Take My Breath Away

“The most completely lost of all days is that in which one has not laughed.” Nicolas Chamfort

Birthdays with a Zero in them are fine times for reflection. February 11, 2017, I turned 70.

I’ve enjoyed hundreds, thousands of moments that have taken my breath away. I’ve fallen in love and married. We’ve celebrated 44 anniversaries. I’ve watched the birth of two daughters. I baptized both of them.

I’ve been blessed to participate in the spiritual growth of many folks. I’ve helped alcoholics get sober. I’ve seen people whose lives were pure chaos find order, salvation and peace. I’ve watched rigid, self-righteous people discover grace. More importantly, I discovered grace for myself and for others.

In Mauritania, I got stuck in the Sahara Desert in a four-wheel drive vehicle. That might have taken my breath away but I found a small tent village and took a nap. You must have priorities!

I’ve watched Clemson win two National Championships in football. Exhilarating!

It’s a rush to hold a book you wrote that’s been published. I’ve had that privilege four times.

I survived two serious car wrecks, one with a fully loaded logging truck.

Sally and I were on a transatlantic flight when one of the plane’s engines blew. We heard it. No doubt about what had happened. Potentially breathtaking experience. Literally. When we landed, two dozen emergency vehicles followed our plane down the runway.

My two best friends died. Soul-crushing experiences. Even at their memorial services, we found ways to laugh.

I’ve listened to Ella Fitzgerald in concert. Magnificent.

I’ve seen Greg Maddux pitch. Incredible.

In Kenya, I’ve seen elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, and ostriches in their natural habitat. Wow!

On Folly Beach, South Carolina, I watched loggerhead turtles bursting from their brittle eggshells and clawing their way across the sandy beach into the Atlantic Ocean. Awe-inspiring.

With my grandson, Lake, we peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon, then rafted on the Colorado River.

With my daughter, Julie, we watched whales and caught lobsters off the coast of Massachusetts. Incredible.

With my daughter, Jenna, my grandson Lake, and my wife Sally, we climbed to the top of Machu Picchu. Then, we hiked in the Amazon Rain Forest. Mindboggling experiences.

Two pieces of advice I got from Jerry and Jane Howington when I was a teenager: “Keep on keeping on” and “Hang in there.”

“I’m so excited. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.” The Pointer Sisters

Categories: Baseball, Faith/Spirituality, Family, Football, Humor, South Carolina, Travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “Take My Breath Away

  1. Anonymous

    you make me smile Marion Aldridge —

  2. Sherry Bomar

    What a wonderful life you have led! Here’s to 70 more exciting years:)

  3. Anonymous

    Marion: Keep on trucking.

    Lee Barker
    Hilton Head, SC

  4. rayfoy2010

    Happy birthday! Inspiring!

  5. Kim Kroll

    I will never believe you are 70. Can’t be.
    Keep enjoying every minute! ~Kim

  6. Glad you had fun – keep doing so and press on to 80! 😊

  7. Anonymous

    Happy birthday! Isn’t life wonderful!

  8. Bob Shrum

    Happy Day. You’ve had lots of them. Hope this birthday is somehow uniquely happy as well.

    • Thanks, Bob. It was a good couple of days. Julie and Tom took me to a Comedy thing and a nice meal in Boston. Back in Wilton, my neighbors gave me a great meal and an adult beverage. A good time was had by all. Thanks for your note.

  9. Thanks to everyone for birthday wishes. I spent two days with Julie and Tom in Boston with appropriate food and celebration, then back in Wilton, CT. My next door neighbors, Bob Cherico and Cindy Cherico, fed me a delicious meal, good cake and great conversation. Facebook, gmail greetings and phone calls kept me busy all day. 70 feels a lot like 69 which felt a lot like 68, etc. So, actually, I think of myself as 35.

  10. Beth Zuercher

    Happy Birthday again! I think I sent this wish earlier, but without reading your last comments! Your writings and comments always lead to memories of the past and contemplations for today and tomorrow. Ken & I enjoy reading your latest communications with all of us! We miss you and hope that you’ll come back soon, although we know that CT. is enjoying your presence while they’re searching. Stay warm! Take care! Go Tigers!

    Beth Zuercher

  11. Monette Jones

    Marion, You’re one of my heros.I’m thankful I came to know you in your later years. I hope we challenge each other with our writing for many years to come.

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