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From the sunny side: Birthdays

To paraphrase the late Mark Twain, "Today marks my 59th escape from the gallows." Age doesn't really bother me as much as it does some. I don't think I was ever vain enough to think my looks were spectacular when I was younger, so losing a bit in that department doesn't seem like losing that much to begin with. Speaking of losing, I am still working on getting into a shape other than round. It seems that will be a work in progress for quite a while. I am making progress on that front, slow as it may be.

Actually, I consider myself quite fortunate to be as healthy as I am, physically. I have friends and acquaintances who have not been as fortunate. I am thankful for all the blessings I have enjoyed over the last 59 trips around the sun.

I remember when I was younger, I would look forward to my birthday with great anticipation. I remember the feeling of getting a new "Hot Wheels" set, or some other great gift. One of the best was when I received a 10-speed bicycle. I think I put about a hundred miles on that bike the first day I had it. It was a "Free Spirit" bike from Sears.

As I have gotten older, birthday gifts are not as big of a deal. Please don't misunderstand, I am grateful for the sentiment behind any gift. I simply find it more and more difficult to think of something I want or need when someone asks, "What do you want for your birthday?" I have found that I think more outside myself these days.

I am honored to be able to head up this year's "Touchdowns Against Cancer" campaign for the Madison County High School Cowboys football team. I was bestowed this honor by a committee of one. I simply saw it as a good cause to put some energy into and took it upon myself, with the blessings of the school administration and Head Coach Mike Coe. The way it works is simple: people make a pledge to help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for every touchdown the Cowboys score during the month of September (Childhood Cancer Awareness Month). Last year we were able to raise just over $1,100 for St. Jude's. I'm hoping to exceed that this year.

I recently saw a picture of little Aubrey. In June of 2017, she was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer. She has been a patient at St. Jude's where she has undergone chemotherapy, radiation therapy and proton therapy. Before cancer, she practiced dance 10 hours a week for her competitive dance team. Aubrey has the kind of smile that could easily melt rocks. If you ask me what I'd like for my birthday, I'll simply say, "I'd like to see Aubrey have the chance to dance again. I'd like you to help me ensure many more birthdays for Aubrey, and for others just like her." You can help. Simply go to www.touchdownsagainstcancer.com and make a pledge. If you are going to any of the Cowboys' home football games, there will be donation buckets located at the concession stands. From the bottom of my aging heart, I thank you.

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