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Monday, January 25, 2010

JJ: Lucky One

In a few weeks I'll be 64 and beginning my my thirty-first year here in the store. This, combined with some recent deaths that touched me, has prompted some introspection and a long look back over the years. I guess I can sum up my life so far in one word: Lucky. Folks that really know me or have browsed through my autobiographical "HOM" blog posts know that I have had my ups and downs, though I've tried to emphasize the Ups more than the Downs. Most of the bad things that have happened to me have been my own fault; a result of my carelessness, stupidity, ignorance or poor judgment. Most of the good things that have happened to me I have not deserved. I was lucky in my family, my mother and aunts and uncles that watched over me and took time to be with me. I was lucky in the things that did or didn't happen to me when I ventured out into the world. I was lucky in the friends that I made -- there weren't many of them, but they were good ones. Considering the chances I took so many times -- not "Hold my beer and watch this" events but things I did in the normal course of having fun -- I am very lucky to be alive. There were a lot of close calls and a lot of "Whew!" moments. Even the "bad" things that have happened to me have seemed to turn out well. For example, my marriage, which was the most damaging thing I have ever been through, led me directly into the book business and gave me a vocation I love, as well as a daughter and grandson that I am very proud of. I was spared the horror a lot of guys went through in Vietnam, and I guess I came away from that bloody country with a little greater sense of self worth and the realization that maybe I wasn't a big a coward as I thought I was. I was lucky. I was lucky that Gordon and Lois Nail came into my life. I know that the years since would have been far different if it was not for their influence. Without them, I would be either dead or in prison by now. I was lucky in the way Donal Grant and Gordon and Uncle Paul took an interest in me and taught me some vital lessons in what it meant to be a man. Each of them tried to set an example for me. Examples I've never lived up to, but that's beside the point. They sure did their best for me. Lucky too in having a God that loves me and a hyperactive Guardian Angel! TBC (Me)