It’s 1966 and it’s gonna be a heck of a year, son. The space race is capturing the country’s attention. On New Year’s Eve, the Dow Jones will close at 785. President Johnson will create the Transportation Department, and radical women will wear something they call a “mini-skirt.”
And you, my good little friend, will begin walking the path. You’ll be as cute as the Dickens you little son of a gun.
I want to share some things with you about the next 10 years. Just a little simple advice to help you get along and make the most of things.
Most of all I want you to know this will be a sweet, sweet time. You’re going to have a wonderful childhood and you’ll be so fortunate to have two parents who love you, probably more than anything. They are a typical young couple who will struggle through all the things young couples do, but they will never leave or forsake you. You are starting the path on good footing with them.
BTW, your parents are really good-looking people. You won’t realize that for a long time, but they are really quite handsome.
Your Granny is a special lady. Let her hug you and pat you on the bottom just as much as she wants. If she wants to do it a dozen times a day, hold your tongue and let it be so. She is the finest of people, and her compassionate example will serve you well.
Savor the Fourth of July picnics. Eat the watermelon slowly, tasting every sweet drop.
As you play outside late in the evening, watch the beautiful sun set on the horizon of the St. Francis River and soak it all in for a few moments. You’re daddy will have you spending a lot of time on that river. We’ll talk about that next time.
Play in the snow, and stop and listen how quiet things become when it blankets the Delta countryside. In all your life to come, you’ll never hear a quieter quiet.
Your little hometown school will be just wonderful. So many teachers there will take your education personally. You will love every single one of them, and have a crush on one or two. It’s okay, they’ll know it and think it’s cute. Go with it.
Hunt the Easter eggs and laugh and giggle. Let your mom dress you in whatever “outfit” she likes. She just wants you to look pretty for all the other people in church.
You’re not going to have any brothers or sisters. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but know you’re going to spend a lot of time alone the next 10 years because you’ll also grow up on a rural farm. Those two things will shape much about you, Stevie. You’ll be independent, and later in life it will evolve to a certain eclectic quality. You’re going to do things like read encyclopedias to pass the time. Go with that, too. Be curious. Learn.
You’ll have so many wonderful, sweet, old-lady babysitters during this time. Every single one of them will love you like their own. They will always be a part of your life.
You will be one of the luckiest little kids in the world, little Stevie. If you can, from time to time, just stop and look around and look at all the things everyone is doing for you. Every child should be so blessed.
The next 10 may not be this easy. Okay, they won’t. I’ll write you about all that garbage later. Let’s not worry about it yet. Enjoy.
Happy Birthday, Steve. Here we go, buddy.
Your good friend,