The Big 50 Today!

Brad Cake 50a

This photo was taken the night before at McDonalds prior to sharing it with the co-workers.


Well, today is the day.  I am 1/2 century old.  It’s hard not to step back just a bit and think about some ancient history.

Spock Birthday

Spock would be quick to point out the misuse of grammar.  It should say “Fascinating, you’re how old?”

Fifty is not THAT old but I remember the Watergate scandal, Nixon’s resignation, Bill Gates’ rise to fame, Reagan getting shot, the first Superman movie, John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”, our family’s first color TV, our first car with air conditioning, power brakes, and an automatic transmission.

School lunch food was actually tasty.  Back then we used leaded gasoline in cars, were told not to eat snow due to nuclear testing, and knew where the school bomb shelters were located. Cars were big and powerful.  Health insurance was free.  Pop came in glass bottles – for a dime!  And, of course, I remember every Star Trek movie that came out.  Sadly, the kids of today will never know what it means to “catch your tit in the wringer” but I recall Mom cursing at the old Maytag washer as her fingers got pinched in the rollers!

Times sure have changed!

Turning 50 is one of those occasions when a person stops and reflects a little bit about the sad times, too.  In the last few years, diabetic buddies Daryl (age 43), Sean (age 43), Wilfried (age 55) and Kevin (age 45) have preceded me in death.  All of these early mortalities were related to diabetes… and my own departure will likely be similar one day.  Every day matters!

Birthday Make it SoTo that extent, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way… (in no particular order)

Spread happiness.  Don’t look back – move forward.  Love God and be thankful for what He has given us.  Be kind to animal companions because they are adopted family members…  Live with fewer possessions.  Have a bad habit or two… (Drinking Diet Coke and fishing a lot are mine).  Heck, life is too short not to enjoy it every day!

On a more serious note, one of the biggest lessons learned so far is not to waste any time because you don’t know when the grim reaper will pay a visit.  Paul B, a school friend’s earthly dad, worked hard all his life and bought an RV.  Just weeks after retiring, he suddenly passed away before the first outing.  His wife died shortly after that.  What a shame!  Mr. B never got to enjoy retirement although he was a shining example of what a family man should be.

My point is this… It is never too early to enjoy the outdoors… but it can be too late.

Jetson Star Trek

Don’t spend too much time in the sitting position! 😀

Monday (today) will be spent working in the Sporting Goods department at Wally World – something I really love doing.

When the work day ends at 4:30, the van is packed with a few items and it’s off to… heck, I don’t even know where yet.  But it will be a fun end to a special day.

“Let’s go see what’s out there…..  Engage!” —  Captain Jean Luc Picard in the Star Trek – The Next Generation, episode “Encounter at Farpoint”

It sounds like a good idea.

Thank you for visiting today.  Take care!  Happy and safe travels!

Bradford, Jesse James, and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

14 Responses to The Big 50 Today!

  1. Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday Brad. 50 is GOOD! I just turned 57 on October 30th, and I celebrate every one of my years. Sounds like you’re living the life, free and easy. Have a great day. I hope it’s filled with everything you love! Your friend in Oshawa, Canada.

  2. John Abert says:

    Happy Birthday, Brad!

  3. Sunday says:

    Happy birthday and God bless you today and everyday!!!
    Your post today is right on… are wise and have your head on straight. I would say you have learned well during your 50 years!!! This is no small compliment as many have not!
    Keep looking up

  4. my_vantasy says:

    Happy birthday to you! What a fabulous cake! I love your Life Lessons and agree with you 100%. Enjoy your outing. You didn’t mention any Kitty friends, so I’m guessing this is a solo trip. Have fun and welcome to your Golden Years.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Good evening… It was a short trip. I had a fantastic dinner at the supper club 15 minutes from here, then realized that the CPAP mask was left at home! Oh well, I guess being forgetful is part of the golden years. There’s time later this week to go for an overnight trip. It’s kind of nice being home tonight to hold the four footed pals. Thanks for the kind thoughts!

  5. shadowmoss says:

    Hippo Birdy two Ewes! Speaking of remembering stuff, remember that old card? Shoebox greetings maybe?

    I’m 11 years ahead of you, and I could stand to put a log of your list into action myself.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks for the kind wishes. I love the Shoebox Greetings cards. That and the Maxine stuff. (Mom looked like Maxine’s double). It was a decent birthday. Sis will be here in a few days and we’re going to do some trout fishing and visiting the Decorah area. Just working on the itinerary. Have a great one!

  6. Meg says:

    Happy Birthday, Brad – you youngster 🙂 (I’ve got 12 years on you – see, it’s all in your point of view!)

    Enjoy your celebrations, and make sure to include the furbabies.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Meg. It really is all in a person’s point of view, that’s so true. The kitties are doing pretty well with the celebrations. Between the two of them they ate the meat of a whole fried trout. (and wasted the catfood) Take care!

  7. Pleinguy says:

    Happy birthday Brad. You are now officially an “old man”! Fishing and those cats will keep you young at heart though. Hope you have many more years to enjoy.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks David! I hope to enjoy every day no matter how much time is left. With a little luck, I might be camping on Wednesday night. 😀 Thanks for the note!