I was at a Grinnell pizza eatery late last week picking up a gift card, when I mentioned to the fellow helping me that my birthday was the next week.
“I’m going to be 60,” I told him as he rang up my purchase.
A young fellow nearby making a pizza heard the comment and turned and smiled at me.
“I’m so old that they study my generation in history,” I said as the young man and others smiled and chuckled.
A few days earlier, I was at a Grinnell bank making the house payment when I mentioned to the teller helping me that my birthday was just around the corner.
“I’m going to be 60,” I told her.
“You don’t look 60,” she said, commenting about my youthful face.
I told her that I was born in 1959, the Baby Boom Generation.
The Baby Boom Generation defines a time in history following World War II for those born worldwide between 1946 – 1964. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 76.4 million people were born during the Baby Boom Generation. I was one of them.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’m turning 60. I don’t feel 60. Apparently I don’t look 60 (as some people say). And I can’t believe I’m 60.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was in school and working on my first job as a newspaper carrier in my Tulsa neighborhood. In 10th grade, I had a Saturday job cleaning a north Tulsa refrigeration business and I also spent a summer working at a 10-stool neighborhood eatery, where I washed dishes and breaded chicken fried steaks. I worked at Sears and Roebuck my senior year, later entering the printing trade through a vocational education program in high school.
I remember when my dad turned 60. It was June 30, 1989, half my life ago. His 60th birthday came during a memorable 11-day trip we took to the Grand Canyon. It was just me and Dad.
I remember the trip well. We left Tulsa and headed west, spending the first night in Amarillo, Texas. The next day, we visited Palo Duro Canyon State Park, only to discover that it was quite cold in the canyon. We didn’t stay long.
We made a stop at Stanly Marsh Cadillac Ranch (a roadside attraction of 10 Cadillac cars buried halfway in the ground) west of Amarillo, before making our way to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the evening.
The next day, we visited Acoma Pueblo west of Albuquerque, where I had to pay $5 to take photos, spending the night in Gallup. We then made it to Arizona with stops at the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert before spending the night in Jerome, Ariz. The next day we traveled to Jerome, Ariz., before spending the night in Flagstaff.
The next day was a trip north to the Grand Canyon. What an amazing place.
Our return trip took us through the Four Corners Tourist site into Utah, where we visited a Hollywood movie set built in the early 1960s. The movie, Sergeants 3, was filmed there. Released in 1962, the movie featured Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford and was about three rowdy American sergeants stationed in Indian territory.
A segment of Clint Eastwood’s movie, The Outlaw Jose Wells, where he stabbed the fellow at the end of the movie, was also filmed there
We made our way through the Southern Colorado mountains and Northern New Mexico before driving through the Panhandle of Oklahoma.
My dad worked nearly 40-years for Gaso Pump, a company in West Tulsa that built pumps used to move crude oil through pipelines. I remember stopping on our trip through the Panhandle at a substation that had pumps built by my dad’s company. I can still see him standing there watching them run. I’ll never forget it.
That evening, the last night of the trip, we stayed in the Panhandle town of Buffalo, Okla. We ate supper at local café. My dad found someone to visit with while I watched television in the motel room. He enjoyed visiting and what better day to do that than his birthday.
The Grand Canyon trip was one of several we took together between 1987-1991, including a trip to Mount Rushmore.
I have lots of great memories. In the years since, I earned my college degree at age 38, got married, bought a house, published books and made a lot more friends than enemies along the way.
Here’s to 60 and many more years to come!
Have a great week and take care of yourself, my friends. And always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.