The minutes in one’s life slip by so quickly and sometimes we foolishly urge them to fly by even faster. When one calculates how many minutes have elapsed since events important to us occurred, one is forced to wonder if they have been spent wisely. When I think of the minutes I spent in bed as a teenager some weekends, I wish they were available again so I could use them in a better way.
I was born in Portsmouth, England forty-two million, forty-eight thousand minutes ago from the moment I started this memoir. When I was two and three years old, I spent many a night in an air raid shelter in our back garden in the company of my mother and our next-door neighbors, wondering from minute to minute if the bombs intended for the naval dockyard would hit us instead. For some families in our neighborhood, those were their final minutes.
I started school at age five and could already read well. My mother gave me my first book titled Christopher Robin Verses when I was four years or two million, one hundred and four thousand minutes old. I had spent those two million minutes learning to eat, speaking baby babble later followed by more advanced babble, walking, running, reading and writing.
A week after Victory in Europe Day, we had a wonderful party at the school. The tables were spread with all kinds of goodies, some of which we kids had never seen before. The boy sitting opposite me licked his index finger and stuck it in a cream cake to claim it for himself. I didn’t like the taste of the tea in my mug and commented on it to the girl sitting next to me. Many years later, I suspected that evaporated milk had probably been the cause of the unpleasant taste but, at the time, the girl next to me explained, very seriously, that the woman making the tea had added dragon’s blood to it and that’s what had given it the strange flavor. I accepted this explanation completely. In school next day, we were all asked to write an essay—or a composition as they called it then—describing the party. Apparently, I did a good job because my essay was read to the entire school. To my embarrassment, several teachers assured me I would be a great scholar. How I wish that had come to pass! That embarrassment occurred thirty-eight million, six hundred thousand minutes ago.
Upon graduating from college in London, I purchased my first car, a green Austin Healey Sprite coupe. That was thirty million minutes ago. Soon after, I started working for a multi-national manufacturing corporation in Wales, where I met by wife. We were married just over 29 million minutes ago and I must say that I cannot imagine how I could have spent those minutes with more care and attention lovingly bestowed on me. During those millions of minutes we raised a boy and a girl who have matured as two delightfully kind and loving specimens of humanity.
Eventually, I retired from my lifetime manufacturing employer, after a career of nineteen million, four hundred and forty-seven thousand minutes. That happened exactly ten and a half million minutes ago and I’ve spent those minutes enjoying the location, weather, amenities, and inhabitants of southern Arizona. The big question now remaining is, “Will I live for enough additional minutes to finish writing my autobiography, and to let everyone know how much I’ve appreciated their kindness, love, and friendship?”
It took only ten minutes to write this brief memoir and it takes no more than a minute to have a really wonderful idea or to fall in love. Do not readily accept someone telling you to, “Wait a minute” because every minute is precious.