I awoke this morning and began the celebration of my 66th birthday. As I approached this date I had mixed feeling about it. But, this morning as I jumped from bed to begin the day’s activities, I definitely felt that I have been blessed. I was born 2 months after the start of WWII. About the only thing I remember about the war, was that Uncle Brady (Dad’s brother) was missing (1945) and everyone feared that he was either dead or captured by the enemy. He was a POW and returned home in 1946, to the relief of all.
I was old enough to serve in Vietnam, but opted to be discharged from the US Air Force in 1963 after serving 4 years. Vietnam was just cranking up back then, but I suspected that it would turn into a major conflict for us. The only regret I have is that our government chose to engage in that needless conflict.
There have been many personal tragedies in my life. The biggest were the loss of Dad (1986) and Mom (1988). I am the same age as Mom when she died. There have been the loss of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends over the years and they all took their toll on my sense of well being. My divorce in 1996 left an indelible scar.
There has also been a lot of happiness: My first marriage, the birth of my two children, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. My marriage to Jerilyn has brought untold happiness into my life. My work life was rewarding and my only regret is that I stopped my college education after 1 ½ years. Of course, retirement led to a major spurt in the happiness cycle.
And so, here I sit, pondering the life that has led me to this point. Would I change anything? Of course, we all would if we could. I think my biggest effort would revolve around being a better person, spending more time with those important to me and being a better listener and friend.
I still try to think of three things that made me happy during the course of my day, just before I drop off to sleep at night. This has worked for me (wards off nightmares and restless sleep) and I expect to continue it. It is always so easy to list three things and difficult to keep from listing more.
“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” …John Burroughs
To all of you that read my incessant e-mails, thank you for taking the time to do so.
I will celebrate my 67th birthday (1/30/1941) and it is so very hard for me to grasp the fact that I am that old. As a young man, I never thought of myself as ever being a senior citizen, a nice way of saying “old person”, as if it were an affliction. I’m still in fairly good shape, I can run the 5 mile Noland Trail in 59 minutes, I can still lift, pull and squeeze whatever needs those things. My brain still seems to be fairly well intact, with the occasional forgetfulness, and I still remember names, faces and lots of unnecessary facts. As an “Old Guy”, I find that I most enjoy communicating with my friends (you), traveling and puttering around the yard. My Audio Books are still a source of entertainment (approaching 300 books so far) and visits with family & friends always make me happy. I read once that life is a lot of unhappiness with some happiness sprinkled in. I prefer to think the opposite is true. Ahhh, the power of positive thinking.
My PC has been sorta cantankerous lately. One morning I woke up and found that I had lost my internet connection due to a corrupted file. An examination of the files involved solved that problem, then I discover that one of my CD drives was missing. A system restore solved that problem. It’s a good thing I approach my PC as if playing a chess game with every problem a chess move by my opponent, requiring an appropriate move by me. Of course this game ceases when I no longer find it fun.
Jerilyn and I have been attending her grandson’s (Brandon) rec basketball games. He is a short lad, but loves the game. He has become quite good and his team is so much better when he plays (everybody has to share the bench except the coach’s son). Although he is not my grandson, I enjoy watching him play and being around him. Regrettably, I see very little of my grandchildren. Robin lives in Trenton, TN, Christine lives in Knoxville, TN and my youngest, Chelsea, lives in Dyer, TN. It is so hard to stay close when you live so far apart.
I am still involved with the effort of converting all our VHS home movies to a digital format and putting them on a DVD. The tapes go back to 1985 and include Mom & Dad and a lot of family members. I plan on giving each family on the tape a copy. I am trying to figure out a way to include only the family of the person who receives the tape. That solution still eludes me. As most of you know, I enjoy taking photos. I have a website now that lets me store all my pics and make them accessible to my friends. This is the site: http://bipolar66.smugmug.com/ . I hope you enjoy viewing them. My username is bipolar66. I say this so you won’t think it’s an evil site. I plan on posting all my photos there so whenever we take a trip you will be able to enjoy our trip with us.
The Canadian geese have returned. Practically every day, they land in our back yard and commence pooping all over the place. This necessitates a visit by me and my trusty sling shot, loaded with marbles from Wal-Mart. Geese are really smart. The moment they see me they perk up and stand at the ready to fly away. Sometimes I hit one and other times I miss. I miss a lot, but it always scares them away. Even when I hit one, it does little damage, other than to make them depart at a faster pace. I would be sad if I hurt one really bad, but they need to know that I will not tolerate their presence in our yard. They are such a nuisance.
It looks like I will be replacing some grout in our shower before long. I have never done that before, but my plan is to use Google to find out the best way to do it. Normally, I’m not very good at doing things like that, but I am willing to give it a try. If I make a mess of things I can always call in the pro’s and let them fix it.
Our trip to CA in February is probably not going to happen. Jerilyn’s mother (Gladys) has moved back to her apartment from Health Care and is in need of our local presence. We are currently attempting to reschedule it for May. We attended a meeting last week on our July trip to Hawaii. Due to Gladys’ health we bought insurance to cover that trip. Normally, I am against insuring things that rarely happen, but the probability of having to cancel this trip is great. I don’t begrudge having to do things for Gladys. I’m guessing if I get to the ripe age of 89, I too, will net help of some kind. The hope is that my children will have the same attitude as I do.
Wayne Gretsky’s explanation for his success as a hockey player, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been” is one of my favorite quotes. Wouldn’t our lives be much better if we looked at where we are going instead of where we have been.
Jerilyn and I attended a country music concert with our friends Don & Louise Saturday night. The show started at 4:00pm and lasted until 10:15pm with 3 breaks between acts. The biggest star was Chris Cagle, with performances by less known stars like, Whiskey Falls, Ashton Shepherd, Laura Bryna and Emily West. We enjoyed each artist and were very pleased that it only cost $10 for each of us to attend. We were also pleasantly surprised there were no parking fees.
If you have trouble with this e-mail you can view it on my blog: http://tommyhale.blogspot.com/
I hope you’re enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world. Thanks for reading my weekly missive.
Never Regret Growing Old…It Is A Privilege Denied To Many
Well, the New Year arrived without too much bluster. We had friends over to help us celebrate. Being the old people we are, we watched a movie (Anti-Trust) and then drank champagne at midnight. I crawled into bed around 2:00 am wondering where all the years had gone. A while back I attempted to identify something that happened each year since I reached adulthood (or, some semblance of it) and each year I attempt to create a list of the good and bad things that happened. I find it gives me some perspective on the ebb and flow of my life. I have so much to be thankful far, but, I also have sadness in my life. How we handle the sadness says a lot about who we are. I know that I’m not very good at it.
Thanks, to all of you that have chosen to continue receiving this weekly missive. I was impressed with the number of people that elected to continue. You will not be receiving notice about my blog being updated, but it will be updated before this e-mail is sent. The link to it will be included herein. If you prefer the blog instead, let me know and I will send only the notification of its posting. I know some of you have trouble reading the e-mail version.
I have completed the preparation of a web page at www.mem.com on my Uncle KD. If you are interested in it, click on the site, complete the search box (last name: McCoy; first name: Phillip). It was a work of love.
A group of friends and I helped Jerilyn celebrate her 66th birthday yesterday. We had a great meal at Steak & Ale and a lot of good conversation ensued. I am surely blessed to have since a wonderful mate. For 22 days we are the same age and then, on the 30th, I jump a year ahead of her. I always have a lot of fun with that, touting that I “married a younger woman”. The audio book that I’m currently listening to, The Art of Aging, says that as we age we are obligated to live in such a way that the younger generations will respect us. I take that to mean no bullying, whining, or expecting to be cared for when we can do for ourselves. I also believe it means keeping a positive and cheerful outlook on life and planning each day so it will be pleasant and enjoyable. The author says that as we get older we should acquire wisdom. That, he says, is acquired from obtaining fact, converting those facts to knowledge and then, seamlessly, wisdom will evolve. I think I’m still in the evolving stage.
Our weather continues to jump all over the place. Yesterday’s temp was in the mid-60’s and today much of the same is expected. I’m sure cold weather will be back, but right now being outside is a pleasant experience. All the leaves have been gathered and taken to the city dump, the yard has been swept clean and all is well. I am in the process of doing the maintenance on my lawn care equipment. I learned from an uncle a long time ago to do the maintenance on my equipment during the winter months and it has served me well.
Travel plans for the year are starting to fall into place. We plan on visiting relatives and friends in CA during February, visiting PA & CT in the spring and a trip to Hawaii in July. All of this, of course, is dependent on how well Jerilyn’s mom is doing health wise. We will know more about the February trip later this month. Right now, it’s just in the planning stage. I’m also looking forward to several visits back home in southwest VA. A trip to TN to visit my grand-daughters and great grand-daughter’s are also anticipated. In between all this, we will work in a trip to Winston-Salem, NC to visit with my cousin Jesse. He is in the midst of a battle with cancer and I’m always amazed at his positive attitude. I shouldn’t be surprised; he has a powerful belief in God and is steadfast in believing he will whip this terrible affliction.
Here is the weblog link if you prefer to use it:
I hope you’re enjoying the winter months or whatever season it is in your corner of the world. Thanks for reading my weekly missive.
Never Regret Growing Old…It Is A Priviledge Denied To Many
As most of you know, I started my Shangri La diet on October 1st. At the time my weight was 208. Just before Thanksgiving I was down to 202.
Normally, by the time I get through the Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year celebration, I will weigh 211 – 212 and spend the next few months trying to get back down to my normal 204.
Well, I am happy to report that my weight this morning was 203½. Spectacular results as far as I’m concerned. My immediate goal of getting below 200 seems within my grasp. I have to say this is the easiest weight loss program I have ever been on. There were times when I thought it would not work, but persistence paid off.
You will never know how much fun Jerilyn has had making fun of my diet, which we refer to as ELOO (extra light oliver oil). When I stepped on the scales this morning she was hovering over my shoulder, prepared to break out in laughter and shout “ELOO” as the scale displayed some ridiculously high number.
Sometimes, things do go my way, although most times I tend to think not. “Well”, says she, “you did quite well, didn’t you?”
Now I know how Rocky Balboa felt atop the steps as he looks out over the streets of Philly. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus……..Tommy