Life is mysterious…A Number of Things

My age is the one number I am more than proud to share with everyone. In fact, four and a half years ago, on my 50th birthday, I started this column. This was a particularly meaningful birthday for me because my mother died at the age of forty-nine. Making it to fifty was important, but, even more important was having a life worth living.  

The closer I got to the age she was at the time of her death, the more I recommitted myself to doing all the things I dreamed of doing. Yes, this column is one of those things. Better late than never, after all. 

Which takes me to this past weekend when I had the pleasure of seeing my husband, John, and his musical partner, John Brown, along with Johnny Greer, Matt Hurd and Chip McClain play The Depot in Marshall, NC.  What a fabulous place it was and what a wonderful show it was. The Flying J’s, as they call themselves, picked up speed after my husband turned fifty.   The original Johns, as they are referred to, were then joined by some of the most talented musicians this part of the country has ever seen. This group of merry men are all having a ball playing venues all over East Tennessee and North Carolina. In fact, they are staying very busy and are in high demand. Not bad for a bunch of older men!

This past weekend’s show was made extra special when 10 time Grammy Award winning American bluegrass fiddler and a professional musician Bobby Hicks sat in and played with The Flying J’s. Mr. Bobby Hicks learned to play the fiddle before he was 9 years old. He was inducted into the “Fiddlers Hall of Fame” in 2002 and in 2004, he celebrated 50 years at the Grand Ole Opry.  What an honor it was for The Flying J’s to have this caliber of a musician play with them. To say my husband was in hog heaven would be an understatement.  He is doing things now after fifty that he only dreamed of doing when he was younger.  

If you ever have the pleasure of seeing The Flying J’s in person you, will notice that they are enjoying every minute of their experience.  They laugh and joke with the audience and with themselves.  The richness of sound they are producing is only possible from years of living and learning.  They are comfortable in their own skin and in themselves and it shows.  They are not just seasoned entertainers but they are seasoned people.

As I shared in my column on January 31st 2017, Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was thirty-nine and Martha Stewart wasn’t the queen of her entertaining and cooking empire until she was forty. Bea Arthur was forty-six before she would land her breakout role in the Broadway production of “Mame” in 1966. Julia Child didn’t learn to cook until she was forty and didn’t launch her popular TV show until she was fifty. Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman and Rodney Dangerfield were all late bloomers, as were famous restauranteurs Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Ray Croc of McDonald’s, who were 66 and 52 respectively, before launching their fast food businesses.

There have been countless people throughout history who all started their careers late, but, I would be remiss if I did not mention famed artist Grandma Moses who until the age of 78 never picked up a paintbrush. Even my father started an acting career after the age of fifty. It was something he enjoyed doing, much like I enjoy writing this column. The point is, it was something he always wanted to do and he did it.

I am proud that John and I are in our mid-fifties and started something late in life that we always wanted to do. I want people to know that being older is a privilege, a gift not granted to everyone and, just like a fine wine, we get better over time. Truth be told, I don’t want to look or be twenty. I want people to see me and recognize the years’ worth of living and learning I have done.  

There are a number of things that might stop you from following your dreams but age should not be one of them. At fifty, I started a column and John started a music career. Who knows what sixty, seventy and beyond will hold. Whether you are 20 or 100, as long as you are living, it is never too late to do something you enjoy. Life is mysterious.  

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