James Jones Column: A birthday reflection

Published 4:27 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Ive reached another birthday on Wednesday, my 54th.

I don’t mind telling people my age. I’ve lived through seven decades, starting with the last few months of 1969.

Since I often work on my birthday, I usually pick another day to celebrate, usually with a steak dinner accompanied by a Caesar Salad and loaded Baked Potato. It’s been my birthday meal for years.

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For me, getting old comes with the good and the bad.

The good: I’ve found things that interest me outside The Selma Times-Journal off the clock.

Since returning to Alabama five years ago, I’ve attended countless Crimson Tide football games during that span.  It’s always nice to see something you’ve got a historical footnote to – meeting legendary coach Bear Bryant and Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Namath and Ken Stabler more than once.

When football season is over, I pursue other writing ventures and travel around the country, particularly during the summer.

I’ve also found a person, whom I want to spend the rest of my life with. I’m excited to see what direction that goes.

The bad: I feel out of place when it comes to certain things.

First, let’s start with parenting. At certain meetings and sporting events, I’ve seen how disrespectful kids are to their parents. I’ve overheard kids talk back to them both on the phone and face-to-face.

My mother and grandmother always knew where I’d be, especially after school. Even at the last minute, I always found a way to let them know. I continued this process as a parent, taking no shortcuts.

The opportunity will come to them as parents someday. Whether I’ll be here to see it or not is debatable.

Second is the music. I’ve had this complaint since my Stillman College days over the lack of original music.  I attest sampling, a process where a music artist takes the beat from an old song and either sings or raps over it. I always prefer the original song, whether it’s rap or a love ballad.

One of the best moments of rejecting a sampled song came before a basketball game at Keith High School a few years ago.

When Beyonce’s remake of a Classic R&B song by the group Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly, “Before I let you go,” was played by a Disc Jockey, the crowd sat silent. Once the original song aired, the crowd exploded into joy.  Even the kids cheered the original and my evening was made.

By midnight, another birthday will be gone. I’ll be counting down the days to number 55.