I will turn 65 this Valentines Day.
I was conceived in May 1945 shortly after Hitler died in the spring of 1945. The following summer during which I developed in my mother's womb saw the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which brought about the end of World War II. Many young couples decided to begin families at this time, giving rise to the Baby Boomers, of which I am one of the earliest members.
The world's first general-purpose computer, Eniac, was introduced to the public on the day I was born in 1946.
My dad is holding me when I was about six months old.
This family portrait was taken around 1956, when I was ten years old.
This picture was taken shortly after I started work for C&P Telephone Co. in late 1969 or early 1970.
My birthday also marks the 40th anniversary of my father's death in 1971.
A massive heart attack killed him as he shook my hand goodbye following my 25th birthday party.
His own father would die on the same day six years later.
And so in that instant I was transformed from a young husband and father of a 9 month-old girl
to the patriarch of a larger family, additionally responsible for my mother and my mentally retarded sister (today she would be called developmentally disabled).
But I passed all of those tests and grew into my role,
supporting my young family,
working a 29-year career with the Telephone Company,
arranging care for my sister's placement in a county home for disabled adults and enrollment in a sheltered workshop, where she remains happy to this day.
I watched over my mother until her death in 1996.
My daughter has grown into a beautiful young woman who sings opera professionally and who raised twin grandchildren, now bright, healthy and talented teenagers.
My son was born in 1972 and has also given me two grandchildren. He recently won a major contract to implement cloud computing for the federal government.
My 26-year marriage to my high school sweetheart ended with divorce in 1994.
I married Nancy in 1995 and relocated to Nashville in 1998 to start a new life.
Nancy died in 2003 after a courageous year-long battle with leukemia.
Later that year I met & married Suzanne, who had also lost her husband to an untimely death.
And so I approach the milestone of my 65th birthday.
Mostly I'm glad to be alive and healthy,
grateful to have good memories of a rich life lived to the fullest,
glad to have passed all the tests with which life has challenged me,
married to a woman with whom I share unconditional love,
playing in a band, which has been a constant passion throughout my life,
looking forward to the road ahead that holds a bright future full of love, friends, music and discovery.