Dad Nixed Pony And Long Hair

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 09:01 AM.

By my eighteen birthday I wasn’t so sure anymore. Janice, Rollin, Don, Ruth Ann…..the same ole group, would sit in the back booth at Frank’s and discuss the reality that our high school days were nearing an end. You talk about anxieties and uncertainty! I’m not sure what happened between my sixteenth and eighteenth birthday but I felt about six years old all over again! We were talking choices and possibilities that I’m not sure any of us were ready for.

My nineteenth birthday was the absolute worst! I was 212 miles from the house. It was cold. And snowing. I had no pony. No party. I had met several new college friends but studying, ball practice, term papers and pacifying demanding professors took way more precedent over a trifling birthday. I had never been so alone!

Nothing makes you appreciate a birthday more……than when you spend one by yourself.

Twenty-one was supposedly the “coming of age” party. Except, it didn’t work that way for me! There was no celebration of manhood. No conscious passage of some type of rites from boy to adult. Shucks, I was still fighting those college wars. Maybe I had grown…….a little. It could be that it just takes a lot of birthdays for the lights to come on. And you talk about interesting twists, I was knee deep into “higher education”, but it was my Father who was getting smarter every day.

It was about along here that the birthday carousel ramped up to warp speed. Work, wife, sons, car payments, birthdays went twirling by like high line poles on some super highway. At forty, I didn’t feel “over the hill”. At fifty, I didn’t think “middle aged”. At sixty, I realized there is no way to slow the sled. This January, as I celebrate another birthday, my overriding thought is “How did I get here so fast?” Blur comes to mind…….

But I have not lost hope. Life is what you make of it at any age. This is a story of triumph and joy. And hope. There might just be a pony in the back yard this very morning.


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