7 a.m., Central Time, Oct. 28, 1962: The Alternate Ending

 (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.

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