>I’m 48 today. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my dad when he was that age. I hated him then. I was 17. I think all teenage boys hate their dad when they’re at that age. At least a lot of my guy friends back then hated their dads, their parents.

But 1978 was a good year for him. At first. He was a millionaire… or at least he lived like one. His own portable building business in San Angelo, Texas. We had a very nice home, in a good school district, affluent friends and connections. I was taking Tae Kwon Do lessons… fairly expensive in those days, and rare luxury. Eastern arts weren’t taught much to westerners in the mid 70s.

We had nice clothes, a housekeeper, material things that most didn’t get to enjoy. I don’t remember much about my dad’s business life because back then I didn’t care. A few years earlier my parents parted ways. My mom moved to Irving, Texas. I was closer to her than my father, so I began to withdraw slowly from my dad and brothers.

And my dad played that game that parents do. He got tired of my teenage crap and moved me to Irving with my mom. I got too much for her to handle, my dad moved me back to San Angelo, or Midland, or Waco… where ever he was at the time. I wrote “at first” above. His business and personal life fell apart. I don’t know the real reasons why because he’s a private man. I heard rumors, but didn’t and still don’t care what really happened. We make choices, good and bad.

I’m sure it affected me in ways I’ll never know but I believe I’ve broken much of the Phillip Connell curse in my late 30’s. Yep, took me long enough. Never looked past the end of the day back then.

In a way, I’m just as private as he is. There’s things I’ve accomplished or destroyed that not many will know about. The typical, self-imposed struggles I went through to get here. But some I will publish here:

A wonderful, 25 year career in radio. My dream as an 11-year old boy living behind a radio station in Clovis, New Mexico. I wanted it bad and got to do it. In big markets like Dallas, Fort Worth, New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, and more. I’ve met and got to know many celebrities and wonderful people. I’ve known some wonderful ladies in my life that I’m proud to still be in touch with (well, most of ’em). Even the ones I treated really unfairly somehow forgave me or just “understand me” to still find value in my friendship.

I’ve kept the same career since 2001, in the same town, the same home, with the same woman! If you know me, you HAVE TO KNOW how “not like me” that is… or was. Gave up drinking. Have a few investment accounts, money in the bank. Hell, I even qualify for a new home loan! My wife’s boy from her last marriage has been in the same school district all his life here. I never knew that as a kid. My dad couldn’t stay in one place for very long. My mom said she made 21 major moves during her life with my dad until 1975. I cannot count how many elementary schools I went to in various states. I went to 2 different junior highs in Texas, and FOUR high schools before graduating in Killeen. My younger brothers dropped out in high school.

I sometimes think, “Wow, I may be growing up.” I am finally starting to show my age. I always looked young for my age for some reason. But a few years ago, perhaps with my mom’s death, or the stress of self-employment, change in body metabolism… whatever it is… age is creepin’ in. I’m definitely not the 140 pounds I was up to 1997. More grey than blond now. I had facial hair to appear older, now I’m clean shaven to look younger.

But then again, I still do some things I have always done. Instead of performing on the radio, I perform on stages. And a few indie movies. Here I am recently, shooting a film in a cold warehouse (about 35 degrees), working with kids half my age til 2am, shouting, cursing, waving guns, while my wife is at home nursing our sick kids, while Daddy stays out and plays “bad guy”. How “mature” is that?! And I remember pondering my upcoming birthday that night on the 30 minute drive home, “There’s no way my dad would have done anything like this when he was that age!”

But then, some choices I’ve made, experiences that have happened, HAVE evolved me. I’ve moved from the far LEFT, to slightly right of center… politically speaking. In my youth, nothing was sacred… not the case anymore. Some things make me wince now. I try to watch shows like “Family Guy” and think, “cheap punchline.” South Park floored me when it first came out, now I wonder why it’s still on TV. When “Roseanne” or “Home Improvement” was new on TV, I thought it stupid, now I’ve caught up on every single episode in reruns. An age thing? I hated and still hate Seinfeld, because he was an a–hole to me when I worked at WKMQ in ’92. Course he didn’t need MY approval for his success.

I completely missed my baby girl’s childhood, because I had my head too far up my anus. Tasia Marie loves me in spite of me. She’s a dream daughter. When I tell others about her, they just look at me with that “you wish” look, like I’ve lost reality. Why can’t she can be perfect, I didn’t raise her!? I love her more than she’ll ever know and pray that she doesn’t fall in love with someone like me at her age.

And my bride, Katelynn. I tried it one last time… that dreaded “M word”. Number 3. After almost 20 years of successful divorcehood, will number 3 be “the charm”?. In my teens, 20s, and 30s, I always had the notion that you can’t have both friendship AND sex. If it started one way and went another, BAM… in the crapper. Or vise-versa. I’ll always have intimacy and trust issues I guess. But fate has blessed me with unconditional love in my life with Katelynn, Korey, and Patrick Ray, in spite of my selfish nature. My wife definitely gives more than I do… it’s a relationship country songs are made of. I feel we argue more than most, but it’s engaging and passionate. If I don’t care, then I don’t argue. Wasted energy.

What does my 48th birthday bring? Lots of gratitude and yet more worries. I’m finding myself with more forgotten regrets that must be faced, and moved on from. What a terrible trick nature plays on us. The PAUSE BUTTON in my brain doesn’t work well anymore, and the REWIND / PLAY BUTTON constantly is going off at the most inopportune times. And there’s no such thing as an ERASE button.