Both my father and Burt Reynolds were born in 1936. I was first introduced to Burt in the movie Deliverance set in Savannah Georgia, my home state. I was 11. It was a traumatic couple of hours and to this day, I’m not a fan of white water rafting.
I was then introduced to Clint Eastwood in the movie Magnum Force set in San Fransisco. I was 13. I discovered my love for violence was non-existent, but that Clint got things done, that were necessary. I spent time in San Fransisco over forty years later, walking the streets and visiting the same locations the movie was filmed.
Both Burt and Clint were let go from the series Rawhide the same day. My father and I both lost our jobs at various times in our careers. We continued on, pursing our interests, enjoying life and doing fun stuff.
A few days before my father died we watched a Clint Eastwood movie together. It was a fitting couple of hours and was a comedy, Kelly’s Heroes. We laughed and enjoyed the moments, unconditionally and together. It was cold out, but we were warm.
The news of Burt heading into the sunset this morning reminds me how life ticks by and how our clocks continue to stop, one by one. I will forever think of my father when I see one of Clint’s or Burt’s movies and smile and feel joy in knowing them, because in the thick of it all, each of them, myself included loved and love life. They did what they wanted and were curious about. They did fun stuff.
Both Clint and I are still kicking around. I had the opportunity to trim Palm trees at an estate on Maui that was owned by Clint. My father would have loved to have heard this, and I smile in knowing that.
When it comes right down to the wire, our journey through life is about loving, smiling and joy, an occasional white water rafting trip, some handgun fire and a one liner, or when possible, stealing a boat load of gold from the enemy before completing your tour of duty.