Still ‘Having the time of my Life’

Looking at a picture of myself with a “friend” I realize that I’m having the time of my life, one of many “times of my lives.”

My childhood, was one of those times, minus, of course, Jim Crow clowning around a time or two, doing the boogaloo on my hopes and dreams but my family and friends and neighbors flooded me with powerful doses of love that countered such schemes.

And wowing Arizona basketball fans over half a century ago sure bolstered my ego and self esteem. That was quite a time.

Creating positive learning environments for thousands of children in San Diego who kept me young of mind has to rank among my finer times.

Having my beautiful dearly departed Nancy in my life and raising children with her for over thirty years ranks among the best times ever of my 74 years.

The immediate years following when she went away surely was not the best of times and the pain never fully goes away but one has to get up day after day and look at life in fresher ways and ultimately redefine notions like the “time of our lives.”

That being said I’m having the time of my life in that I can still entertain the very idea. I’m having the time of my life just getting up in the morning still fit of body and sound of mind (most of the time).

I mean I’m still around young people, recently writing with them and sharing my love of poetry at the first annual Young Leaders Film Festival at La Jolla Country Day and with the Writing Campers at UCSD and at Palmer Way Elementary in National City – and organizing around issues of peace and justice with them and playing a role in steering them along paths to critical thinking which I can still do I like to think. Such upbeat energy keeps me in the pink.

I’m still traveling and seeing new things; I still get misty eyed when Johnny Mathis sings. I loved the spirit that the Olympics brought to the world for brief moments in the overall scheme of things.

I’m still enjoying a good read every now and then (Pat Conroy’s “South of Broad” was as good a book I’ve run across since I don’t know when) and a good belly laugh. I still love it when we get beyond the inequalities of our nation’s past like gay people gaining more rights and opportunities; I’m watching with glee as they become more free.

On facebook I’ve got 463 friends and a timeline that appears without end and photos that document that I haven’t forgotten how to smile when smiling wasn’t so easy for me for a while.

I’ve been invited to weddings and parties where I’ve gotten my dance on; my kids are involved in various activities and they don’t mind me tagging along.

And I don’t know if I’ve ever had what could be considered good times without a woman involved. In my youth it was my mom. At other times wives and now I must be having the “time of my life” because I’m going around singing “I got a woman way over town that’s good to me,” complete with my head swaying side to side like Ray. Everyday.

My heart has been captured and embraced and it feels grand to this man having someone find the little boy in him who wants to come out and play. I’ll just kick back and relax in such thoughts as that is what one does, as I remember, when one is having the time of his life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Ernie McCray

I was raised in a loving and alive home, in a black neighborhood filled with colorful characters in Tucson, Arizona. Such an environment gave me a hint that life has to be grabbed by the tail as tight as a pimple on a mosquito's butt. With no BS and a whole lot of love. So, from those days to now I get up every morning set on making the world a better place. On my good foot*, and I hope my writing reflects that. *an old black expression


  1. avatar says

    Ernie, you are right on, and describe well, how we can still be having a great time, even as life ages you, wears you down, damn it is still worth living…..happy for you…happy for all of us who can still really enjoy!!!!

  2. avatarAndy Cohen says

    Hey Ernie:

    I’m thinking that you should give lessons on how to enjoy life. You’re pretty amazing guy, and I’m privileged to know you.

  3. avatarDavid Valladolid says

    Brother Ernie: You have earned the time of your life! You have a Treasure with Maria! I certainly agree with your assessment of the beauty of the World Olympics. I had to ask myself, if the world can come together with respect and dignity, why can’t we end global hunger, conflict and war! Keep spreading your positive energy. Be well, David Valladolid

  4. avatarLynda Sterns says

    Ernie, You continue to inspire. When you write I hear a song, see your laughter, remember your smile. You give so much, thank you my dear friend.

  5. avatarShirley Sprinkles says

    Conversely, Maria has a treasure in you, Dear Friend! My very best to you both!

  6. avatarAnnie Lane says

    Ernie, you always seem to write with such careless ease. It’s magical, and I’m so happy you’re willing to share it.

  7. avatarMick says

    There are cars, bicicletas, trains, buses, planes, turn-tables, skateboards, and rocket ships that have your name on ’em because they’re spinning off to places that are for the visionaries and people of action of this world. Whenever I think of you, I have the distinct feeling that Monica and Claire are gonna run in to wake me up one of these mornings and shake me out of my sleep because they were watching their favorite cartoon and there was an emergency announcement that said, “No need to adjust your TV. Things are getting better in the world. We will now return to the regularly scheduled program.” And I’ll know that you succeeded. You and Maria look like you’re bringing that day a little closer. It was a kick to see you at Catfish and share a chuckle about sleeping the first couple minutes into the speaker. And that other guy was looking pretty tired, too.

    • avatarErnie McCray says

      I Hope you get that wake up call from Monica and Claire. The Catfish that day was, indeed, fun.

  8. avatarKelly Mayhew says

    Two of my most favorite people! I love it! This piece put a smile on my face all day yesterday, and I, like you, walked with my head bobbing. You are a beautiful soul, Ernie. Thank you for this.