This past Monday, August 5th was, for me, birthday number 76. Most wishes of which I was the recipient good-naturedly mentioned having 76 trombones lead a birthday parade. Some stated, "THAT'S the spirit!", and so forth. For me, it resulted in a mix of melancholy and elation. The melancholy comes from knowing there are fewer years left at this end of the spectrum and the elation knowing I've made it this far, better than the alternative (most of the time, but in my opinion, not always.)

One of the brighter notes for me occurred the day before my Monday birthday, last Sunday morning, while watching FACE THE NATION'S last half-hour, thanks to host Bob Schieffer's closing reminiscent remarks, which I'll address in the next paragraph. But first, some background: During my D.C. television weathercasting days (1974-77), Bob Schieffer's wife, who was then a grade school teacher, called me at WJLA-TV (the ABC affiliate for which I was working) to invite me to present a weather talk to one of her classes. I was delighted and honored to accept, and made the presentation. I didn't meet Bob until years later, and he was as charming and "real" as he's appeared for so many years on the un-blinking eye network.

Last Sunday, Bob's closing remarks resonated strongly and delightfully, reminding me that a person whose age I share (Bob was born four months before I was) expounded memories similar to what I've had the privilege to chronicle in this space for the past several months, to wit: Bob noted the passing of actor Michael Ansara a few days ago. Ansara was one of STAR TREK's primary actors and married in "real life" to actress Barbara Eden of I DREAM OF JEANNIE fame. Bob related what was significant to him, both personally and professionally, Ansara and Eden were the first two celebrities Bob ever interviewed. The interview took place at a small Fort Worth, TX, radio station where Bob began his broadcasting career. Bob said he had to lug a heavy tape recorder up several flights of stairs to do the interview. He also said he thinks neither Ansara nor Eden would ever have remembered that interview, but because of Michael's passing, Bob thought it appropriate to share that memory with his audience, and which was delivered in his characteristically-humble manner. It struck a very responsive chord with yours truly, because what I write in this space frequently deals with those sorts of memories. It also jogged my thinking to realizing the longer we live, the more profoundly those, or any, memories really enrich our lives. They bring a lot of smiles, inward and outward. Thanks to Bob and his closing remarks for making the next day a happier, if not more reflective, 76th birthday for me.

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read my geezer thoughts. Additional recent minor surgery has precluded my resuming STAR TRIBUNE webcasts (A SENIOR MOMENT), but will hope to return to that screen in the near future. Happy August!


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