"Ah, to be young again and have the whole world at your feet," I smiled as I read through the list of this year's high school graduates.
"I wouldn't want to go through that again for anything," Uncle Spud said. "Too much turmoil, indecision, and confusion in your life at the age of 18. It's really true that life begins at 40."
"Oh come on now," I chided. "Wouldn't you want to be 18 again and on your way to the top of the world?"
"Not on your life," he insisted. "It took me 60 years to learn the basic lessons of life. I wouldn't want to be 18 again for anything."
"You must be a slow learner if it took you 60 years to learn what life is all about," I teased.
"Some lessons are harder than other lessons," he smiled.
"So what advice do you have for this year's crop of graduating seniors now that you know all the answers?" I asked.
I had asked and he told me as he spouted off numerous pieces of advice all at once.
"Wear good socks," he said. "They make you take your shoes off in airports now to see if you're a shoe bomber."
"That's not advice, that's common sense," I said.
"Okay, how about don't get a nose ring or a facial tattoo if you expect to get a job to make a living," he said.
"Now you're talking."
"Listen to the advice of your parents and go to college. College is hard work but it pays big in the long run. And while you're at college getting a degree, try to get an education too. There is a difference, you know.
"Don't be afraid to make commitments. Life's winners commit themselves to family, important causes, and moral principles.
"Lead a disciplined and moral life to avoid many of the heartaches and miseries that plague our society."
"Love deeply and completely. You might get hurt, but those who have never loved have never lived."
"Be true to yourself. The measure of your character is how you behave when no one is watching.
"Be merciful. A second measure of your character is how you treat those who are weaker than you."
"Chase your dream. It's better to try and fail than live a life of regret for never having had the courage to try."
"Some things are worth fighting for. Be an advocate for peace, but prepared to fight when necessary."
"Never forget that a smile will open more doors than a battering ram."
"Don't be afraid to say you are sorry. And when you tell someone you are sorry, look them in the eye."
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
"Remember that happy times are more often remembered than experienced."
"What goes around comes around. Think carefully before you gossip."
"As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Pick your friends and bad habits carefully."
"Happiness isn't having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you already have."
"Those who trade freedom for security will end up with neither."
"Good luck happens when preparation meets opportunity."
"Be kind to your children. They will be younger and stronger than you someday."
"Happiness is not complete until it's shared. Misery has the same characteristic.
"Those who get most out of life are the ones who give the most."
"Faith in God will do more for you than a boatload of psychiatrists."
"The most unhappy people are those who traded what they wanted most for what they wanted at the moment."
"Trouble and pain are a part of living. Misery is optional."
"Ten-percent of life is determined by what happens to you. Ninety-percent is determined by how you react to what happened to you. You always have a choice."
"Always do the right thing, even when it's the hardest thing to do. God, angels, and your children are watching."
"Remember the words of Mother Teresa. 'If you are humble, nothing can touch you, neither criticism nor praise. For if you are humble, you know who you really are.'"
"Congratulations graduates. I do hope you can achieve the full measure of your potential and make the world a better place for all of us."
And then Uncle Spud ended with "Good luck, and happy trails."