June 24, 1958...10:07 a.m., Hendricks Memorial Hospital, Abilene, Texas...well, that's when and where I greeted the world for the first time. Fifty-three years ago today, I was welcomed by my mother and father, Evelyn Estelle and Edward Charles Dueboay. That was well before anyone was allowed in the delivery room except for the doctor and the delivery staff.
I can picture my dad pacing frantically back and forth in front of the Delivery Room Door when the doctor busts out and says, "Mr. Dueboay, you have a healthy 6 lb boy and the mother is doing fine"...
Fifty-three years or 636 months or about 19,000 days. That's a lot of time for memories to be made and a lot of moments to reflect on. So what do I reflect on, on this day, my fifty-third birthday? Well, I remember sweltering summer days riding bikes from sunup to sundown, chasing horny toads and painting their backs with nail polish. I remember swimming at the pool during summer break, sitting across the aisle in the theater from the girl I had a big crush on, hoping she'd notice me. I remember buying canteloupes from the farmers on the square downtown and eating them in the shade of a big old oak tree that to this day stands on the square in my home town.
I remember my first day in high school and how terrified I was to be a "frosh" and in the crosshairs of upper classmen hell-bent on making my life miserable for the first couple of days or weeks. I remember my first true love and how alive I felt each time I was with her. I remember standing onstage at the county fair, being sworn-in by the Navy recruiter in front of hundreds and hundreds of friends and family and how proud I was at that moment.
I remember high school graduation day and getting married and then having to leave for Navy bootcamp and how out of place I felt in a city of over one million souls and just coming from a small town of just 3,500. I remember boot camp graduation and coming home and the family greeting me and the party we had after my arrival.
I fast forward through all of the years in the Navy, the places I visited the people I met and all of the things I did...and those that I never should have. I remember May 4, 1989, the day my dear mother passed away and how empty I felt inside and the thoughts of "who am I going to talk to now" about those things that men need to talk to mama about. I remember December 1, 1998, the day my Navy career was over and how scared I was to be walking back into a world I had left 23 years prior.
Events, places, tears and laughter were a big part of my life. And most of those couldn't have happened without people in my life. So, I reflect on wives and old girlfriends, buddies, enemies and friends...all special in their own way and a big part of my memories.
So on my birthday today, I want to send out a big thank you to anyone and everyone that has crossed my path, for good or for bad, for better or for worse or that entered my life for a moment, a generation or for a lifetime. Life is about the people IN your life, how they affect you, what they bring to you and what they bring out in you. I am grateful for each and every one of you, whether you are here, gone forever, across the nation or around the world, my friends and family mean everything to me, for I would be a much lesser man without you.