“Pete, what do you think of these colors for the walls? Do you like either of them? I’m thinking the pale gray would be nice ...

“Um, Pete? Hello?”

Anne’s having a “Pete” moment when I drift off during one of our conversations about normal everyday stuff.

It’s not that I’m disinterested in what’s going on, it’s that I can’t believe whatever is going on is going on to a guy named Pete.

Let me give a bit of history.

Back in the day, I never thought about what would become of me 40 or so years on. I worked, I had fun, I had a great circle of friends, and tomorrow was just going to be another day in the life of me.

And yet somehow I ended up being an adult, living here in Geneva, N.Y., and picking out paint colors with Anne.

And it’s awesome.

What led you to here? What turn of events happened that led to you being where you are in life?

It’s the holiday season, and I may be a bit whimsical as I write, but truth be told, we are all here because of moments in life that have been random occurrences. Some of them might even have been viewed at the time as being just truly awful.

I’m here because of a series of events that may be viewed as being negative, but in the end had a very positive effect.

I was fired from my job at GTE Sylvania. That was horrible, because I had no money saved for a rainy day. But if I hadn’t have been fired, I never would have accepted a job tending bar and never would have discovered that I actually loved waiting on people.

Years later, my boss decided to move on professionally and close the business where I was working. That was bad because I had nowhere to go. But it gave me the push to open my own place.

A few more years down the road, I was going broke. That again was very bad because I owed the IRS and sales tax folks and the power company and yada yada yada. But if I hadn’t have been bone broke, I never would have hired this wonderful guy named Crash. He helped me in oh so many ways that I can’t even count.

But because of all of those steps — or missteps — on the stairway of life, I’m sitting here discussing paint colors with Anne.

We all have these stories.

Think about what you’re doing right now and remember that you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing because 10 or 20 or 30 years ago (or longer), something happened that may not have been a pleasant experience at the time.

Most likely there were many of these steps on the stairway of life. Steps that were unpleasant to take. But inevitable nonetheless.

Because of those steps, you’re sitting next to the person you love, in the home you love, and leading the life you live.

I will be remembering this in the upcoming year. That no matter what happens, good or bad, it will be another step on the stairway of my life.

And it’s a good life. My life right here, in Geneva N.Y.

• • •

Happy New Year, everybody. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve last written those words, and I’m hoping to be saying that for many years to come. And to those of you who write to give me a piece of your mind, please, keep ‘em coming. You make my day.


Pete Mitchell’s “In America” column appears every other Monday. He lives in Geneva and can be reached at peteinamerica@yahoo.com.

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