TURNING 60!

19 02 2020

60

I have been telling everyone for the last year that I’m 60 years old. On February 24th, it will become a reality and I’m not sure yet how I feel about it. It seems like just yesterday that I was starting school, playing Little League Baseball, learning how to drive, going on my first date and combing my hair. Now, in the blink of an eye, everything that was once on my horizon is in my rear-view mirror and slowly fading out of sight, especially my hair. It is a sobering thought to admit that most of my life on earth has already happened. I am not ready to ride into the sunset anytime soon but it’s hard not to be a bit reflective when you approach a milestone like this one.

Dwight D Eisenhower was President when I was born. The number one record was “A Theme from a Summer Place” by Percy Faith. The Philadelphia Eagles were the NFL Champions. The Pirates upset the Yankees in the World Series. My favorite Baseball Team, the New York Mets, didn’t even exist yet. Later in the year, JFK would beat Tricky Dick Nixon in a neck and neck election. In 1960 a new house cost a mere $12,700.00 and the average income per year was $5,315.00. In 1960 a gallon of gas was 25 cents and the average cost of new car was $2,600.00. The minimum wage was $1.25 an hour, a gallon of milk was $0.95 and a ticket to the Movies only a $1.00. You could get almost 6 Burgers for a buck! That didn’t mean my Dad was ready to splurge though. He was more of a buy a loaf of bread and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the car kind of guy.

I grew up as my Dad’s right-hand man who regularly went to work with him and helped him in any way I could. My pay for my efforts was a quarter in which I would quickly buy five packages of baseball cards where you not only got the pictures of your favorite players, you got that unforgettable pink cardboard piece of gum. I still have those cards. I wish I still had my Dad. I miss that man so much! He died shortly after I turned 40 years old. His absence has made a noticeable difference in the last 20 years. Cherish your loved ones while you have them with you. There is nothing more valuable than loving and being loved by the people who matter most.

As many of you know, I grew up in a very religious family. We were Roman Catholic and I’m thankful for those roots that would eventually lead me to a personal relationship with Jesus that would literally turn my world around. In 1975, God got a hold of my heart and put a call on my life that would lead me into full time ministry. I knew that I was going to be a Pastor. It’s so funny because before I asked Jesus into my heart, I was a straight A student who was driven to perform at the highest level just so that I could be loved and accepted. I could memorize very well so even if I didn’t understand the subject practically, I would still score sky high academically. I laugh to this day because I never believed that tests were the best way to prove that you knew what you were talking about. After my Christianity became my passion, my grades actually went down, but for the first time in my life, I was finally really living.

Baseball was one of my first loves along with my hunger to hear all kinds of music. You could always find me with a bat in one hand and my transistor radio in the other. These were the days of playing baseball in every yard in the neighborhood. We’d play in the street until the last inkling of sunlight to get one more inning in. There were no video games. We did it all outside and nobody ever wanted to be inside. I know I didn’t! But if I had to be home, I’d go down in the basement with the old reel-to-reel tape player and pretend I was the disc jockey on my own make-believe radio station. I would spin the tunes and perfect my delivery. To this day, when people ask me if I do any preparation for my current radio shows, I say never. I actually can do radio in my sleep because it is so ingrained into my being. I’ve been doing it forever.

My first album I bought with my own money was, “Meet The Beatles,” and my first 45 record was “Chapel of Love” by the Dixie Cups. I grew up listening to my Parents’ music by Sinatra, Joni James, Al Martino and Nat King Cole and loved it all. I loved the fact that I never got stuck in one genre and to this day, I love when my Kids share with me their music and I love it. At the Lighthouse Church, I make sure that we are open to the whole catalogue of Christian music covering all the years doing the hymns as well as the newest tunes from Elevation Worship. I am a big fan of cross generational crowds and believe that too much of today is siloed into specialized compartments. How can the young look up to their elders if they are never together? How can the seniors get inspired by the juniors if their paths never cross? I believe God wants us all together much more than we are. Especially now that I am getting older, I love being with the entire church family. I played church softball last year with our College and Career group. It is that important!

I am very blessed. Life has been much more difficult than I ever thought it would be but I know that like George Bailey in the Movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” I am a very rich man no matter what my bank account might say. Terri and I are married going on 38 years and we have 4 beautiful Kids all following Jesus and soon to welcome grandkids number 5 and 6 when the twins arrive this spring to Leah and Jeff. As a matter of fact, just this afternoon, I was playing on the floor setting up the hot wheels’ tracks with my granddaughter Lucia. I love getting down even if it means I might need an extra hand to get back up!

I think I will forever be just a big kid at heart. I get excited about opening day of baseball season and love Christmas Eve. I will still jump in puddles, throw snowballs, and laugh freely out loud. I’m not afraid to show my emotions, wear my heart on my sleeve and shed a tear often. I will tell you, “I Love You,” pick you up and hug you and sing a song to you no matter where we are. I hate waiting in lines, love doughnuts and feel like I’m visiting family every time I enter a Wawa. I know that I am far from perfect. I am sorry for the times I played it too safe and missed out on an adventure that might have had my name on it. I wish it would snow more in the winter and time would just slow down altogether. I know you can’t go back, but if I could, I would love to just see all my loved ones again.

Somebody asked me what I wanted for my 60th Birthday and if I could have anything, it would be a reunion of all the kids and people that I ever pastored to be gathered together again for a reunion. I would just love the opportunity to hang out together again. I guess that what’s Heaven is for. All I do know is how fragile life really is. Every day must be unwrapped as the precious gift that it is. Thank You Lord for the first 60 years and because of Your promises, I am assured that the best is still yet to come.


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One response

19 02 2020
Doreen

Thank you for your beautiful writing!Happy Birthday and many Blessings this new year!🎂

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