I’ve always said that experience is the best teacher, the best possession, and the best memory you can have. So on this last day of my fifties I thought I would try to list some of the experiences that have contributed to my life. And tomorrow I will list a few of the things I’d like to do before I live to see 90.
In no particular order:
I have had the friendship of farmers, executives, convicts, musicians, waitresses, race car drivers, authors, teachers, garbage men and everything in between. I’ve worked with people of every race, creed, and religion you can imagine. I’ve met some famous and infamous people. I can’t say that I’ve ever met a person, good or bad, who didn’t contribute to my life in some way.
I’ve had the love and support of a man who really knows me, and stays with me anyway.
I have slept in a luxury hotel suite, a three-story farm house, a van, a tent, a truck, an abandoned saloon, a flea-bag motel, a motor home, and on the side of a rocky mountain. I’ve owned a home and been evicted from an apartment.
I’ve survived seven major surgeries, four car accidents, a half dozen minor accidents, three falls from horses, six broken bones, four falls off my own two feet, two major illnesses, two gun accidents, three major cuts, numerous beatings, and the birth of three children.
I’ve won money and a few moments of fame. I’ve had my work published in dozens of magazines and newspapers, and a few books.
I’ve raised three wonderful children who have given me joy, pride, and gray hair.
I’ve been on television. I’ve sung on a stage. I’ve given a public speech. I’ve been a hair model. I’ve worked behind the scenes at a fashion show. I’ve hosted an autograph party…for someone else.
I’ve lost at love and failed in school. I’ve also been a happy bride and valedictorian.
I’ve lived long enough to know the joy of being a grandmother.
I’ve been drunk, but never high. I’ve smoked a cigarette, but didn’t like it.
I’ve held a 1 and ½ pound infant in my hand and watched a stranger die.
I have eaten caviar, escargot, pig brains, lobster, squirrel, rabbit, goose, dove, grits, and alligator.
I’ve tried painting, sewing, wood carving, photography, macramé, knitting, calligraphy, crocheting, quilting, pottery making, and gardening. Gardening suits me best.
I’ve been arrested, but never in jail.
I’ve been the boss and I’ve been fired.
I’ve been loved, hated, lied to, cheated on, beaten, and stalked.
I’ve traveled by bicycle, car, bus, truck, airplane, sailboat, train, glass bottom boat, tractor, and motorcycle. I’ve been in a submarine and in the cargo hold of a schooner. I’ve been in a tunnel under the ocean and a ski lift on a mountain top. I once rode a bicycle six miles, without brakes.
I’ve visited numerous jails and two major prisons.
I’ve been bitten by a dog, a chicken, a swan, a hamster, and a child.
I’ve climbed to 11,200 feet on top of a mountain and been deep inside a bat-filled cave inside a mountain.
I’ve been lost, trapped in an elevator, and locked in a refrigerator. I’ve hidden in a closet and been smuggled out of town.
I’ve saved a child’s life.
I’ve raised cats, dogs, chickens, hamsters, rabbits, doves, fish, geese, pigs, sheep, parakeets, and children. Cats are the easiest.
I’ve been unemployed and on welfare and had some great jobs. I’ve been a secretary, salesperson, nanny, housekeeper, teacher, custodian, editor, typesetter, writer, proofreader, EKG technician, paste-up artist, costume designer, field hand, and waitress.
I’ve worn a mink coat and spiked heels, and a torn t-shirt and hiking boots. I once wore a top made from two handkerchiefs- it was the sixties.
I have traveled to 38 states and two other countries.
I’ve attended enough weddings to have hope and enough funerals to have faith.
I’ve picked cotton, cut grapes, packed peaches, sorted olives, dug potatoes, picked oranges, chopped cotton, pruned grape vines, and planted acres of tomatoes.
I’ve played basketball, volley ball, and softball rather badly. I’ve tried snow skiing, running, water skiing, hiking, bicycling, yoga, swimming, bowling, ballroom dancing, and skating. I am not coordinated enough for any of them.
I’ve changed the water pump on a washing machine and a flat tire on a car.
I’ve driven from California to Oklahoma with three children, three cats, and a dog.
I’ve moved 51 times.
I’ve done a few things I can’t remember, I few things I don’t want to remember, and a few things you don’t want to know about.