I remember hearing a guy testify in court several years ago that he looked in my car after his beer truck had hit me head-on in a blinding snowstorm, and said to his companion, "Hey Joe, this guy's dead."
Obviously I just looked that way with my head split open from the truck's hood coming through my windshield. Their lawsuit was a waste of time because just being out in that weather was considered contributory negligence. I had a better case, but the lawyer said it would still be contributory. I wonder if we both had the same insurance company. I don't think I ever thought of that.
I have still had a long, blessed and happy life. I had an enjoyable productive career, a good family, both in growing up, and later in one of my own creation. I've had few health problems. I married a young widow with three little boys aged 4, 5, and 6. My friends thought I was nuts, but I like to think I knew a good woman when I saw one.
Besides I fell in love with her and just couldn't turn my back on her. We've had a good happy marriage, 61 years this past July Fourth. We agree, that we have been good for one another. I think that she was because while I am naturally a lazy dreamer, she was always a very ambitious, no nonsense go-getter. I had to learn to keep up. Besides our love, we genuinely respected one another. It was only at her suggestion, some 10 or 12 years ago, that I start writing these columns.
You can make all the plans you want, but I know at least in my case, I was led through life in coping with the unforeseen events that came upon me in unexpected ways, to upset what I had originally intended, and sometimes when I had no intention at all. I did set out for certain goals, but circumstances usually changed them. Somehow they always turned out to be good changes. I don't mean to blow my own horn too much, but maybe it's because I went with the flow, and did the best I could with the new situation. I'd suggest that if you have faith in the future, the future will have faith in you, (Whatever that means).
I grew up and spent my years during the best days, of the best, most free society the world has ever seen. Things have changed at a pace that has left most of us struggling in darkness. One thing that no society has ever had to deal with before is the constant harassment on TV, radio, newspapers, the telephone and even the mail with vendors and con men selling their wonder cures for our lives complete with glorious pictures and testimonies of beautiful people who have already benefited so call now! I blame that for much of the societal dissatisfaction that seems to be rampant today. Somehow it has to leave many people with the feeling that there has to be more out there than they have, so everyone wants more of all that good stuff, whatever it is. I wrote this ditty a few years ago and offer it here as a lifestyle.
"A guy's gotta do"
I'm prob'ly not the smartest guy
That you will ever know.
In fact you may have thought at times
That I'm a little slow.
I may not have the prowess
Of some famous athlete,
But just go stumbling through my life,
A-tripping on my feet.
In actual fact, of mankind's litter
I may be the runt.
When joking of life's nitwits,
I may best befit the brunt.
I'll tell you this, however,
As the winds of life blow by,
I'll squeeze out every ounce of joy
An idiot can buy.
I'll not waste any time in grief
About my lowly state,
But only work at what I can,
And that will fill my plate.
I'll focus on the things I can.
I'll give it my best try.
And drink the wine of life until
I've drained the goblet dry!
May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org