Saturday, June 26, 2010

Born On This Day 67 years ago

Born On This Day 67 Years Ago; I was born on June 25th 1943 at 5:29 PM, in my grandparents house rather than a hospital (no Negros allowed in the local hospital), right on highway 45, in West Point, Mississippi.

First of all I give thanks to God for giving me these 67 years of what has been a great life. Its been full of a lot of pleasure and joy along with some sadness and hard times mixed in. But the bottom line is I am so glad that I was born in this time in the history of the world. I think it’s the best time to have been born.

I am glad that I was born after the Cholera epidemic that hit many parts of the world, after the “Black Death” that spread across Europe, after the Europeans discovered the Americas, after the whole United States was settled, after the slave trade and the end of slavery, and after the invention of the automobile, and travel by trains and airplanes, after the decline of racism and racial hatred (NO, it has not been eliminated), after the medical and electronic revolutions that have improved everyone's life.

I have seen so many changes in the world in my 67 years, many of which I never could have imagined when I was a young kid. There have been so many changes during my life time that I am thankful for and really appreciate because what we all have now I didn’t always have. I am glad that we now have indoor plumbing and bathrooms because I didn’t have that the first 10 years of my life. I am glad we have electric lighting, central heating air conditioning, and refrigeration. I remember from when I was a kid kerosene lamps for lighting, wood and coal stoves for heating, and the only air conditioning was what you could make with a fan in your hand. Back then the refrigerator needed a 25 pound block of ice to keep cool. I am glad that we have the interstate road system because it has allowed me to see the USA.
I remember riding on the two lane roads through every town between Mississippi and DC and the trip taking 24 hours. I am glad that we have jet airplane service because it has allowed me to see the world. I am glad that we have cruise ships because it has allowed me to see even more of the world..

When I was a kid I never envisioned television. I was 10 years old before I first saw a TV show. Now we have cable and satellite TV along with the over the air broadcasts and hundreds of channel selections. And we have gone from a 12 inch TV tube watching back and white TV programs to 70 inch wide screen TV’s broadcasting in high definition so clear that you seem to be right there. I am glad that I saw the shows on TV in the 1960's 70's and 80's because now I think there has been a degeneration of the quality of what is on TV.

I have witnessed the blossoming of the internet and all types of electronic media.. I remember when the only telephones were hanging on a wall and you had to turn a crank on the side to signal the operator that you wanted to make a call; and then make sure that someone else was not already using the party line. Back then your phone number in my town was three digits. Now people walk around with telephones that have much better service in their pockets and purses, and have to dial 7 to 10 digits to make a call. You can talk on the phone in the car, walking down the street and just about anywhere. Well maybe that's not such an improvement.

The internet has expanded my circle of friends to all of you and more importantly brought me to Sarah. I remember when personal computers were first introduced. Many people said why would I want or need one of those. Now just about everybody has one, or two, or three of their own and also one at work. I could never have imagined that I would spend 3 or 4 hours a day every day in front of a PC screen talking with great friends like you, ordering things I want/need from online stores, and exploring the world. I could never have imagined that I would have spent the last 4 years answering 6,000 questions about travel on a web site called Yahoo Answers. Or that I would have created several web pages on a web site called Blackplanet where I mat many of you. Who even knew back just 20-some years ago what a "web site" or "URL" was?

I am glad I that have listened to Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, and all of the great artists of my early childhood. I am so glad that I was born after great artists list Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops, Eddie Kendrick and the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Gladys Knight and the Pips, and all of the other Motown artists. I don’t see any of the current musicians making the great music that these great musicians did.

I am glad that I was born after the medical breakthroughs like penicillin, X-rays, MRI’s, to say nothing of the microscopic and laproscopic surgeries now being done, and all of the great wonder drugs now available. Now I have no doubt that the future will bring many more wonders in the medical field, but the ones we have not have made my life much better.

Now I don’t know what the future hold for me or the world. But what I do know and think is that I have had the very best of times. I honestly don't think I would want to have been born in any other time period. I have seen great improvements in the quality of life for everyone. Now I am not saying that things are perfect, just that the changes and improvements have been amazing.

About 15 years ago I met an older man teaching a seminar, he was about 80 at the time, who told the story of how he marveled at the changes in his 80 years. His greatest sense of joy came from seeing the world change after the Freedom Marches and what Dr Martin Luther King Jr did for the country. He said that when he was growing up he had no idea that it would ever be any different from the way it was when he was born. I guess I kinda feel that way too. Its all so amazing and hard to take in unless you take the time to do as my church’s male chorus sings in a song, “Count Your Blessing And Name Them One By One”. I need a much bigger sheet of paper for that!!!

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