Looking back on 62 years of living
by Rick Watson
Jan 20, 2013 | 1628 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
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This week I celebrated my 62nd birthday. The day was low key, but as I pondered the path that brought me here, I came to the conclusion that many of those reading these words were born into a remarkable time period.

What follows is my blog entry for the evening of Jan. 15. Since most of the people who read my blog are from other parts of the world, I go into detail that might seem a little odd if you live here in Walker County, but bear with me.

Sixty-two years ago this week, I was born in the back of a four-room camp house in what is now called Old Dora.

Dr. Baker lived so close to our house that a mischievous kid could have stood on our front porch and knocked his living room window out with a sling shot and a smooth flint rock.

On that cold-gray morning, he bundled up, walked the few hundred yards to my parent's house, and brought me kicking and screaming into the world with a slap on the bottom.

Some people feel they were born too late, and others too soon, but I feel I was born at precisely the right time.

I was a child of the 50s and came of age during the turbulent 60s. The vortex of the civil rights movement was right here in Alabama. One of the turning points was the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which is not 30 miles from where I was born. It's not a time most people here of proud of, but I like to think we learned from it.

I was among some of the last Americans to get drafted into the Army. The year I became draft eligible, they developed a lottery system. Uncle Sam put all the days of the year into a basket and drew them out one by one.

The order in which you were drafted depended on what order your birthday was drawn out of the basket.

I was attending college at the time and could have requested a deferment, but I’ve always felt lucky, so I decided to take my chances in the draft.

When they drew numbers, January 15 was the 75th number they pulled from the basket.

A short time later, I got a letter from Uncle Sam in my mailbox. "You've been selected by your friends and neighbors to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America."

I never did figure out which of my friends or neighbors “selected me to serve.”

At any rate, I made it through the military, and after I came home, I hooked up with Jilda, my high school sweetheart. We married the following year.

I managed to land a job that paid for my education, and I worked with emerging technology.

The company trained me on how to work on computers long before they were in everyone’s home and in their pockets.

These days the velocity of change seems to be accelerating at a staggering pace. The more I learn, the further I seem to fall behind, but these are fascinating times.

I'm sitting here tapping keys on my computer, and when I hit update, people from all over the world will immediately be able to read what's on my mind tonight.

Even though it's only about 10 miles as a crow flies from where I was born, it seems that I'm spending my 62 birthday lightyears from where I started.