There are a lot of things in my life that I wish I had done and not a few that I wish I hadn’t done. Those are really regrets. They are more like “damn that was stupid”.
No, a true regret is something else. Something powerful, something that nags at you, something that, you feel, would have fundamentally changed your life (hopefully for the better).
I only have two regrets. The first is moderately selfish. The second is the truly saddest thing that I feel, whenever I am reminded of it.
The first is simply, I almost owned a shipyard. My grandfather was the co-owner of the Gulfport Shipyard in Port Arthur, TX. I never got to see because it was torn down when I was very young. You see, my father is an idiot. My grandfather, who adopted my dad, had a Master’s degree in Naval Architecture from Rice University in Houston. He designed and built ships. Mainly tugboats and barges.
The shipyard was quite the going concern in the 50s and 60s. They had plenty of work. But my dad would never be able to run it. He would have been a competent employee, even a decent shift manager, but never a boss or a designer. My grandfather was too old to let me grow up and take it. So he sold it. Within five years, it was nothing but a bare spot on the Intercoastal Canal.
With some motivation, I think I could have become a naval architect. That would have given me a nicely creative outlet. I think that I could have made a real go at it. We’ll never know.
The second regret is very simple. My other grandfather, the one who effectively raised me, died before he could meet his great-grandchild.
I’m not nearly as good a man as my grandfather. He was an unbelievable human being. There was nothing he could not fix. At the age of 85, he and I took a hacksaw to a computer and managed to get it working the way we wanted it to. He could build anything. He drove a 1967 Mustang convertible from about 1988 to when he died in 2002. He was a clothes horse and was dressed impeccably. He read constantly and knew so much about everything.
Not only that, but he helped. He took a class in college algebra from the local community college so he could help me with algebra II in high school. He showed me how to fix things, not just fix them for me.
Every night I think, hope, that I can live up to the standard for being a parent that he set. I know I will fail, almost daily, but I try (mostly).
Most of all, I wish that he could have seen his great-grandchild. The little guy is SO much like him, it’s not even funny. He’s four and already playing with big-boy LEGOs, building his own version of an Imperial Shuttle. He picks out his clothes every morning and they are usually color coordinated. It’s like looking at a tiny little version of my granddad.
Well, that’s it for this one.