>As I turn 35…

>So, I’m turning 35. And while turning 30 was no big deal to me, somehow the thought of turning 5 just seems more monumental than just “another age on the exercise machines.” As I’ve been thinking about turning 35, I’ve been reflecting on some of the stuff from my life. So, I decided to turn those memories into a post. Plus, you know, so I won’t forget them all in my old age…

And since, I’m turning 35, I thought I’d throw out 35 memories…

  1. One of my earliest memories is walking through some incredibly high snow banks with my dad to the base exchange in Kansas City, Missouri. Chronologically this may be the earliest memory I have…
  2. ….or it maybe this one. I had heart surgery at age three. My only memory of it is being at the hospital and I’m not sure if it’s pre-surgery or post-surgery. My dad was there in his Air Force uniform and it came time for him to leave. I can clearly see him walking to the elevator, getting on and then the lights being turned off for the evening…and being kind of frightened even though my mom was there with me.
  3. I recovered from my heart surgery and later that year, my mom had to go to the hospital to give birth to my sister. I recall spending the day at the neighbor’s house, wondering when my mom would be home. That night, I had this incredible nightmare of being chased by the gorilla from the old Sampsonite commercials and screaming for help. At one point, my dream split into four separate corners, each one with a gorilla jumping up and down on a suitcase as it chased me.
  4. I remember my Grandmother coming to stay with us after my sister was born. I can still see her getting off the plane.
  5. We lived in Hawaii for four years when I was growing up. We’d just moved there and went out to one of our first days on the beach when I got stung by a Portugese Man of War. Think of a jelly-fish sting only more intense
  6. Just after we moved to Hawaii, I was at a squandron picnic with my family when I fell off (I believe it was) the jungle gym and split open my bottom lip. I had to have stitches in it which was not a lot of fun. My school pictures that year show me with the stitches.
  7. I loved boogie boarding in Hawaii. I have a lot of great memories of riding the waves at Bellow’s Beach. We also stayed out there in cabins on the beach.
  8. Our base housing is Hawaii didn’t have a guest room, so when my grandparents came to visit, they’d stay in a hotel downtown. When my Grandmother and Granddaddy visited once, they invited me to stay in their hotel room with them one night and I was pretty excited. But a death in the family forced them to cut short their visit on the night I was due to stay. I was pretty disappointed.
  9. Growing up, Star Wars was the new, big thing. I had a good collection of Star Wars action figures that I kept in a lunchbox. The base needed to install some underground stuff and dug a huge ditch through our yard. The ditch was a great mysterious alien world for my Star Wars guys to explore. (See, I was destined to be a Doctor Who fan from the beginning–since a lot of the alien worlds on the classic series are rock quarries).
  10. I broke my arm while we lived in Hawaii. I fell off a set of balance beams, which were basically big wooden steps with a gap in between them. You went up to the highest one and then came down. I got to the highest one and can clearly recall seeing the next step down and thinking–this looks like a huge gulf. I then fell and landed on my arm, breaking it.
  11. My mom had this cake pan that when cooked and decorated was the torso of Superman or Batman. (It came with a plastic, removal logo of each superhero). My first few birthdays, I had either a Superman or a Batman cake that my mom would make and decorate herself. If I recall right, I may have often had one of each–one for my b’day party and one to take to school. Or that could have just once or twice…
  12. While we lived in Hawaii, we’d come back to visit family each summer. We were visiting my grandparents in Memphis one summer when there was a heat wave. I recall the pool being as warm as a bathtub.
  13. My mom’s side of the family holds a family reunion every year on the same weekend in August. For years, it was held near Nashville at the home of one our relatives that was on a lake. All the kids went swimming in the lake in the afternoon and I recall that no matter when you got there, it seemed like forever until you got to get in the lake and then it felt like it had only been ten minutes before your mom, grandparent or other family member was saying it was time to get out…
  14. Part of the lake experience was in the afternoons, an aunt would get out her boat and run it up and down the lake. If you were old enough, you could try or learn how to water ski. I never got to because by the time I was old enough to water ski, the location had moved.
  15. Part of the joy of family reunion was for one day, you could drink as much soda as you wanted. Soda was brought in bottles and put in big tubs of ice in the backyard with a bottle opener on the tree.
  16. One year, Coke was holding a contest where you collected letters under the bottle caps to spell out a word and win. My cousins and I tried our best to collect all the letters, but it didn’t happen.
  17. I’m not sure if this was just a one year thing or it was there for many years, but in the lake, there was a huge block of styrofoam tied to the dock/pier. I recall trying to climb up on it and then falling back into the lake.
  18. My Grandmother made the best apple pies in the world.
  19. My Granny made the best fried catfish in the world. The catfish was fresh and sometimes it was catfish we’d caught fishing with her or my Grandpa.
  20. One time while traveling from Virginia to Memphis to visit family, we stopped to visit the campus at UT. I clearly recall visiting the Hill, seeing Neyland Stadium and thinking how cool it would be to go to school there.
  21. We lived in Mississippi for a year after we moved back to the mainland from Hawaii. We lived in Biloxi and I have memories of going out on docks to watch friends use shrimp nets to catch shrimp.
  22. We moved to Mississippi when I was in the third grade and I was excited because I got to ride my bicycle to school.
  23. Moving cross-country, back before cell phones, we had two cars equipped with CB radios. My sister and I had trivial pursuit games that we’d play across the CB waves.
  24. In high school, I was recruited by the University of Alabama for a while. I recall getting all kinds of packages from them. I honestly cannot imagine having gone to Bama…nothing against the school, but I just can’t see myself pulling for Alabama.
  25. I was on the journalism staff in high school and one month I wrote an opinion piece that we should all show courtesy to each other. Apparently this was controversial as I got death threats. I’m not joking…
  26. My Grandpa smoked cigars and would sit on the porch of his house watching the world go by.
  27. One time he convinced me to count cars. Now to understand why this is funny, you have to know my grandparents lived out in the country and their roads were not even close to heavily traveled.
  28. Grandpa would always tell me these wild stories of things he was going to trade me in for.
  29. One of my last memories of my Grandpa was a time he and Granny came to visit us in California, sitting on our deck as he smoked cigars and told me stories from his life.
  30. My dad coached a couple of teams I was on growing up. I also recall he made a tee-ball tee for me out of PVC pipes and other stuff. It was pretty cool.
  31. When I think about my Granddaddy, I think about times we spent with him teaching me how to hit a golf ball or throw a frisbee correctly or tossing the baseball in his back yard.
  32. I also recall that he ate Special K cereal with strawberries every morning for breakfast. (Or so it seemed to me at the time).
  33. Granny and Grandpa had a friend named Danny Thomas who grew corn and would give us some if we came and picked it. When I first heard his name, I thought they knew the famous Danny Thomas. (Or at least my mind thought there was a famous person named Danny Thomas…)
  34. Two moments in history that I recall where I was when I heard the news: the Challenger disaster and 9/11.
  35. On a less world-altering moment, I recall the moment in 98 I knew that UT would win it all…it was as Travis Henry plunged into the end zone with time running out against Arkansas to preserve our undefeated season.
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