In the rush of life, I sometimes pause to see if I've learned anything in the past 80 years or if I am making the same mistakes I made as a 5-year-old.
I've learned that if you have a runny nose, you should equip yourself with a handkerchief. The buttons on your sleeve will make your nose sore.
I've learned that if you're paddling in a homemade boat with knot holes, a one gallon lard bucket is your best piece of equipment.
I've learned that if your shoe sole is flopping, walk only when necessary and find some excuse to sit around a lot.
I've learned that a good friend will get you out of jail, and a great friend will be sitting there beside you, saying “Damn, that was fun!”
I've learned that the youngest and smallest of the brood will get petted more, but doesn't always get the drumstick at Sunday dinner, and gets smacked when no one is looking.
I've learned that when your paper route is blocked by a dog intent on taking the seat out of your rompers, he is not interested in a good, meaningful conversation. Just throw the paper bag at him and run like the wind.
I've learned that one foot in the boat and one foot on the pier usually results in a wet butt, and usually happens when you are trying to impress a sweet, young thing with your skills as a midshipman.
I've learned that the greatest thrill you'll ever have is when tiny red fingers wrap around your finger and you've found a friend for life.
I've learned that you should always test a grape vine for strength before you go sailing out over a pine thicket.
I've found out that just because she accepted half of your recess apple doesn't mean she's yours for life.
I've learned that a “little dab of Brilliantine” will plaster your hair down nicely, but oil running in your ears will not necessarily attract the ladies.
I've learned that if you don't ask her to dance early in the evening, you'll spend the rest of the time trying to get up your nerve, and winding up kicking your tail all the way home.
I've learned that watching your children and then your grandchildren in any activity they participate in is about as good as it gets.
I've learned that you can't completely destroy a yellow jacket nest with a beat-up blackberry pail. Once again, run like the wind.
I've learned that when you get to the door of a C-47 at 1,200 feet and eleven men are pushing you from behind, it's too late to change your mind and transfer to the Signal Corp.
I've learned that no matter how bad your back is bent, you can stand straight when the National Anthem is played.
I've learned that youngsters spend too much time in hero worship and not enough time on their own personal agenda. Say a prayer of thanks that our youngsters are not worshiping a suicide bomber as their personal hero.
I've learned that when you are working on the Nautilus machines and a sweet, young thing walks in the door, the machine you probably need to use to impress her is the A.T.M. machine in the lobby.
And last but not least, I try to remember that friends made at Abernethy Laurels are probably friends for life, and thank God every day for their smiles and friendship.