Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's a double "happy ..." day

The photo Rachel posted for Father's Day ... this was a litte
more than eight years ago -- one of the great days.
       This is one of those rare June 16ths -- not only my birthday, but also Father's Day. Doesn't happen all that often.
       It's the first time June 16 has fallen on a Sunday in 11 years, since 2002. It's happened five times -- 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002 and today -- since I became a father.
       So that means double "happy ... " today. Double the cards and double the presents from my wife, my kids and my grandkids -- all my favorite people. And because this is my third Facebook birthday, I thank you in advance (because I'm posting this early this morning) for all the birthday wishes.
       (Actually, those began Sunday a week ago from my old Shreveport Times friends Gerry Robichaux and Jim McLain, who -- in newspaper parlance -- got their copy in early.)
        My mother, in her last couple of decades, used to joke, when asked about her age, that the number had a "7" -- later an "8" -- in it, but she couldn't remember the other number. Today, my birthday number has a "6" ... in fact, two 6s.
        Doesn't bother me; age really is just a stage of mind. But then my wife says she's waiting for me to act my age, and she's been waiting a long time. What are the chances?
        What does bother me is that my reflexes, flexibility and balance aren't as good as they once were. I don't hear as well on the phone, and I get tired more easily. Yet, because of daily walks and much healthier eating (not always, mind you, but most of the time), I'm still in decent shape.
With Jason in 2005 ... now it's Father's Day for him, too
         So it's OK to have another birthday, and I'll take as many more as I can. But I'm a lot prouder of the significance of Father's Day; being a dad and granddad is the best part of my life. No presents can equal that.
         A year ago on my birthday, I did a Q&A with myself for the blog. Today I will offer some birthday wishes.
         Some of these are sincere, some are folly, some are idealistic. Deep down I'm still an idealist, although I try to look at the world realistically. So please excuse what might be silly notions.
         Here goes ... here's what I wish for on my birthday:
         -- Continued good health. It's irreplaceable. We've been so blessed that Beatrice is going strong, 11 years after her first colon cancer scare/surgery.
         -- Much more time with the three grandkids. They give us the most joy, the best moments and memories.
         -- More success for our kids in their respective businesses, whether it's in plumbing construction supply, the Cajun Tailgators food truck, sports talk radio ("The Drive" in Knoxville) or the middle school resource center.
         -- More good blog topics.
         -- The resolution of confrontations through compromise in the U.S. Congress and in the Middle East (see, I told you some of this was idealism).
         -- Relief from our financial crisis/mess and a sensible way to solve the immigration issue that leaves everyone satisfied to an extent. Impossible, right?
         -- Cures for the physical ailments that rob years from so many people.
         -- No losses, ever, for the Yankees (this has been a bad week), LSU, Louisiana Tech and the Dutch national soccer team. (Don't wish anything bad for the Rangers and Astros ... except when they play the Yankees). If LSU and La. Tech face each other, in any sport, may the best team win.
         -- Convince Jerry Jones that the way to really improve the Cowboys is for him (and his family) to sell the team to someone who knows what they're doing. Stop trying to convince people that the Dallas Cowboys are still an elite franchise in the NFL. It just isn't so.
         -- Give Jason Garrett a personality to match what everyone says is his brainpower. As the head coach, he is just plain boring -- cliche-ridden, secretive, rote -- and his playcalling was as boring as his meetings with the media. And Tom Landry had a "plastic man" reputation?
         -- Make the careless and overrated Tony Romo stop sinking to the occasion when the Cowboys most need him to come through. Dez Bryant? Don't even want to start ...
         -- Renewed relevance for the Mavericks in the NBA and the Stars in the NHL. Some guards for the Mavs who can play with games on the line.
         -- A lot less media time for Nick Saban and Gary Patterson and several other college football coaches who take themselves much too seriously. (We'd like to hear from some other people.) A lot less goofiness and better in-game decisions for our man Les Miles; is that possible?
         -- Speaking of too seriously, a lot less media time, too, for Tiger Woods, who doesn't seem to enjoy himself as he's winning golf tournaments and who isn't much fun for me to watch. Sure, he's the greatest player going, but he could show a human side.
         -- While we're on golf ... happy birthday (43rd)/Father's Day, too, to Phil Mickelson, who -- if he can finish this off -- can give himself his first U.S. Open title today (after five second-place finishes).
         -- Make LeBron James and Dwyane Wade go away. Don't like watching them, either. In fact, I don't like watching the NBA, period. But Beatrice loves her Mavericks, and at least Dirk looks as if  he's having fun, most of the time.
         -- New faces in tennis ... tired of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Serena. How about Patrick Harrison, or Christian Harrison? That way I might even watch tennis.
         -- Somehow, some way, new life for newspapers and continued employment for those who are still working in that field. Good luck to you people. I don't miss it.
         -- Happy retirement for Mariano Rivera, but plenty more saves for the Yankees' closer the rest of this season.
         -- A return to the field, in good physical shape, for Derek Jeter -- like Mo, a class act, always.
         -- Lots of change -- coins and dollar bills -- on the ground in the streets around the TCU area where I walk daily. I'll be looking for it and if I find it, it's mine.
         -- Enough exercise to make it worthwhile. And while it's hot in the summer, daily dips in the pool.
         -- Continued forms of entertainment for us in Fort Worth and/or Arlington -- concerts at Bass Hall, monthly old movies and jazz performances at the Central Library, the Concerts in the Garden, the Botanical Gardens, plays at the Jubilee Theater, the golf tournament at Colonial right down the street, even a ballgame now and then.
         -- More great meals, at home and elsewhere. But sensible ones -- cut the white bread and the potatoes and gravy, limit the cake and cookies and ice cream, no sweet tea, no soft drinks. Lots of fruits and greens, almond milk and low sodium vegetable juice.
         -- More good books. I've read about a dozen the last couple of months, some of which had been sitting near this computer for two-plus years. Our book club has taken me far beyond the realm of sports (seriously).
         -- For my friends who have loved ones with serious health challenges, prayers and best wishes and sympathy, and the strength to deal with whatever they face. Seems as if every day, we have a friend who has lost a parent or a spouse, and it's one aspect of growing older that I find difficult. We must accept that this is part of our experience on earth.
         -- For all my friends, old and new (on Facebook), good thoughts. There's lots to cherish in this world of ours.
         I didn't ask for too much, did I?            

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