Even though I'm standing here---and it's all very real---it's still a bit hard to believe that we're all together again, celebrating our 50th reunion. And I'm very grateful that I'm still standing!!!
Looking out at this audience tonight I recall a line Johnny Carson once used when he hosted the Academy Awards. He said "I see a lot of old faces, and I see a lot of new faces on some old faces." I won't name any names, but you know who you are.
Half a century has passed since our class of 1958 graduated from Northside High School. At our last reunion I began by opening with these lines: "It's 2003, I'm 63 and I can still pee."
Well now it's two thousand eight ... I'm 68 ... and I've still got a mate. That mate is my wife Lorry. She's not here, she has no patience for high school reunions ... won't even go to her own. But I'm here ... and I wouldn't miss this one for the world. I told my wife, "But what if I get lucky?" "Well," she said, "don't forget to pack extra Viagra!!"
What a world this has now become. Little did we know that back in those innocent years of the 1950's, lay ahead a world of change. A world of high speed technology that we could not even imagine back then. Science fiction writers were telling tales of space travel ... the Russians gave us Sputnik ... we worried we might be visited by aliens in flying saucers ... oh yes, there was a Purple People Eater, but that was only in song. In 1958 could man go to the moon? It happened in the next decade.
We knew about computers in the 1950's ... there was a big one called UNIVAC ... but we never thought we would have a computer of our own. When we did it was a whole lot smaller than UNIVAC. And we'd be zipping around the Internet and watching silly people do silly things on something called "You-Tube." Viruses back then only gave us colds or the flu. There were no CD's, VCR's or DVD's ... no cell phones or cordless phones. Experts now tell us that at the current rate of technological growth, by the end of this 21st century, we will have made the equivalent of 20 thousand years of progress. One young student of history says---"I wouldn't mind studying current events if there weren't so many of them."
Television was coming on fast when we graduated from Northside High. Gasoline cost 25 cents a gallon and radio ... the medium I started my career in ... was losing steam to that TV beam. So here we are ... all of us in our mid to late 60's ... and wow, have the years flown by. Our kids now have kids and for some those kids are having kids and we're great grandparents. How did it all fly by so fast?
As George Carlin put it in one of his books, "We've built up so much speed that suddenly, we'll be hitting 70!!!" And after that he says "It's a day-by-day thing; you know ... you hit Wednesday!"
"But wait." says Carlin. "Throw out those non-essential numbers." That includes age, weight and height. Let doctors worry about that. Keep as many cheerful friends as you can. The grouches will only pull you down. The tears happen ... but endure ... grieve and move on. And always remember life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
For those of you who missed my speech at our 40th reunion ... let me re-wind to something my ABC colleague Sam Donaldson said when I asked him if he had any advice for all of us. "Just wade right in there ... act a bit goofy if you want---at your age, you're entitled ... you've earned it ... go out with a joke."
So okay---here goes.
There's this guy who meets an older woman at a club. She looks pretty good for a 60-year-old. In fact, she wasn't too bad at all and he found himself thinking that she probably had a really hot daughter. They had a few drinks and snuggled a bit and she asked him if he ever had a "Sportsman's Double"?
"What's that?" he asked.
"It's a mother and daughter threesome," she said.
He quickly embraced the idea ... they drank some more and she says with a wink, "Tonight's your lucky night." He goes back to her place. They walk in ... she puts on the hall light and shouts upstairs----"Mom ...are you still awake?!!!"
Thank you so much everyone ...and let's try to do this again in five years.
As one of my broadcasting idols, Edward R. Murrow, used to say in closing - "Good night and good luck."
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