50 shades of gray Allen – Day 1
As of this morning at 12:23 a.m., I’m on a countdown clock to a magical place.
No, I’m not going to Disneyland nor am I heading off to Oz.
50 days from today, I turn 50.
Birthdays have never really hit me hard in the past. I remember 13 as I found it strange that the youngest of my older siblings, Carol Sue, was then 26 and exactly double my age. And I recall turning 36 as it kicked me into the dreaded 36-50 age bracket on most surveys.
Those were dark times in the land.
50, however, kind of sits there like an enigma.
On one hand it stands as a mile-marker, hailing the fact that I’ve made it a long way.
On the other, it reminds me that the life expectancy estimate for men is 76, which means I’m two-thirds of the way there.
But I’ve decided that this march toward a rather stoic number should be celebrated, not mourned. And so, I am going to attempt to take a look back each day over each year of my life. Of course the early ones will pretty much just be me recounting things that went on in the world and how they may have affected my personal development. Later entries will reflect on some of the people and events that I have been part of or been witness to.
You people who love my old stories will get a real kick out of that, I have no doubt.
And so I will start by relaying a comment from my wife, Dee, that got me thinking about my time here on planet Earth. I was looking in the mirror when I asked her, Is there was any remnant of blonde left in my hair? I mean, tell me the truth. Be honest.”
“Not really,” she replied.
“No shades or even a hint of it, huh?” I asked.
“Well, you’ve got 50 shades of grey. Well, not those 50 shades of grey, but you know what I mean.”
Boy did I ever.
And so, like one of melodic idols Billy Joel, we’re gonna take a look back at history as I knew it and see if I really did start the fire.
On February 23 Edwin and Cathy Allen brought the fifth of their five children into the world – Timothy Crane Allen. I landed on the planet three months to the day after the assassination of president John F. Kennedy in the small desert community of Ridgecrest, California.
As I was told by my parents, I walking by six months, thanks to my brothers and sisters running me up and down the hall by my hands. Too bad while I was learning to walk and run, that I didn’t a get a great grip on the concept of balance. A trait I’m sure one Frank Mazer could attest to in my high school years.
The Beatles beat me here by just a few weeks, assuming the were all the real members of the band. My nephew Andrew Spooner later did a rather lengthy expose of why the man we know as Paul McCartney is nothing but an imposter. I couldn’t really care, personally, but the whole backwards masking thing on “Revolution 9” was pretty interesting.
My dad was feverishly working on the guidance systems for the Sidewinder Missile back then, a creation that he had earned a U.S. Government Patent for. Until I saw it’s impact in the China Lake Naval Station’s air combat museum a year ago, I never really understood the impact and advantage that this missile had on aerial combat. My dad was a lot cooler than I ever gave him credit for.
Later in life I realized that I had been born in an off-year for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team I would follow with some enthusiasm as a youth. For a long time I thought was a bad sign. Then Rupert Murdoch bought the team and I knew nothing they did was my fault.
Finally, upon entering the world a friend of my brother’s and close to our family, Ernie Davidove, died on Vietnam. I use to play on athletic fields in my hometown named after him, and my mom would tell me stories about how he would feel her stomach while she was pregnant with me just before he left for the war.
Later in life I had the opportunity to take a picture of his name from the war memorial in Washington, D.C. Oddly, almost eerily, my reflection was blurred in the background – him being present and myself in the background, just as it had been before he left.
And so we begin. 50 days from now I’ll hit another milestone. And like an aging NASCAR driver hitting the final turn on a tri-oval track, I’ll be headed for home. Here’s hoping to being able to lengthen the racing schedule for a few more seasons.