After dark dad would come over with the family pickup and put Dolly in the back and me in the front. He never scolded me.
I learned at a very early age that family is important. Also that brothers form a special relationship and while they will always be there to help each other once in a while a brother my goose you.
Starting High School and learning all about traditions. Painting the K. It was up on the hill overlooking and could be seen anywhere in good old Klamath Falls, Oregon. Freshman were required to paint the K every year, if you didn't show up you ended up on the bell tower in front of KUHS sans pants. I am the second one to the right slightly bent over with a white shirt and paint covered jeans:
I learned tradition my freshman year in high school and my freshman year in college I learned life isn't always a bed of roses. The next eight years I would be given constant lessons including how strong I was, that humor will get you through most anything, that sometimes people are cruel, but when all is said or done you can't survive major trauma without faith, family, and friends. And that when you are a success at something women have been there helping you along the way.
I am probably one of the few men that merged his car with a 55 foot semi-truck and lived to tell about it. I was in a hospital eighty miles from my home town. This picture is shortly after the accident. I had to be in a private room because I hurt so much that people talking would increase the pain. Except when Susan P talked the pain went away. We had the same doctor. She was in an accident about a week before mine. Doctor Wilson was worried that she wasn't trying hard enough to get well and he was worried that even as hard as I was trying to get well that eventually I would lose faith and give up. He found out that Susan P and I graduated from the same high school. He sent her down to my room to meet me. We became friends. She got better and was out of the hospital and home in two weeks. I never gave up. In the hospital on Tuesday nights we would hide our sleeping pills under our tongues, she would sneak down to my room and we would watch The Fugitive. I was in one hundred pounds of traction so it was the purest of friendships. She was engaged to me married. We remained friends for a long time. After I got out of hospital she was one of two friends that would come over and load me and the wheelchair in their cars and take me for rides. The other was Dave T, the same Dave T that I ran into a couple of weeks ago. Maybe some day I will unexpectedly run into Susan.
After Susan went home they moved me to to a double room. I got better but the quality of companionship decreased substantially. The first roomate up was a CB kind of guy. They thought if he had his CB radio in his room it would help him heal faster. I had to listen to "10-4 Good Buddy" both day and night. When he went safely on his way a country and western music lover entered the room. They thought that having his stereo in the room would help him heal faster. He played one song over and over again. A Hank Williams classic called "Five Little Fingers" The song was about a dad wanting to commit suicide but what stopped him was when the five little fingers of his young daughter brushed over his face. Just before severe depression set in he went on his merry way. The next roomie only lasted a couple of days. I think maybe it was the night he told me he was an escaped prisoner from Colorado. Nurses must have overheard him. The last roomie before I was given my release papers was a drugged out surfer from Santa Cruz. He would tell me where I could buy good drugs. Just what I needed at the time because I was medically addicted to drugs. The only thing that would cure the pain was morphine. I was given it several times a day. Even though I was still bedridden they let me go home because Mom had nursing experience. When I got home the clock stopped. I'd look at the clock and try to figure ways to speed it up so I could take more morphine. Finally, I decided enough is a enough and with mom and dad taking turns holding me I got off the damn drugs. It took three days. I would sweat so much they would have to change the bed several times a day.
On to the next step. Life is a progession. The is me about a year or so after the accident. I was having fun giving my nephew rides.
Moving on up to crutches and a leg brace and of course being supported by two women, my Mom and my sister.
I would eventually move on to getting rid of both the crutches and the leg brace. The first day I walked without aid I had never known such elation. I didn't think anything could bring me back down to earth until I walked out of the front door of my parents' hardware store and the first person I ran into said "Hi, Crip." I was crushed. In our house then we had a full length mirror at the end of a long hallway. From eight in the morning until eight at night I would walk in front of that full length mirror until I could walk without a limp.
On to my career. Two young professionals. A shy CPA and a handsome young attorney.
I have had a great career. I was part of man's first landing on the moon and won The Appolo Achievement Award. I've caught loan sharks and embezzlers. I've helped send the crooks to jail. I have testified in several trials as an expert witness. I've met movie stars. I won so many IRS audits that other CPAs referred business to me. I made it in Who's Who On The West Coast one year for challenging a tax law. I've kept clients out of jail, mostly attorneys. I started two successful CPA practices. I never advertised only taking referrels. The first practice ended with four hundred and fifty clients, the second with three hundred.
I sold my practice the first time to take care of my dad:
I sold my practice the second time to take care of Mom:
And that is where I am now. Taking Care of Mom. Working part-time and taking care of my home. Looking back I've not only had a good career I've had a good life. Sure it wasn't perfect. I do have some regrets, the two most regrets are never marrying and not being a father because I would have been a damn good husband and father. There have been times when I left life but I always returned. I have had many failures but they have always been followed my successes. There have been years when I no doubt took to much but I took off a year just to give back. That year I worked in a cancer research center trying to find a vaccine to cure breast cancer. I did toy drives for both the abused shelter and the childrens' hospital. I sold hot dogs to raise money to buy third graders shoes and socks. I am proud to be a winner of a Helen Keller Award but I am more proud to have a letter from a third grader thanking me for the sausage biscuit because he had never been to a restaurant before. I've had my share of addictions but I recovered from all of them. I've been madly in love three times but sadly life just got in the way. Still I am a better man for knowing each one of those women.
However, what makes a life successful is friends and family. I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have so many I call friends and to have such a loving family. My life has been a success becuase of people like the ones following the blog and reading this post. Thank you.
I'm looking forward to dinner tonight at Rose's. Especially their free birthday desert.