It’s hard to believe that I was born on this day, sixty-seven years ago. With everything that life has thrown at me since that day way back in nineteen forty-eight, it’s a wonder I’m still alive to tell the following tale.
When I was about ten months old, I had my first encounter with danger. Fortunately for me, when they realised I was missing from my pram, my parents searched the garden and eventually found me hanging in midair above the cold dark waters of the garden pond. All that was between me and death was a bit of barbed wire which had dug itself into the fleshy pad directly below my left thumb. Dad had put the wire up once I started crawling. Maybe that episode accounts for my later adventurous nature – who knows? I’ve still got the arrowhead shaped scar on my left hand. Mum said I wasn’t crying. Apparently I was just hanging there with not a care in the world.
Then when I was five I was almost drowned yet again when a large Pike dug its teeth into one of my legs and began trying to drag me into deep water, when I was collecting frogspawn in the shallows of another pond on the farm to put in a jam jar. Fortunately I had mum’s small garden fork with me. I forget why. It was a long time ago. But it’s a good job I had taken it with me. Repeatedly stabbing the monster fish with it, made it let go of my leg. Those future tadpoles were hard won I can tell you.
In the nineteen-sixties came military service during the Vietnam war, where I was badly wounded, not once but twice.The next thing that hit me between the eyes was when I lost my beautiful Mai and our four month old son John, when the suburb where we lived in northern Saigon, was wiped off the face of the Earth, thanks to friendly fire, while I was up country on patrol.
A few years later came the first of three mental break downs, followed by being thrown on the employment scrapheap when I was fifty-five, and as a result, being made homeless; meaning I was forced to sleep rough for several months. As if all of that wasn’t enough I also suffer from skin cancer, a legacy of living beneath the hole in the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere for forty-two years. Its a wonder I’m still here, and yet I am.
Given all of that, is it any wonder I resorted to my first love, books, to console myself, which led me to write my own and much later, to blog? The written word has become everything to me, no matter whether or not my books are read. Fortunately for me they are.
As for why I’m still here – I’m a stubborn cuss. I’ve had to be. Anyone with a weaker disposition would have given up the ghost years ago. Not me. Now all I have to do is survive the next three years to reach my seventieth birthday.