When I was ten years old and in for an annual school physical, a nice, attentive, Japanese doctor in Seattle (where my family lived at the time) noticed a murmur when listening to my heart.
It turned out that I had a hole about the size of a half dollar coin that was making my heart pump three times harder than normal. If nothing had been done about it, they said that I would probably not live to see my 20th birthday.
The only pediatric heart surgeon in the country in 1971, Dr. Savage, happened to be a neighbor and happened to practice in Seattle and operated on me. It cost my parents the $50/month in group health insurance that they were already paying for the family.
Had it not been for this harmonic convergence in the cosmos, here is what I would have missed:
-- graduating from college
-- being a spy in Washington D.C., my first "real" job
-- spending a year in France, where I ate well, learned a lot, and made the acquaintance of my dearest, oldest friend, Jayne
-- teaching English to so many wonderful, interesting students from around the world in Europe and the US
-- the welcoming into the world of my four, beautiful girls who are turning out to be amazing women
-- enjoying marriage to a good and loving man
-- bringing new life to an old farm and enjoying the fruits of my labors
-- coming to realize that with age comes peace, wisdom, and happiness
So, it is with absolutely no embarrassment whatsoever that I admit that I have reached the half century mark...two and a half times what I was initially allotted.
With a little luck, I may get another 50.