I met George Durr when I moved into our Del
Webb Retirement Community, here in the Nashville, TN area. He was a
retired fire fighter from NY and was a top notch Table Tennis
player. He and I played against each other and many other members of
our Club. Two years ago we both registered for the Tennessee State
Senior Olympics. He won a Gold Medal; I lost in the first
round. Last year he won Gold again and I lost in the second round. Recently George moved back to NY. Shortly thereafter he had a stroke
and soon died…just three weeks ago. Oh, did I mention that I just
turned 70…and George was 93? George served in the Signal Corps
during WW2, although it ended before he deployed. He followed with a
decorated career as a respected fire fighter. Even into his eighties
he was still fighting fires. He played his ‘BACK NINE’
well. When I grow up, I want to be like George.
You know, time has a way of moving quickly and
catching you unaware of the passing years. Although I am not a real
golfer, this ‘BACK NINE’ metaphor still fits quite
nicely. (For those unfamiliar with golf; the ‘BACK NINE’
refers to the last nine holes of an eighteen-hole golf course.) It
seems just yesterday that I was young, been in the Army for two
months, just got married and was embarking on my new career with my
wife in tow. Yet in a way, it seems like eons ago, and I wonder
where all the years went. I know that I lived them all; schools,
training, two tours in Nam, two tours in Germany, one tour with the
Navy (another story!), two baby boys and we traveled all over the
world and the states. I have glimpses of how it was back then and of
all my hopes and dreams.
But, here it is - the ‘BACK NINE’ of
my life and it catches me by surprise. How did I get here so fast?
Where did the years go and where did my youth go? hose young guys I
went through OCS with, in 1966, seem so much more…uh…mature
now. I remember vividly seeing older people through the years and
thinking that those older people were years away from me and that I
was only on the first hole and the ‘BACK NINE’
was so far off that I could not fathom it or imagine fully what it
would be like. When I was 16, I went to an older brother’s thirtieth
birthday party. I remember seriously asking him how it felt to be
But, here it is; my friends are retired and
getting grey…or hairless. They move slower and I see an older person
in the mirror now. Some are in better and some worse shape than me,
but, I see the great change. Not like the ones that I remember who
were young and vibrant, but like me, their age is beginning to show
and we are now those older folks that we used to see and never
thought we'd become. Each day now, just finding the next restroom is
a real target for the day! And taking a nap is not a treat anymore;
it's getting higher on my Bucket List! Because, if I don't nap of my
own free will, I just might fall asleep where I sit!
And so now I enter into this new season of my
life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength
and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never
did! But, at least I know that though I’m on the ‘BACK NINE’
, and I'm not sure how long it will last, that when it's over on
this earth, it's over. A new adventure will begin!
Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I
hadn't done; things I should have done, but indeed there are many
things I'm happy to have done. OCS is one of those things. They all
happened in just this lifetime.
So, if you're not on the 'back nine' yet ...
let me remind you that it will be here faster than you think.
Whatever you would like to accomplish in your life, please do it
quickly! Don't put things off too long! Life goes by quickly. One
day you will realize that the stores are sold out of ROUND
TUITS. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether
you’re on the ‘BACK NINE’ or not! You have no promise that
you will see all the seasons of your life... so live well today and
say all the things that you want your loved ones to remember, and
hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you
have done for them in all the years past!
Psalm 90:12 says, “So
teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
An expression of that wisdom is realizing that "Life" is God’s gift
to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come
after you. Make it a fantastic one, filled with integrity and the
quality of character.
Live it well! Enjoy today! Do something fun! Be
Remember two things:
"It is health that is the real wealth; not
“Life is best measured NOT by the breaths you
take... but by the moments that take your breath away.”
I pray you will experience blessings on your
Max Holt, Class 02-67