75, 47, 46, 31, 29, 19, 8 and 3

October 2017

I like to think in numbers. Today, these numbers are important to me. It is the 29th anniversary of my marriage to Kathleen Mary Bernadette Hayes of Bayshore Long Island and the 31st year of our living together.

Kathy was the best decision I ever made, and I have been happier living with one person in marriage than I thought possible.

In a couple of months it will be my 75th birthday, a week before Christmas. My father always said he was born under Halley’s comet in 1910 and, like Mark Twain, he would die under Halley’s comet, 75 years later. He didn’t make it. He died at 70. I have made it, and despite Parkinson’s disease, I expect to spend some more good time on this planet.

My son is 47, and his sister just turned 46. If Kathy is my best decision, they are the best things that ever happened to me. Like all kids, they have brought me their share of angst, but they have also brought the special kind of joy that parents can get only from their children. My most important goal in life was to be a better parent than my father was to me, and who they are tells me I succeeded.

Nineteen is the number of years since Kathy and I retired to Cape Cod. It was a good decision. Whenever we look out over the marsh together Kathy exclaims how beautiful it is and, oh, the colors! She has become an accomplished painter and has a very different relationship to color.

Our grandchildren account for the last two numbers. Our incomparable Annabel is 8 and her brother, the indefatigable Tommy the Tornado, will be three 12 days before I turn 75. There are not enough superlatives in the world to describe how we feel about them. Being a grandparent brings a unique and special joy to our lives.

There are many more good people in my life, many more numbers to contemplate; but I just wanted to stop a second and express my gratitude for these. I am not good at the gratitude bit, but sometimes even the man whose motto is “Every silver lining has a cloud” can see his blessings.

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