Yes, today’s the day, and I’ve been getting happy birthday emails, text messages, phone calls and cards from all over the world. I’m grateful to have shared time with so many interesting people over the years. We’ve enjoyed books, music, good food, long runs, wooded walks, powder turns, bike trips, sunny beaches, funny stories, and much, much more over the years. It feels great to have such good friends and memories.
I’m happy to be alive and well, even though the world is a mess and smart people who should know better are bickering over insignificant things while the planet is melting down, burning up, and blowing away under the pressure of climate change, Covid-19 is ravaging its population, billionaires are flaunting their wealth in space, grinding poverty is endemic, and there are tribal wars, insurrectionists, and racists in mainstream politics. In 2016 I characterized myself as an optimist. Today, I’m less sure. I worry for for my children and grandchildren. What kind of a world will they have?
Regardless, I’m living in the moment. I love my life –my wife, my kids, my friends, my home, and the interests that still consume me – but I know my future is not as long as my past. I love folk-rock and I often hear lyrics that catch the moment and speak to me perfectly.
One of my favorite songs of the last 40 years is Jimmy Buffett’s He Went to Paris that tells the story of an American who went to Paris, lived in London, lost family members, got sick, and eventually returned to the US. It isn’t exactly my story, but it’s not too far off. Jimmy is telling the story and the last two verses sum it all up…
Now he lives in the islands
Fishes the pylons
And drinks his green label each day.
He’s writing his memoirs
And losing his hearing
But he don’t care what most people say
Through eighty-six years
Of perpetual motion,
If he likes you, he’ll smile and he’ll say,
“Some of it’s magic,
And some of it’s tragic,
But I had a good life all the way.”
He went to Paris
Looking for answers
To questions that bothered him so.
It’s close. I’m two years short of eighty-six, and tequila, not Scotch, is my drink of choice, but like the old guy in the song I’m writing my memoirs and losing my hearing, and don’t care what most people say. Still, I agree; “Some of it’s magic and some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way.”
You can listen to Jimmy sing it at La Cigale Concert Hall in Paris: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsxnHIq2Smo
To all the friends who have made my life so rich – thank you.
Jack, your writing just gets better and better.
It has been a pleasure to share snippets of this life with you TJ. It has been a rocking good time so far. Those investments we talked about long ago are still paying marvelous dividends. SF. Duke
Happy Day After Your Birthday. Didn’t know. But you forgot mine (November 18) – again. I’m 2 years younger than you, old man.
Always a treat to read your posts,
Happy Birthday Jack. Hope you and the family are all doing well.
Happy 84th my friend. I hope you are well and happy and give my best wishes to Marilyn.
Gary Roosevelt ’55!
Jack – I am sorry I missed this date but I enjoyed reading your article. I admire people who focus on the life they have led – people, loves, places, loses as well as gains while at the same time remaining relevant to the current environment in which we live. Age brings experience but not always wisdom. You however, have certainly gained wisdom during all your 80+ years and still seek more. Too many people focus on the road not taken, thinking if only…? but I always get the feeling from you that the roads you have taken have made you a phenomenal person and one I feel fortunate to know and call friend.