Before I get started with my '40 memories" post, I woke up this morning to help Shan get some things scanned in for her and other teachers. She wished me a Happy Birthday and we got to scanning. When I got the kids up, they both told me Happy Birthday, too.
I don't normally listen to the radio when I drive - I prefer to listen to the iPod through the FM transmitter deal in my truck. But, I didn't feel like messing with all that this morning, and I had the local station playing. When they announced birthdays, my name was mentioned from the fine folks at the education co-op where I work. I thought it was very nice.
At the end of the birthday list, they draw a name to win a prize, and they drew my name! How cool is that!? My prize? a $5 gift certificate for the Western Sizzlin in Hope. I have mixed feelings about this. I'm happy I won, and I even scored a free meal out of the deal. Or did I? Actually, no. See, the meals are $6.99 and up. Yes, I realize I get my meal for $1.99+tax, but it still strikes me a bit sideways. I mean, why not give away a free meal, say up to $8 or something? The other issue is that we don't eat at Western Sizzlin. Frankly, it just hasn't been that good. We've one a time or two, mainly to see if things had gotten any better. They had a fire there a while back, and we have not been there since the remodeling (and I think they even have new ownership, if memory serves). I suppose this is a good excuse to go. So, later today, I'll run by the radio station to pick up my certificate.
The last time I won anything from a radio station, I was working in Northern Virginia for a computer retail/consulting company and happened to have the station tuned to 105.1. This scraggly, drunk-looking guy in a Santa suit walks in and before I could call security, he says, "Are you listening to 105?" I have no idea if that's what I'm listening to or not, I'm trying to decide if I need to deck the halls with you, buddy. He listens intently to the radio in the store and then to the headphones on his ears. I reach for the phone. He says, "You are a winner! You just won $105 dollars from Super105 (or whatever it was)!" I remember looking at him like he really was drunk, asking, "Really?" He reached into his 'bag' and pulled out a card, a media release form, and a cell phone. He called the station and sure enough, I had won. A few weeks later, I had a check for $105 in my hands. I bought a Garrard 6-disc CD changer. That was a big deal in 1986. We still have the thing, though one of the trays no longer works. Not bad for a piece of electronics that is more than 20 years old.
So, as I said, later today, I'll go pick up my gift certificate. Ironically, the station that I won it from is also 105, though it's 104.9... I sense a disturbance in the Force.
In honor of my 40th birthday, I thought it would be fun to list 40 things I remember. These will not be in any order, other than the order in which they popped into my head - though I will try to start with my earliest memories and work forward. Honestly, I'm not even sure I'll make it to 40 things with the way my mind works... And, I'll probably have to get Mom to fill in the blanks. Some may be funny, some painful, but they are the first 40 things that have come to mind:
- Yellow VW Bug we had when I was a kid
- One of our friends putting their hand through our glass door
- Getting on a bus for Sunday school or something
- Family reunions in Oakland (I think Oakland), outside of Pittsburgh
- Marci - first girlfriend (1st or 2nd grade)
- Penguins hockey game - first date (1st or 2nd grade w/Marci)
- Getting punched in the face by a girl (a friend's sister, 3rd grade)
- Eating little red berries, then puking my guts up from the 'medicine' I had to take because poison control told my mother to make me take it
- Going to the hospital because my parents filled our blow-up pool with enough chlorine chemicals to fill an Olympic-sized pool. Let's just say, that leaves a lasting impression on a young BOY - operative word there, folks!
- Having a blood clot in my throat, spewing up tons of blood. I don't even remember the whole story - must be a mental block
- Doing flips off the apartment pool diving board, and the time a 'friend' yelled "SHARK!" just as I launched once, causing me to land on my back. That was followed by a stream of cuss words which did not go over well, considering the young kids there
- Going to Geauga Lake, Sea World and Cedar Point for summer vacations when we'd visit my grandparents in Cleveland (Lakewood, actually), Ohio
- Drawing my first Chief Wahoo on poster board with the numbers of all the players on it for my grandfather (Paternal)
- Watching Bob Ross paint on PBS while sitting on the couch with my maternal grandfather
- My maternal grandmother scolding us for drinking a glass of milk AND having milk in our cereal
- My maternal grandmother making us eat peanut butter with butter sandwiches
- Eating St. Joseph's chewable aspirin mixed into my applesauce. To this day, I cannot eat applesauce without tasting that awful orange flavor of the pills
- Playing football and baseball with Dad, Uncle Bill, and everyone else on the hills in the back of my maternal grandparents' house
- Listening to the "Grease" soundtrack while trying to kiss Kim in my grandparents' basement. LOL, now THAT was funny - not then, but it is now... I was such a dork.
- Listening to the Village People in Kim's grandparents' basement
- Painting my face my face in High School for a pep rally. It was the only time I ever did that - never before, never again.
- Pushing Kim's (not the same one from the "Grease" album) yellow VW bug (not the one I had as a kid) up the hill after the Senior Formal with Dave
- Loretto Heights College - my first 'liberal arts' environment - I learned WAY too much that year!
- Going to University of Colorado - Boulder and majoring in socializing
- Getting a letter from UC-Boulder encouraging me to take time off to consider my collegiate career
- Michelle and Jen - the two girls I dated during those times
- Meeting Wallace (who went by Wally in those days) for the first time, and his aspirations to be President some day. I'd never met anyone that actually WANTED to be President one day
- Wally telling us the story about drinking the NyQuil
- Meeting Shan for the first time - the most beautiful woman I had ever met. I was drunk, my brother convinced me to go hang out with a bunch of girls he knew, and I spent the time picking at the carpet while Shan and her boyfriend at the time sat on her bed or couch or something. I made a great first impression. LOL!
- "Relieving Stress" in front of Russell Fine Arts - the first time Shan and I kissed
- The horrid, rundown trailer Brian and I lived in while going to Henderson State University
- Proposing to Shan at DeGray Lake after she had just awoke from the drive in from Little Rock, and her saying "NO" in her groggy state, then realizing what I had asked and saying "YES!"
- The miscarriage of our first child
- Tyler being born
- Driving from Prescott to Little Rock for about a year because I could not find a job locally
- Working at Southern Arkansas University
- Meeting Pat Ward at McDonald's several times while interviewing for the job in Camden
- The stress of trying to have a second child
- Emily being born
- Shan's love and forgiveness - the reason I am where I am today, who I am today. It may not sound like something for a list of memories, but when two people go through the things we have gone through, there are memories that God keeps clear in my mind to show me each and every day just how blessed I am.