Many years ago, when I was just a wee nipper growing up on the 400 block of North Michigan Avenue in Bradley, Illinois, there was a very wise man who lived down the street from us named Ferdinand Lobomowicz. He was a very intelligent man, and all of us children looked up to him; he was the only man any of us knew who we believed might actually be smarter than our fathers. Which, in my case at least, was quite the admission.

One day I was playing in the front yard with my two younger brothers when Ferdinand came strolling by on his daily trip to Kaveney’s Store for a bottle of Grapette and a bag full of penny candy. Waving hello, he came up and put his arm around my shoulder. Had it been anyone else this would have frightened the bejabbers out of me and would have sent my brothers racing into the house to rouse my mother to take action. But because it was Ferdinand and he was so beloved by everyone on the block, nobody gave it a second thought.

"Johnny, me bucko," he said in that deep, authoritative voice we had all come to know so well, "I'm getting older and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. You never know what tomorrow brings, and I’d hate to take my leave of my friends without having had the chance to share with them everything I think they might need to help them as they make their own journey through this adventure we call life. So right now, while we have the opportunity, I’d like to take a moment to impart to you three pieces of advice me sainted father shared with me when I was about your age.  Things you should always carry with you for the remainder of your days." 

My heart jumped and I glowed with expectation. I was going to learn the secret to a rich, full life from a man whom I considered to be the master himself. And he sat me down on a milkcan, and told me those three things. 

Now that I’m reached a stage in life when I’m reasonably sure that my yesterdays outnumber my tomorrows, I'd like to be able to leave you now with those same thoughts. 

I regret that I've forgotten what they were...