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Chuck Brooks: Coulda, woulda, shoulda

Chuck Brooks

When we weren't looking, March crept up on us. It's not that we weren't waiting for it since November, but what with the holidays and the cold and snow that's been occurring since, we were sort of distracted. However, here we are, the weekend when we jump ahead one hour.

Aside from people feeling cheated out of precious sleeping time, I don't really hear anyone complaining about the fact Sunday night, we'll see daylight after 7 p.m. and that's got to be good news to most!

As opposed to going forward in time, this week I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of going back in time, if we had the chance. More plainly stated, if I had the chance to live my life again, what would I do? We can call this week the "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" column.

This is not about regrets. We all have those, but this is more about hindsight. Had we only known what we know now.

For example, had I known baseball would become my No. 1 sports' passion, I might have tried it myself in high school. Frankly, I wish I had. I shoulda tried tennis, too. I was in Triple AAA baseball when I was younger, but the sport scared me. I felt like I was an absolute no-talent, and the ball coming in my direction scared me.

I was playing third base for one game and someone on the opposing team hit it right at me. I blocked it from hitting my face with my glove only to catch it by accident. I was a freakin' hero to guys on my team. I was, however, just glad to be alive. I liked the team shirt, though. We were the Bears. Funny stuff.

Another coulda, woulda, shoulda is I wish I had taken learning to play the piano more seriously. God only knows my mother pressed hard enough, but unlike my brother, I just didn't want to practice. I also relied on my ability to play by ear. I could hear a piece of music and work out a sufficient tune to please the masses. Not necessarily the nun teaching me piano or the older lady teaching me the organ, though. When called upon to play for Sunday church, I fooled many a people. I still play around with a keyboard I own, but I wish I woulda taken it more seriously.

Along those lines, I wish I woulda learned the guitar. Or, more specifically, the banjo. And I know I still have time, but I had a lot more time years ago!

My friend is learning the ukulele through a community class offering in her community. If I could find something like that, I believe I'd jump at the chance, and I wouldn't even blink at buying a brand new ukulele. She's having a lot of fun, and she's shown off her progress to a couple of us several times. I'm jealous.

I coulda and I shoulda been much less concerned with how I would look when seeking answers to questions over the years. Ignorance was bliss but not always.

When I began teaching, I heard people talk about pursuing their master's degree. I really had no knowledge about why I'd care to do so. I waited so many years before a few friends wondered why I wasn't pursuing it so I could see a healthier paycheck.

I confessed I didn't really have any idea what I needed to do. They turned in me a direction that would take me to an ultimate master's degree in two-plus years and I never looked back.

The same was true about a 403B. I waited far too long to really inquire as to what the heck a 403B actually was. I guess I didn't want people to truly know how ignorant I was about life's ways. I could spell and write and I knew how to use a microphone. I thought I had reached the top. Hehe.

If you accept those two items, then you'll accept my next coulda, woulda, shoulda in that I wish I had been smarter with money. Had I been, I'd have a place up north today like so many of my friends. I was not. I was downright stupid. So, in my next life, stupidity begone!

If someone would have given me a crystal ball and said, "Look. That's you. In 2018," I woulda (I think) been more concerned with riding a bike and walking and sweating a little more. A person finds a rut, they get stuck in it without any knowledge they're in one, and then, before they know it, they're old and saying, "I coulda, woulda, shoulda!" It's spring soon. I can still ride the bike and walk at the zoo. They're on my agenda and I can do them without any assistance.

Finally, 33 years ago our mother passed on the morning of March 7. When I last saw her a couple of weeks before she passed, she was in a comatose-like state, and I knew I wouldn't see here alive again. I coulda, I woulda, and I shoulda told her I loved her. I was too emotional to say anything as I left.

This week's column is for you, Mom. I love you. See the rest of you next week.