Wrote this two years ago. The oldest is now working in Az, and by all accounts is doing well.
I vaguely remember what life was like when I was 28 years old. Called Texas home back then. Managed a pizzeria, was also a “weekend warrior” in the Naval Reserves. Was making around three hundred dollars a week, and owned a home. We were bitching that gas was heading towards a dollar a gallon, and cigarettes were better than 50 cents a pack. But Reagan was President, the Carter years safely behind us, and we were trying our best to be “that shining city on the hill” the President oft-times proclaimed us to be.
The future was looking bright (or at least much better than it had just a few short years prior to that). And there was nothing but “air and opportunity” ahead.
Now my oldest is at that same point in time in his life. On the positive side he has his health, and a steady job. But oh how things have changed.
We still had the Russians to contend with. He has the growing threat of Islam. (Overtly, through the actions of the various “radical elements”, Covertly, via the passive actions/inactions of any number of the rank and file faithful; your “practicing Muslims”.)
We had rising prices, but there was a growing economy (and stock market) as well. Stephen has rising prices, and (thanks to corruption in government and corporate board rooms) a shrinking economy and a shrinking dollar.
We had (at least at that point in time) a government which at least spoke of the intent to try and shrink it’s presence in the daily goings on of Americans. As well as not taking as much out of our wallets. Stephen can look forward to more and more of his hard earned monies going straight to the feds. He will also see an ever increasing amount of personal rights and liberties being eaten away by those in government at all levels.
Where we at least had the hope of redressing our grievances via the ballot box. That one was (at least apparently) able to interact with ones elected representatives. Now it seems we are on a course which will either lead to some sort of totalitarian/authoritarian state OR massive secession of States from the Union OR out and out revolution/rebellion. None of these choices bode well for my son (or his brothers and any others of his and future generations).
Still, there is always the chance “things will find a way of balancing out”. (Don’t ask me how, cause I don’t know.) I hope Stephen will be able to look back from the same vantage point I am looking back from now, and see his (and his country’s) darkest hours are behind him. That on his 54th birthday (celebrated with family and friends) he will be able to look at his children, smile and say; “We made plenty of mistakes, but on the whole what we are passing on to your generation, is better than what was passed on to us.”
If I had any birthday wish to give you which could come true, having you able to say the above, would be it.
Happy Birthday Stephen!!!