Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

I left Oasis about 10 a.m. As I headed north on highway 467, I drove by more dairies and also by Cannon Air Force Base. I headed west on 60/84. Somewhere along the 70-mile-drive I remembered that it was my birthday! So, I sang to myself. Thank goodness the highway was mostly straight, divided, and had hardly any traffic – I got a lot of thinking done.

By the grace of God, today I am 68 years old – and delighted with my life. It has been full of surprises. When I started my adult life, I could never have predicted all the twists and turns that my life has taken; the changes – some by chance and some by choice – that I’ve been through. A year-and-a-half ago I had no idea that I would be cruising the USA in a motorhome. God has truly blessed me with family and friends.

A few map-dot towns later I drove into the small town of Fort Sumner. Normally I would have gone a few miles off the highway to see historic Fort Sumner and Billy the Kid’s grave, but Sumner Lake State Park is another park with few developed electric sites – many for reservations – and I figured that the earlier in the day I arrived, the better my chances were. My back-up plan, if I couldn’t get a site, was to drive on another 40 miles to Santa Rosa State Park.

The winding road to the “main campground” took me on a one-lane bridge over the dam. I got the one-and-only non-reservation site with a nice “adobe” picnic shelter and a few trees. Whew! I’m in site #2 in the Pecos Campground and can see the lake from my windows.

Campground host Bob came over to help me get parked. He is friendly and quite a talker. His wife works in Ft. Sumner. Other RVers here are fishermen, and spend most of the day fishing from their boats.

During the day I got several Happy Birthday phone calls. Granddaughter Melody called from Japan and sister Margie called from Arizona while I was out exploring – boo hoo! I missed both calls but enjoyed their phone messages. My son Rick and granddaughter Christine called. Coming from a large family, I know I’ll have a stack of birthday cards waiting for me at the post office!

And I got a call from my ever-faithful financial advisor, Jon Schmauss. (Smith Barney, etc.) He said he called to cheer me up on my birthday. Turns out he had turned 65 a couple of weeks ago and he said he was depressed about it. I told him he should be celebrating because there are people who never live that long! I told him about the birthday card I got one year from my in-laws, Betty and Earl Serry, that said: “The more birthdays you have, the longer you live.”

In between phone calls I explored. There is plenty to do here. Around 7 p.m., a small herd of deer, somewhere between 12 and 16, walked through not far from where I am parked. Each one stopped at the road, seemed to look both ways, and then gracefully trotted across before stopping to graze again.

It has been a good day. I have found travel to be extremely rewarding, even though it is not without challenges. Even though I’m a solo traveler, I am not lonesome or bored. I am secure in who I am, and eager to discover what lies ahead in the years I have left.

For one thing, I know that life is short and it’s the only one I get. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool optimist. I close with this quote from Sir Winston Churchill:

For myself, I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.