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Times have changed since '63
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I was out the other day walking my dogs and watching a beautiful sunset in good ole' Social Circle. It occurred to me, as they were walking me, that I was huffing and puffing more than usual. Then it hit me. I finally realized that I am now 61 years old. A fact that I have kept suppressed for years.

Studies will now tell you that being 60-plus in today's world means you really are 50-plus.

There is some truth to that. My mind has convinced itself that it's 30-plus. No matter what anyone tells you, no one is going to convince your 60-year-old body that it is younger than it is.

I thought, as that sun was setting far into the west, of the changes that have occurred in my lifetime - technology especially.

Who would have thought while reading Dick Tracey as a youngster that his magic watch, on which he communicated, would be more than a reality, today? Heck, 61 years ago if you even had a telephone, it was probably part of a party line, in which every neighbor had access to your most private conversations.

I was born in Washington, D.C., but when I was 5, my parents moved to the country - outside of Annapolis, Md. At age 11, I walked half way across Washington D.C., by myself, from one relative's house to another. In Maryland, I lived about a mile down a dirt road surrounded by woods and the Chesapeake Bay. In the summer, I would leave the house in the morning and crab, fish and play all day without reporting home until late in the evening.

My parents never worried about some pervert grabbing me. I surely wouldn't let my 12-year-old granddaughter go to the mall by herself let alone do any of the things I did.

In Annapolis, I attended parochial schools and served as an altar boy. Never once was I ever molested by a priest or a nun. I did get punished very severely one time though, as I was caught sipping the blessed wine between masses.

I remember in high school if you held hands with a girl by the third date and maybe kissed her on the fourth or fifth date you were hot. After you told all of your buddies about your exploits, mostly made up, that poor girl was considered loose.

We used to go to dances on Friday night. The chaperones didn't worry about booze or drugs; they just worried if you were dancing too close.

Then on a November day in 1963, the world changed for us baby boomers when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Our naivety came to a crashing halt.

Over the next couple of years, the whole culture changed. We went from simplistic love songs like "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "Moon River" to the loudest and most vicious of songs about hate and distrust. Our movies changed from the simple "Sound of Music" to violent movies such as "Straw Dogs".

I saw people burn our flag and spit on our soldiers returning from Vietnam. I saw people killed and treated with disrespect because their skin was a different color than mine

Yes, we were changed on that tragic day in 1963. If you will look at life as a giant pendulum, just imagine that the point of that pendulum instantly went from one side to the other never lingering in the middle and to this day as stayed that way.

As I look back on my life, I realize that I have had the best of all lives as a newspaper publisher. I get to play at politics without ever having to run for office. I have lunched and dined with mayors, governors and even vice presidents. I've sailed the Caribbean and West Indies, and I've sat in owner's boxes at more than one ballpark. I have had the opportunity to mold and change people's opinions. In short, I've tasted the sweet wine of life.

I still believe in Peter Pan.

I've been to the bottom of life and back again to the top. I was once a liberal Democrat, and now am what I would call a Churchill Republican. I tear up when the flag passes, and I still believe we have the best country in the world. I believe my family is the most beautiful and loving of all families.

I actually cried like a baby and had my little Scottie dog cremated when she died recently. I've come back home to my church, and I look forward to having a cocktail or two with my wife as we sit and actually talk about the events of the day and the happenings of our family. We keep a running account of whose side of the family is the nuttiest, or as they say today DYSFUNCTIONAL at any given moment. My biggest regret is that I still don't know how to use TiVo or do much more with my computer than type. But with my '30s in mind I'm trying hard to improve.

In spite of what's going on in the world right now and in spite of the fact that we haven't recovered from 1963, I am glad I'm a baby boomer. I finally accept that all things will be handled by the good lord - when and how it is to happen. Until then, I plan to spend the rest of my life enjoying a multitude of Blessings.

Now if I could only find Tinkerbell.

T. Pat Cavanaugh is the general manager of The Covington News. He can be reached at pcavanaugh@covne