Sometimes when I am trying to think of what to write I go through past days of my life that were important to me hoping to jar a memory loose. As I was doing this the other day I started thinking if I were given the choice which one of those days would I want to re-live? If you were to ask that question of me or any other man while our wives are listening we would have to say something like our wedding day, or “any day I’m with you honey” but if they weren’t around we might give it more thought. When you think of all the memorable days that happen in a person’s lifetime, you realize it would be hard to choose just one.
The first day of summer vacation when we were kids would certainly be in the running. The day when school was finally out, and three homework free months stretched out ahead of us. I still remember the exhilaration of waking up that first morning and realizing I was free as a breeze for another summer.
Some people might choose the day they had their first date, but not me. I was a nervous wreck, and I think the girl went into a convent afterwards. It wouldn’t be my first kiss either. I couldn’t figure out where my nose was supposed to be.
A lot of men might pick the day they became a father for the first time, and that was definitely a memorable day. But it was also a scary time for me as I realized I was responsible for another human life. So, although I will always cherish the memory I’m just too nervous to live through that day again.
Just about any Christmas morning with my family gathered around me and all the wonderful gifts I received would be worth another look. I also have some good birthday memories when I didn’t have so many of them. Those would be days that catered to my greedy side however, so I don’t think I should choose them.
A day I find myself thinking about often is the day I reported aboard the U.S.S. Hawkins my first ship at the ripe old age of 17. I can still remember standing on the pier in Newport Rhode Island just after midnight on that cold January night in 1956, staring at the beauty of the haze grey steel ship bathed in security lights that would be my home for the next three and a half years. It was an exciting day, but come to think of it, it was as scary as being a new father because I had no idea what was coming next.
I suppose after carefully thinking over all the choices the romantic in me will have the final say in this internal debate. I have therefore narrowed the choices down to the day I fell in love, or my wedding day. After all my wife does read my column and I’ve had enough scary days.
Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.