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It was my sixth birthday;
I felt so special. We had a party with hats, pretty plates, special punch
and a great big birthday cake. All my friends came, that was good. All
my friends came with presents, that was better. I made my wish, blew out
the candles and smiled. I felt invincible on August 27, 1965, like everything
would always go my way.
I was not quite thirteen.
We lived on the plains of West Texas, where the wind howled, rattlesnakes
slithered, and everyone worked hard. One afternoon, I was helping a farmer
move his equipment from one section of land to another. He drove the tractor,
I drove his bright red, new Chevrolet pickup.
I put my foot on the accelerator
trying to catch up to him, the wheels turned sharply when the front end
hit a sandbar in the middle of the dirt road, the pickup went from one
side of the road to the other until, finally, I lost control. It crashed
into the bar ditch through a barb wired fence onto a nearby field. The
impact thrust me through the windshield leaving me bleeding, dirty and
disoriented. I didn't feel invincible.
Most days, I'm not the birthday
boy. People don't bring presents and there are no candles to blow out.
Neither do I go crashing through the windshield of the boss' pickup.
Today is somewhere between
those experiences. Not everything will go right, but neither will everything
We are not better because
of the sum of our good experiences, nor are we worse because of our negative
ones. Life is full of both. How we handle prosperity and adversity shows
everyone who we really are. Our attitude determines our happiness.
"I am not saying this
because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."