Many times, when I post a story about my life or beliefs, people mention that I’ve had an amazing existence. That humbles me, as I believe most people have led amazing lives. Most anyone reading this has come through health, financial or personal problems that, at first glance, seem insurmountable. Yet most of those folks came through with flying colors, achieving amazing results.
I have many friends that I am so very proud of for various reasons. Most of those, by the similar definition used to describe me, have led amazing lives. Parents, loyal friends, loving family members…the list of people leading amazing lives goes on almost forever.
My own life was, like most, both a happy and unhappy accident. As my father passed away when I was 2, I have no recollection of him. He was a professional musician, played with many of the big bands and was a big deal in the Philadelphia String Bands. He was also a drunk who drank so much he died of cirrhosis of the liver. Taking his place was my Great Uncle Ed, a man who had been a successful bootlegger during prohibition, an extremely successful inventor and a disciple of Will Rogers. He truly never met anyone he didn’t like. Some he didn’t trust, but he loved people.
His influence on me lives on. He taught me that friendship is one of the most important elements of life. He also made me believe that the only color that mattered was green – money. Long before the televangelist Reverend Ike said it, Ed believed that the lack of money was the root of all evil. He showed me the importance of hard work and saving your money. He retired at 50 and never wanted for a thing.
I have written extensively about our travels in this country and abroad. He loved traveling and had friends everywhere across the country. He knew political leaders, famous musicians and entertainers as well as just plain folks from all walks of life. Stories I have yet to write concern his friendships with J Edgar Hoover, Robert Kennedy, Al Hirt, Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan and many others. He never said how he knew those people, but I assume it was because of his bootlegging activities, flying in the good booze from Canada or hiring boats to pick it up coming in from Europe. But those secrets died with him.
My first marriage is part of my amazing life. Carol was the most amazing person I had ever met. She had multiple graduate degrees in music and I was an angry young composer/student. She saw more than that. When she was killed, after I regained my senses, I decided to prove her right.
I helped my advertising agency in Atlanta change the game. We did some amazing work there and I was able to use my creativity to its maximum effect. After I left, I hit the road as a trade show magician. I was able to change that game, too. I did illusions that incorporated the high-tech creations of my clients. I was booked over 200 days a year.
At QVC, while my first few years were a bit stifled by a less-than-progressive management team, when Barry Diller arrived, I was allowed to swing free. Many of the sales records I set there have yet to be broken, including the $11,000,000 hour I hosted for a single computer. Took 2 weeks of careful planning, but it was one of my finest professional accomplishments.
My lifelong passion for meteorology has added to what people call “an amazing life.” I learned from Uncle Ed that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t learn. Two years studying meteorology at Drexel University satisfied a lifelong yearning for knowledge in that field. I’m a bit too old these days to think about a career as a TV weatherman but I love knowing all I do about it. Again, what I call a thirst for knowledge, some people call “amazing.”
Songwriting is taking so much longer than I thought to master. The best way to get better as a writer is to write, which I do every day. My quest might finally be coming to a successful conclusion, but I am cautiously guarded. I’ve had a few false starts in the business, this could be another. And Nashville is a closed and exclusive club. I’m coming at it as an “outsider.”
My philosophy in life remains unchanged in my 71 years – “Sometimes it’s too early, but it’s never too late.” It has taken me on quite a successful and extremely interesting journey.
So, let me celebrate the “amazing lives” of the many friends and acquaintances I have. By succeeding at this crazy thing we call life, you have defined the word “amazing.” God bless you all! I wish you continued happiness, great health and success!
And, above all. Keep on being amazing!