NOTE: Back in ‘79 I was quoting Phillie pitcher Tug McGraw. He’s gone now, but I’ve got his country western son on my ipod. I’m not certain that’s progress.

       I think Ill take a moment, celebrate my age
       The ending of an era — the turning of a page
       Now its time to focus in on where I go from here
       Lord have mercy on my next thirty years

It was fall of ’59, and I turned ten in a world where all my heroes wore cleats. From Colavito in the summer to The Great Number 32 in the fall. Little League had me catching for Hollywood in the 9-10 minors. My first game was at McFarland Field. There were weeds along the baselines as we played in the midst of new housing at Anderson and Trebisky—the part of South Euclid where Jews rarely tread. Naïve me—I ASKED to be the catcher. What did I know? My only image of the position was the Indian’s Russ Nixon. On TV that was where the action was. Wrong! Still, I beat out an older Andy Press, hit for power, and had the opportunity—all night— to roll in dirt for errant pitches. And I got to wear a cup! My Mom sat and my Dad stood smoking…each game.
A year later, at 10, I was drafted to the “Majors” by the White Sox. The little fish in a big pond. Two innings/one swing/and out. I was happy to sit as big 12- year olds like Johnny Capretta and Terry Chambers pitched us to a title. Even got a hit in the World Series at Brainard Park when my errant bunt popped over the oncoming third baseman for a first inning double. (They were getting my at bat out of the way early). But, hey, Max Mitchell came to watch! He saw. And beaming, I could finally “feel a part of.” It had been a hitless regular season. Now, though, atop the bag, my life was everything I could have hoped for.
At 20 I was sure I’d arrived. Woody’s Buckeyes were the “Team Of The Century,” and wearing contacts, driving High Street in a new blue Mustang convertible, I had the world by the _____. I stood confidently on the precipice of a good life.

       Hey my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun
       Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done
       Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears
       And Ill do it better in my next thirty years

Adulthood wasn’t all I thought it would be. But, then, perhaps I didn’t think.  Fell in love. Got engaged, a degree, an Honorable Discharge. Married. Career. Kids.  Life. And then, after all that ….adolescence.

Did things right and things wrong. Perhaps we all do. My Dad, they told me, was my great enabler. ‘Twas true. He taught me everything about life except how to live without him. Still, even today, he remains a barometer for common sense…and honor. I am my father’s son—still learning life’s lessons.
There are times of happiness and some less so…and yet, I am often joyous and always content. Today I remain on the precipice of a good life.   We all do.

       My next thirty years will be the best years of my life
       Savoring my family and maybe yet a wife?
       Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear
       Make up for lost time here, in my next thirty years

                                                    T. McGraw

One Response to “MY NEXT THIRTY YEARS”

  1. Jackie says:

    What a great reflection. Happy Birthday, Bruce.

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