Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Waxing Philosophic!

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade, is a phrase I've often heard. Having been laid off for nigh on nine months now, I've had some time to reflect between my periodic search for a job. Looking back on my 65 years, I've had a pretty good run. I know that in many cases, my work ethic impressed people. Personally, I think it's just a stubborn streak, but I'll take any compliment that comes my way :-)

It of course started at home being well raised by my parents; but, I need to credit Admiral Farragut Academy with a lot of how I approached life down the road. I went there as a youngster in 9th grade. Totally unprepared for the shock that was to come. My first year was absolutely horrible. My mother begged me to drop out and come home. But I refused.  I felt that I started the journey, I needed to finish it and I did 4 years later and with a  class that originally started out with 75 cadets, only 16 of us made through to graduation.

In fact my first real "life test" happened at Farragut. I was a squad leader my junior year and we were in June Week Competition with the other companies performing close order drill. We were being judged by a Marine General if memory serves. We had to go from 2 platoons of 3 squads each to one single file with no breaks. I knew what I was supposed to do, but at the last minute the 1st Class Petty Officer was absent and the company commander told me to take his place. Immediately, I became terrified not having practiced the other guy's steps. I had seen him do it  out of the corner of my eye, so I resigned myself to an attempt. Well, it worked out and I was the link between the two platoons, the line was perfectly straight and we won the drill competition.

Ever since then, after I was graduated, when things got tough, I'd look at my AFA Class ring and would muse, "I survived AFA, I can do anything". The ring is in my jewelry box sitting old and mangled and no longer fits, but the sentiment is still the same.

Life has presented it share of challenges along the way, I overcame each one and went on to the next hurdle so to speak. Then after 30 years with my company, changes were announced and I was no longer in their plans. I called up my wife from work, told her I had just been let go and was quite angry.......for about an hour and a half. :-) I got in the car at the ferry terminal, drove to a McDonalds and ate a Big Mac, my version of comfort food.  Everything was now OK.

What I didn't realize was the fact that this was an opportunity to do things that I did not have the time for before. I started reading a lot more and I spent a bunch of time trying to find some family members I'd lost touch with. It's great, we are finding each other and reconnecting.......so once again, I hit a wall, jumped over it and made some lemonade. Besides I have a good family, a wife,three  kids and three grandchildren so as nice as those paychecks twice a week were, This is OK, too!!

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