(for Remembrance Day, 2012)
My parents would never have reconciled, enjoyed a happy retirement, and died on the same date, one hour apart, nine years to the day.
I would never have finished grade 8, moved from the chikdhood home, or left my hometown.
I would never have gone to high school or university.
I would never have heard the Beatles, learned to play guitar, and played in several groups.
I would never have become a writer or written poems, songs, or books.
I would never have fallen in love and married.
I would never have had a family or grandchildren.
I would never have become a teacher, a nursing orderly, a letter carrier, or a film classifier.
I would never have had the many friends I have known.
I would never have taught and retired, living long enough to collect a pension.
I would never have become a serious reader, a fan of classical and jazz, a playgoer, and met many musicians I admire and look up to.
I would never have seen great art or enjoyed the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.
I would never have learned to drive a car or been up in an airplane or on a ferry.
I would never have lived in apartments, a condo, or owned a house.
I would never have owned my favorite movies, books, and music.
I would never have flown a kite.
I would never have owned a black miniature poodle.
I would never have become a gardener.
I would never have become a bird watcher.
I would never have seen the desert in winter or New England in the fall.
I would never have collected one issue of each of Classics Illustrated.
I never would have attended my grade 8 and high school reunions.
I would never have written about any on this on a blog in a cloud somewhere.
If Jack hadn’t proposed and Nikky accepted.
No, I never would have got this far.
title: the time and date the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and the world was not blown up many times over. “Jack”–J.F.K. “Nikky”–Nikita Kruschev.
We are a product of our context and are here today by the skin of our teeth. The crisis was the closest we came to doomsday as a species and planet. I am under no illusions I/everybody/everything else is here because of a fluke, luck, and the personalities, fears, and choices of two individuals. I am grateful to both men for their cooler heads and compromise that has allowed me as much as I have experienced and enjoyed thusfar.
As mind-boggling as reviewing my own luck and process has been today, I invite you to ponder how much history and things we take for granted now would not have occurred if Nikky had been ornery that fateful moment 50 years ago.