Celebrate or ridicule? Tough call


There are certain moments in life that can excite even the hardest of hearts. Even the most cynical sort can find joy in the anticipation of the birth of a child, or a wedding day or that last day of work before reaching the point of retirement. See, as much as life can sometimes bring us all down, those special times can at least momentarily make everything seem right in the world. And, for me, that day is soon upon us.

Andy Lyons turns 50 next Wednesday.

Oh, this is a day to celebrate. See, Andy and I have a lot in common. We’re both sporting rather smooth heads, we have the same birthday and we share husband duties with Susan Lyons — I have the Monday through Friday day shift, and Andy takes nights and weekends. The biggest difference between us, apart from the obvious height disparity, is that I’m not turning 50 on Wednesday.

’Tis indeed a glorious day.

My only problem right now is that I don’t see this as bothering Andy in the slightest. For those of you who know him well, it’s obvious that Andy doesn’t get upset by a whole lot of things, and he pretty much embraces whatever comes his way. For those of you who don’t know Andy, well, um, he doesn’t get upset by a whole lot of things, and he pretty much embraces whatever comes his way.

Yup. I’m a writer. That’s why I make the big bucks. It takes a whole lot of training to be able to paint yourself into a corner so much in one single paragraph that you find yourself having to repeat what you just wrote with the slightest hope of salvaging any kind of desperate chance of making a point by ...

But I digress.

Where were we? Right ... Andy Lyons. A part of me wants to dedicate this piece to Andy as a kind of homage to his life. You know, I’d rant about what a great first 50 years it’s been for Andy, with his loving wife, three kids who have turned out great and the impressive collection of friends he has compiled over the years that believes Andy is one of the kindest, funniest, smartest men they’ve ever met. But that would be too easy, right?

Or, I guess I could take the other route and just attack Andy over this — for instance, joke about how he might need an air pump to assist him in blowing out his candles this year, or how he now has more grandkids than hair follicles, or ridicule the way he has to have someone hold a book on the other side of the room so he can read it.

But, nah, that wouldn’t be right, either. So, what’s a guy to do here? So many directions to go, and no certainty as to which road to take. It’s a pickle. When in doubt, my old mentor John Lovas used to tell me, write what you know. So, I figured I’d just go ahead and make it personal.

Thank you, Andy.

Thank you for being a great friend. You’ve made the extra effort to participate with me in any single event that was important to me, and you’ve always taken the time to run in to my office just to say hello when you dropped in to talk to Susan about something. Sometimes, particularly on deadline, I might seem rushed, but know that it always means something to me when you do it.

Thank you for allowing me into your home, over and over and over again. When we were first starting this paper, we had a joke going that you and Susan adopted me since I was always in your home. You’ve always made me feel welcome, and I’ve always been grateful for that.

Thank you for your patience regarding how much time Susan has to spend in the office. We live here, and it’s tough on families, but you’ve always accepted the sacrifice required, and that patience was vital in us getting this thing off the ground.

Thank you for your optimistic outlook on life. There have been times where I’ve felt pretty beat down in life, and you’ve always cheered me up with a quick smile or an insightful observation. Again, that’s a tough one to ever repay.

Thank you for being older that me. I mean, much, much older than me. I’ve gotten to the age where I don’t look forward to birthdays anymore, but I always get a little lift knowing that you’re suffering that much worse every Aug. 8.

Thank you for not holding a grudge over any shots taken in this space. I mean, a lesser man would be filing away all this stuff and anticipating my big birthdays coming down the pike. Not you, Andy. You’re a much bigger man than that.

Right, buddy?

Anyway, happy birthday, Andy. Your first 50 have had an impact on more lives than you can imagine, and I look forward to seeing all you do over the next 50.