"A person's life can be compared quite nicely to the four seasons of the year. This blog is from someone in the Winter of Life enjoying the fruits of his "Summer and Fall" and looking forward to assisting the growth and nourishment for the next generation.

My Father and Grandfather passed on their wisdom through their actions and their stories. This is probably be the most impactful way to pass on wisdom. But the written word can have an affect on lives that extends beyond the memories of a couple of generations. This blog is an attempt to reflection on my life experiences and pass these reflections to future generations of my own family as well as any others who might come across these pages.

Wednesday, June 23

“A” – Angie Dickinson, “B” - .....

This past week the hot weather at home drove my wife and I into the welcoming arms of Sunny South Florida. Well that and the offer of a free week at a friend’s condo in Naples. If you think Tennessee is hot, go to South Florida. I was never so thankful for air conditioning. But I digress.

Hoping to save some money since we had the free lodging, we decided to drive to Naples. After all it’s all Interstate 75 from Chattanooga and Chattanooga is only two hours from the house. How hard could that be? Well, I will tell you it is not hard driving, just set the cruise control on 75 and set back and guide the car. But it is boring as all get out! My wife finished the newspaper by the time we climbed Monteagle Mountain. We had breakfast in Chattanooga. The book on tape lasted to Macon and we still had not gotten out of Georgia nor were we half way there.

Over the years, we have developed a fairly simple game to pass the time. There aren’t a lot of rules, in fact the rules are broken regularly, nor is it hard. The game does require a two unique characteristics. You have to have watched a lot of movies and TV shows and have a good memory.

Starting with A and continuing through the alphabet, name a movie star or TV star whose first or last name begins with your letter. “A” - Audie Murphy, “B” - Bette Davis, “C” – Catherine Zeta Jones and so on. The first round is fairly easy and the second isn’t bad. And some letters aren’t bad. But can you name three movie stars with a first or last name beginning with “Q”? Anthony Quinn and Quentin (what’s his last name?) How about “Z”? or “U”. The fun part of the game is naming a movie they were in or naming their co-star or laughing over a line from the movie.

The real fun comes after you have played the game to exhaustion and moved on the something else to
occupy the time between Macon and Valdosta. Out of the blue, one of us will exclaim, “How could we have forgotten Fess Parker? or William Holden? or Peter Lorre? or that Italian star who is so beautiful, you know she was married to that director, oh yeah, Sophia Loren?” And then we laugh and start over again.

It occurred to me during one of those forays into movie history, that fame is such a momentary thing. There are thousands of actors or politicians or singers who gain a certain amount of recognition and notoriety during a portion of their life, but too soon past into that commonality that surrounds the vast majority of us lesser mortals. I was reminded of this when the death of Gary Coleman was announced. For a brief time, he gained fame and fortune on a TV show. When the show ended, the fame and his fortune were soon dissipated. Fame is fleeting! Even the most famous are soon forgotten or, at least, not remembered quite as quickly as they once were. Charlie Chaplin is a good example as is Tom Mix or George Harrison (yes, the fourth Beatle).

There are at least two lessons gleaned from the observation that fame is fleeting. When the fame and notoriety is gone, when your favorite restaurant doesn’t recognize your name and refuses to move you to the front of the line, when the paparazzi stop hounding you, what do your have left? Did your dignity get left behind? Perhaps your reputation for honesty is tarnished. What do you have left of your ethics, morality, compassion, and so on through all those personal traits that make you who you are. As you move up the ladder of success, fame and fortune do not lose the essence of who you really are. For in the final analysis, when all else is gone, you still have to live with yourself.

There is an old saying, “Be kind to those you meet on the way up because you will see them again on the way down.” The junior accountant becomes the head of the corporation, the newsboy becomes a journalist, the maid’s daughter marries a casting director, the summer intern becomes the human resources director, the chauffer owns a fleet of cars, and so on. The “little” people become the “big” people with the passage of time and you just may need their help! They are likely to have long memories and may treat you as you treated them. Hopefully, their memories of you are pleasant and positive!

Let’s see, “J” is John Wayne, and “K” is ...

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