Friday, June 09, 2006


There is that day that occurs at the end of each summer, when a cool breeze slices the summer heat sending a slow crawling chill over your flesh, and pushes a painted leaf cheerfully rattling across your path. It is the unmistakable omen of the pending changes to come. It is a day that reminds me once a year of things that I could have changed but didn’t and things I did change but shouldn’t have. (Huh...maybe I'll use this opening paragraph in my next book.)

Regardless of the changes made or not, the fall of life is upon me. Sixty years now, where’d they go (to quote a Bob Seger song)?

Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
Twenty years
I don’t know
Sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone
And sometimes late at night
When I’m bathed in the firelight
The moon comes callin’ a ghostly white
And I recall

I know quite well where they went; I just didn’t take note of their passing as closely as I should have. Oh, as a child I held on to summer bliss as hard as I could trying to hold back the inevitable day school would begin again, but all the while longing to be grown up and own a fast car and have a nice girl.

I spent my adolescence wishing school would end so I could own a fast car so I could have a beautiful girl; never noticing that some of the greatest days of my life were “slip sliding away”.

I passed my early manhood and the prime of my health wishing my time in the Air Force and in Vietnam would end so I could own a fast car and get a beautiful girl. I never realized the historical significance of the experience until twenty years later. I took few significant photos and even fewer names. It was an experience of a life time; one you would never want to do again but one you would not trade for brand new fast car.

I spent my twenties playing house and wishing I had made other choices; wishing I had bought the Shelby instead of the plain 302 automatic, the 396 instead of the 350, the Hurst instead of the plain 442, asking someone to marry me instead of accepting an offer.

Nonetheless, I have arrived where I am through more divine intervention than personal judgment. If things had been left to me, I’d probably be living in some rundown trailer park with a fat old “used to be” blonde with no ambition, and no hopes of ever retiring.

I sit and wonder sometime about what would have been had just one decision in life had been different.

What if had married that little blonde that adored me and that I treated like dirt? There would have been no higher education, no higher ambition, but who really knows, maybe I would have still had the fastest old primered hot-rod with four of the slickest tires in the park!

More than anything I wanted to get a job in “big time” advertising in Atlanta. Once I was intrigued by Doyle Dane Bernbach, on a field trip sponsored by the College of Communications at the University of Tennessee. It was 1972, just prior to graduation, and DDB had the Coca-Cola account and was running at the top of the AD game after hitting the country with the '60s Coke anthem: "I'd like to teach the world to sing/in perfect harmony . . . “! A group of us on mock interviews visited the brain trust hard at work in a large open room on the second floor of a downtown Atlanta building. They were just young kids, really, not much older than me at the time. I envied them and the freedom of creation they seemed to have. Their work seemed to consist of sitting around playing with little things colored Coke red and white waiting for the next big idea to be born.

What if I had been free to pursue a job like that in “the big time”? I say free, because my wife at the time would not hear of leaving her family and moving to a “big” town, and maybe down deep inside I didn’t want to leave either. After all, I had just returned from Vietnam where I vowed never to leave home again.

Truthfully, I’d probably have been a workaholic (or something that ended in “aholic”) with more than 3 broken marriages and children from all 3 that never got to see their father. I would have loved the big time, even worshiped it, and there’s probably a Clio ( or two that would have almost been mine, but I’ll never know and divine intervention probably saved a lot of people heartache; and particularly me.

In my heart-of-hearts I know it would not have been the best move for me. I heard the horror stories of accounts lost and accounts swapped and how advertising folks moved from agency to agency following the accounts. I would probably have been miserable and insecure if I’m really honest with myself. However, I would have had the fastest car in the parking garage!

So, anyway, like I said, I have arrived at 60 having been married to 3 pretty gals, got 2 beautiful granddaughters, 1 pretty daughter, 1 handsome son, and having had at least 6 fast cars (including 3 Mustangs, a 442, and a Trans Am). So, I know where the years went “And I recall”, and it’s been a ball. I’ve had it all and it ain’t over yet – actually, I am contemplating another fast car soon! After all, like the blog title says, I AM A CHILD OF THE SIXTIES!


Joe Vaughan said...

Mushy, I've read most of your blogs and I think you have a great writing gift.

A tip, if it works for you, you could write first into WordPad and then paste it into the blog (if that's possible on your machine).. that way, if you lose what you write in getting it into cyberspace, you would still have the original copy on WordPad and it would be easy to recover.

Jennifer Lynn said...

Loved the twenty years gone by. Sounds like an adventure, true learning and a whole lotta fast and fun cars. You were a terrific guy, thank you for serving our country and you are a terrific man, father and truly wonderful grandfather. You, my dear man, have been blessed.

Mushy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Goddess said...

Hey, now, there's nothing WRONG with being a blonde in a rundown trailer with no ambition!!! (Notice how I conveniently left out the "fat" part...LOL;)

Mushy said...

Thanks for the tip Joe. I actually use Word to write in and then I cut and paste into the blog.

Goddess, heaven forbid I meant no disrespect. She was a might fine gal, it's just that I'm afraid I would have lost any ambition I might have had!

I lived in a trailer until I went into the Air Force and met some mighty nice folks along the way.

Goddess said...

I was just razzin' ya;)

FHB said...

How'd I miss this one back in the day?

I must have read it though. It's all familiar. Too many regrets in my own life to bore you with. Roads not taken, and what might have been. But you did amazingly well in the end, and I think I will too. My journey's not anywhere close to bein' over. I just hope you're still around when i get my own porch, and roll up with a few loud pipes.