Category: MP Rotation

One More Year!

♥️ ”No one is so old as to think that he cannot live one more year.” ~ Cicero

I ran across that quote the other day and I completely agree with it. The exception would be for someone that is very sick, or very unhappy. Many of us have gone thru traumatic periods in our lives that prompted us to wish it would end swiftly. I was in my mid-forties when it happened to me. My two children were grown and out on their own, and their mother and I were empty nesters. She was struggling with some serious psychological problems. I was unhappy at work, and life just seemed to crash down on top of me. Suicide never crossed my mind, but I remember thinking that if I were killed instantly in a car wreck, I wouldn’t be unhappy with the results. Of course, if you’re dead, there’s a good possibility you will not have those thoughts.

Fortunately, I was spared, and within 5-6 years, my life changed dramatically, and I seldom look back. The problem was that I was insistent on fixing the broken aspects of my life and unwilling to admit defeat.

One of my core beliefs is that if you try hard enough, most problems can be resolved, and that theory still hides deep within me. But I finally realized that some things are so broken they can never be put back together again. It happens in about every aspect of our life and it’s important that we understand when the time comes to stop trying. If the vase has a chip or two, then we can repair it, but if it’s broken into tiny pieces, then possibly we need to sweep it into the dustpan and move on.

What I am certain of is that life will continue to present me with problems, and I’m expected to produce solutions. I believe I have gotten better at determining what’s fixable. At least, that’s the theory I’m toying with now. I think old Georg was right when he said:

“Death is like an arrow that is already in flight, and your life lasts only until it reaches you.” ~ Georg Hermes

♥️ I have this app on my smartphone called “Marco Polo” that allows me to exchange videos with my three granddaughters scattered all over the place. It also allows me to stay connected with my two teenage great-granddaughters. I’ve been using its free version and recently decided to upgrade to the paid version ($10/month). That upgrade also allowed me to add five additional members to my plan, free of charge. So, I included my five Great/Granddaughters. With the features I have now, I can create a “Group,” and make a video, and send it to all of them. How cool is that?

With this app, you cannot talk to each other in real time. You create a video and send it, then they create another video and send it back. I guess you’re wondering why I’m so excited when we can’t talk live. Well, the way I look at this is it’s texting on steroids. They (my grands) get to see me talking to them. You, of course, remember the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, this is exactly what I’m doing. When you love someone as much as I love them, seeing them in a video just warms my heart. Now, I want you to tell me where you can go to get your heart warmed for $10 bucks?

You’re wondering how much Marco is paying me to talk about them? Just a minute… let me look in my pocket…. hmmm, still empty! Yup, just wanted to tell you about this wonderful way I’ve found to stay in touch with the people I love and care about. The free version works fine if you don’t want to pay for the Plus version. I’m hoping my friends will put it on their phone and we can exchange videos. I have some old high school buddies that I stay in touch with, and it would be a lot of fun to do that with them, especially with this Covid thing putting a damper on visits.

C. S. Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which gives value to survival.”

♥️ I drove by our former home of 25 years the other day to see if it had changed very much and it looked much the same as when we departed back in late April of this year. It’s probably not a good idea to go over there very much, mainly because it was hard to give up our life there. My wife seems to have little interest in making that visit, primarily I suspect, because it would hurt some. Most assuredly, our current home isn’t as comfortable as the one we left, but neither does it require the upkeep.

Looking back over my life of many years, I have made several more momentous changes and most of them worked out pretty well, so there’s good reason to believe this change will as well. I think the hardest decision was giving up on my 32 years of marriage to the mother of my children and the easiest was marrying the woman that accompanies me thru the life I live now. 

All of us encounter forks in the road at various times in our life, and we can always look back and speculate about what would happen had we made a different decision. The important thing to remember is that we made the best decision we could at that time in our life. Golfers often get one “Mulligan”, a chance to hit an errant ball again without penalty, in a game with friends. Life never gives us that opportunity. We have to live with our decisions and actions and suffer their consequences and rewards. Douglas Adams said, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” That sounds about right for me. 

♥️ My wife and I want to wish all of you, dear friends, a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. We have invited several members of our family to join us for Thanksgiving dinner and, given the restrictions of the past 20 months, it will be a joyous occasion. I read an article today that said 80% of all Americans are vaccinated, and that is really great news. Now, if we can convince the remaining 20% to be immunized, we can start treating Covid as we treat the flu. Happy Thanksgiving to all!      

Our Day Trip

⌘ My wife and I haven’t been out of town for almost 15 months and we have been planning a day trip somewhere for quite a while. Of course, I know I can come up with the plan, but she determines when it will happen. 😊  Her schedule is a lot more complicated than mine, so I always to defer to her and that works fine.

Well, to my surprise, she informed me we would take our trip in a few days, so we made plans and waited. It arrived with abundant sunshine and, as I rolled out of bed, there was an illegal smile pasted boldly on my face. I put on my robe and trotted quickly down the hall to start my coffee and turn on Einstein (my PC). 

I immediately went to Google Maps and searched for a destination on the DelMarVA peninsula (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia). Our plan was to drive 90 miles, visit several interesting places, then find a place to eat a takeout lunch (Hardee’s/McDonalds) in the truck. 

We planned on visiting Smith Beach and Silver Beach, both of them near Exmore, Virginia (my wife likes to walk on the beach and find shark teeth). With my cup full of coffee and a thermos lying in wait with more of it, we climbed aboard our truck and headed off, looking forward to our trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This engineering phenomenon is 15 miles long and takes us out into the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and allows us to ride across the water alongside tankers of all sizes headed out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s like taking a boat ride with no boat. During the 15-mile ride we went through two underwater tunnels and encountered very little traffic. I set my speed control to 55 mph and leaned back, with our radio blaring out Hank Williams, Charlie Pride, and other well-known country artists, and just watched the beautiful scenery in front of us. Within a couple of years, I expect we will have an autonomous vehicle (self-driving), and that trip will be even more amazing. 

The two beaches (Smith & Silver) turned out to be a disappointment. Neither had a beach you could walk on and cottages on the waterfront blocked visitor entry to any portion of the beach. We had our takeout lunch in our truck at the Hardee’s in Exmore, Virginia, watching the traffic swishing by on Route 13 as we talked about nondescript things. 

After finishing what turned out to be a pretty decent lunch, I started up Blue Bullet (my name for our truck) and we headed home. As we traveled across the bay, a feeling of contentment spread across my thoughts. The expected excitement of “getting out of town” delivered the serenity I was hoping for. I looked over at the woman I love to see if she had arrived at that place, but sadly I could not discern if that happened. I believe she enjoyed the trip but being unable to walk the beaches disappointed her and took some fun away. 

We have made plans for another trip next month, as we try to enrich our life by visiting places we enjoyed before this dreadful pandemic entered our lives. Our state (Virginia) has moved on to vaccinate everyone in the “1b” classification, which includes us (age 75+). With some luck, I’m hoping we can get it by the end of this month, or early February. 

Thomas Jefferson said it well: “I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” I’m gonna be working the phone to make it happen. 😊

⌘ A few days ago I noticed that both headlight lenses on our 2013 Prius were cloudy, which made driving at night extremely difficult, so I headed off to the auto parts store to buy something to remove it. I read an advertisement online about a special pad you could buy for $40 that, upon rubbing the headlight lens several times, would magically make the cloudiness disappear. I kinda felt uncomfortable with that, so there I was, standing in the auto parts store asking the attendant to tell me what to get to accomplish the task. A very personable young man led me over to the location and selected the one he uses for such a task. There were perhaps seven items that promised to be exemplary in doing what I needed, ranging in price from $5 to $25. The one he recommended (Raintree) was $7.75, so I followed him back to the register, paid for the item, and headed home. 

After getting back to the house, I sat in the truck and read the instructions, which were pretty simple: 

1. Make sure both lenses are clean.

2. Dampen a cloth, squirt some of the creamy liquid in the bottle onto the cloth and apply in a circular motion.

3. Wash clean.

Boy, was I surprised!  90% of the cloudiness disappeared. I dried them and repeated the process to see if I could get to 100%. After looking closely, I decided it was 95% effective. Now, the plan is to see how long it stays away before returning. I know it will return, but now I know an easier way to remove it. And now so do you, but I want you to keep it a secret. Benjamin Franklin said that “three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” Naw, I don’t believe that,… you and I can keep this secret. 😊 

⌘ I recently purchased a Kardia Personal EKG device for $85, which is about as big as your index finger. It is powered by a coin size battery and gives you an EKG reading any time you want it. All you have to do is download the app to your phone, connect it via Bluetooth, and it’s ready to take a reading. Mine sits beside my blood pressure monitor and now, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I take my blood pressure, then place two fingers on each pad of the EKG device and in 30 seconds it has a reading, showing the graph as it progresses. It then quickly analyzes the results and tells you if there is a problem. It also gives you the option of sending it to one of their doctors for a detailed report (for a fee of course 😊). You also can key in your blood pressure to enhance the results. 

I’m not sure how reliable this device is, and I certainly wouldn’t use it to replace anything my doctor wanted to do, but I think its primary purpose is to alert you when something isn’t right and needs to be looked at by your family physician or a specialist, and keeping a history of your readings, which could be very helpful. 

One morning it told me I had an-Fib (arterial fibrillation), which was discerning. I looked at the chart and I couldn’t tell anything (because of my lack of medical training), and I didn’t feel any different, so I waited until the next day to take another reading and it was back to normal. But I suspect it is a good thing to have that in the device’s history file. 

As I have gotten older, I have included things I believe will help me keep track of my health better than just asking myself how I feel. We all have often heard the phrase “silent killer” used for blood pressure and other maladies. I’m thinking the thrice-weekly BP & EKG thingy will pay dividends. It only takes a few minutes to accomplish those tasks. 

An old Spanish Proverb says, “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” My thoughts exactly! 


⌘ My wife handed me this old poem a few days ago and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to include it in this missive:

“I have to live with myself, and so,

I want to be fit for myself to know.

I want to be able, as days go by,

always to look myself straight in the eye.

I don’t want to stand with the setting sun,

and hate myself for the things I’ve done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf,

a lot of secrets about myself.

And fool myself, as I come and go,

into thinking that nobody else will know,

the kind of a man that I really am…

I don’t want to dress myself up as a sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,

I want to deserve all men’s respect.

But here in the struggle for fame and pelf (money),

I want to be able to like myself.

I don’t want to look at myself and know,

that I’m bluster and bluff, an empty show.

I never can hide myself from me,

I see what others may never see.

I know what others may never know,

I never can fool myself, and so,

whatever happens, I want to be,

self-respecting and conscience free.

―Edgar A. Guest, 1881

I believe the reason this poem was so meaningful to me was that it is something we all strive to do with our lives, to be true to the authentic person we think we are, to be honorable and to always do what is right.  I wish my parents had given this poem to me when I was a young boy.  I wish they had sat down with me alone and explained what it meant and that I should always conduct myself in that manner.  I am confident that I would’ve passed it on to my two children.  I thought about passing it on to my grandchildren, but they’re adults now and would probably think I was being presumptuous.  My great grandchildren live far away and don’t know me very well (my fault), so I’m not inclined to tell them how they should live their lives.  

I hope that I have lived my life in the manner that Mr. Guest described (despite being unaware of his insightful poem) and that I accomplished it by being true to my Christian faith. 

D. H. Lawrence said, “No creature is fully itself till it is, like the dandelion, opened in bloom of pure relationship to the sun, the entire living cosmos.”     

⌘ A few days ago I was talking on the phone with an old friend, formerly my next-door neighbor, and I asked him how things were going in his life.  He and his wife (Mary Beth) are close to my age (79), living with their oldest daughter and her husband, whom they adore.  Mary Beth has described her as the perfect daughter from the time she was a small girl until this day.  I doubt that my parents would ever consider using that adjective to describe my brother and I 😊.  I recall my mother telling me that I was a, “good boy” and I considered that high praise, but I never came close to “perfect”. 

Back to my conversation with John.  They live in a three-story home, with John & MB on the 1st floor, daughter and husband on the 3rd floor, and the living area on the 2nd floor.  They are having an elevator installed that will take them to any floor in the house.  I commented to John that I have not known anyone that had an elevator in their home.  I said that we have a friend up in New York who builds million-dollar homes and that he often takes us on tours of those homes, but we have never seen one with an elevator.  I could feel his smile traveling across the many miles of phone line between us as he responded, “Well, how about that!” followed by his trademark chuckle.  During our banter, I mentioned that I had visited my barber and gotten a haircut but was hesitant to do that because of COVID-19.  John responded that he didn’t go to the barbershop very often since he had little for them to cut, but he said that, “God just made a few perfect heads, and for those that weren’t perfect, he gave them plenty of hair to cover his mistakes.”  I’m sure our laughter filled both of our homes!  

Now you see why my wife and I still miss having our old friends next door, but the bus of life moves on and we are still aboard, just waiting for life’s next adventure.

⌘ My 2012 iPad informed me the other day that I could no longer update its operating system past version 9.0 and that 10.0 was now available.  Of course, I need to keep the latest updates on it for security and efficiency reasons.  I decided to purchase a new one, but to wait until “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” to do so.  After some research, I determined the price I was willing to pay and then waited until the day after Thanksgiving to get serious about looking.  Sadly, the price I was hoping to pay was not the price they wanted for their devices.  I opened up an app on my phone called “Offer Up” that allows you to buy and sell locally.  Sure ‘nuff, I found a slightly used iPad that had more features than I expected (keyboard, pen, and cover) and at a price much lower than I expected.  The only downside to this transaction was that the seller lived in Long Beach, California.  I made an offer that was $50 less than he was asking, figuring that would pay the shipping and taxes, and then I sat back and waited for his response.  Before long he responded by rejecting the offer, expressing his concern about getting his money.  He wanted to sell his device locally where the exchange would be in person and was unsettled by the prospect of his device being on the East Coast while he was 3,000 miles away on the West Coast awaiting payment. 

I calmly responded, “You will get your money.  In 80 years, I have never failed to pay what I owed.  There has to be trust on both sides—you that you’ll get paid, and me, that I’m getting a wonderful device.” 

I don’t know what changed his mind, whether it was the 80-year thing or the never failing to pay thing, but he immediately responded that he would accept my offer.  It always amazes me that life offers so many ways to make my existence wonderfully entertaining.  Maybe it’s because it takes so little to do so. 😊

“In the deep of the night, lying on my back, I ask myself what life is and I see that I do not know; but I also see that it is a royal thing to be alive.”  ―C.F. Ramuz

Orange Juice

   My wife hands me a 5 oz. glass of orange juice to drink every morning, which I dutifully down in a few gulps.  She believes that if I do certain things (drink orange juice, take OTC pills, etc.) I will live a longer, healthier life, and I love her for these efforts because I want to live a longer, healthier life.  As she handed me the glass of orange juice this morning, I remarked that I cannot remember drinking it as a young boy.  I’m sure we had it, but rarely.  The beverages in our “Frigidaire” would normally be water, sweet milk, buttermilk, and Kool-Aid.  I was probably 8 or 9 years old when we got our first refrigerator.  To the best of my knowledge, there were two brands—Frigidaire and Kelvinator—but regardless of the brand, all refrigerators back then were called “Frigidaires”.  Today, we mostly say “Fridge”.  Before we got our first one, I remember seeing the ice truck deliver large chunks of ice to our neighbors to be used in their “icebox”.  Our lives changed when our family got our first “Frigidaire”.  No longer did we need to store our butter and milk in the small “Spring House” (cold water came from deep inside the mountain).  I remember sitting in the kitchen and hearing the sweet hum of that treasured appliance, knowing that it was keeping our food and drinks safe and providing us with cool, cold liquids during the sultry summer heat we had to endure.  Today, we mostly take the Fridge for granted until a power outage, otherwise it sits underappreciated in our kitchen.  Reminds me of an old Estonian Proverb: “He who does not thank for little, will not thank for much.”  I don’t think it describes us, do you?       

⌘   I read an article recently that said you could predict whether someone was going to have a stroke within their lifetime by looking at their earlobes to detect any 45° lines, which meant that it would happen.  Up I jumped and headed for the bathroom to grab a mirror to see if I had any.  Sure ‘nuff, there it was on my left earlobe, plain as day.  I’m a fairly healthy guy, but now I’m a little worried.  I’m figuring that, at age 79, I may have ten more good years left and this earlobe thing has thrown me a curve ball.  I was expecting to throw a “ringer”, but I threw a “leaner” instead.  We all know what that means in the game of horseshoes; the next pitch is going to be aimed straight at that “leaner” and then it’s gonna  become just another shoe that may or may not be closer to the peg.  I had waddled down the hallway believing both my earlobes were line free (ringer) and wound up with a line on one ear (leaner).  My fear is that the next shoe that’s gonna knock down that “leaner” is gonna be the stroke the article predicted.  But after giving it some more thought, I reasoned that my health is good, which was reaffirmed by a recent echocardiogram, so I shouldn’t worry too much.  If I was going to have a stroke of some sort, I believe it would be a “stroke of good luck,” which we could all use. 😊

Personally, I prefer what old John Dewey said long ago: “Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us.  But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.”  Now, all I gotta do is figure out which group I’m in. 😊

⌘   I was watching a former CIA analyst give a motivational speech online the other day.  There was a section of her presentation where she described ways to spot when someone is lying.  Her message was that the average person lies at least 10 times a day, speaks at 150 words per minute, and thinks 10 times faster than they speak.  She believes that you will give the first clue that you’re lying within 1 minute, the second clue within 5 minutes, and you only need 2 clues to know for certain someone is lying.  She reminded us to always remember that saying you wouldn’t do something is not the same as saying you didn’t do it.  She told us to watch hands and feet, because when someone tells a lie, they tend to make nervous movements with their extremities, even if only a twitch.

I am taken aback that we lie, on average, ten times a day.  Most of these lies are innocuous, such as, “You look good today,” or “Glad to see you.”  I believe most of us consider a lie to be deceitful, hurtful, or mean-spirited.  I was unaware that when I complimented a friend’s golfing tie, I was being anything more than pleasant, even though I was thinking I would never wear it to church.  And the part about thinking 10 times faster than you speak?  Well, I know several people who have a hard time keeping up with their own tongues (no, my friend, you’re not one of them 😊).  In retrospect, I regret watching that video because I’m gonna have to make a conscious effort not to look for those things during my conversations.  An old Czech Proverb says it exactly the way I feel: “Better a lie that heals than a truth that wounds.” 

⌘ Did you know that your little finger provides over half of the strength in your hand?  I didn’t, and I’m guessing you were unaware of that insignificant fact as well.  There have been many times that my wife has handed me a bottle to open, and I go through a routine where I flex my muscles, groan a little as I turn the lid, and finally pop the top open—all meant to bring a smile to her face.  I always assumed that my grip came from all my fingers somewhat equally, with the little finger being perhaps the weakest.  Now I know that the little digit is as strong as all the others combined. 

I think we see this assumption of small being weak many times in our lives.  Some of the meanest, toughest people I have known were small in stature.  My brother (Jerry) was 5’7” tall, but no matter how many times you knocked him down, he would get right back up and continue the fight.  I always respected him for that.  Sometimes I thought it was stupid, but deep down I admired his toughness.  I had a high school classmate we nicknamed “Bear” who was about 5’8” and weighed about 180 lbs., but no one ever crossed him.  He was an even-tempered guy, but he was as strong as an ox.  Matter of fact, I visited with him at our high school reunion a few years ago.  

I believe there are primarily two types of strength, physical and character, and while both are important in our lives, strength of character is the most important.  When we cannot do the right thing, it’s because we are weak in character.  We fail to speak up because we fear hurting someone’s feelings.  We will not help the people in our lives who need our support because we don’t want to become “enablers”.  In truth, people of strong character find reasons to help, not excuses for not helping.  I think our goal as decent people has to be finding a way to become the compassionate, caring, and kind people we have always wanted to be.  And I also believe that it is always a work in progress. 

Lillian Hellman said it very well: “It is not good to see people who have been pretending strength all their lives…lose it even for a minute.”  Ouch, that hurt! 😊

What A Wonderful Life!

֎ “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” …Collette

I used that quote in a “WoW” that I wrote way back in August of 2007 entitled, “A Place to Be Alone”.  That was true then, and it remains true to this very day.  I am guilty of not recognizing the wonderful life I enjoy, or if I do so in prayer, as soon as I’m finished, I immediately sweep it from my mind and move on to other matters. I am reminded of an interview a TV reporter had with Senator John McCain about his terminal brain cancer.  I surmised from Senator McCain’s interview that he had experienced a wonderful life, had no regrets, and was ready to accept death and meet his maker in the afterlife.  I sorta assume that most of us expect life will be filled with fun things to do, especially after working hard on a daily basis and missing very few days at work.  Sadly, as we grow older we find that life is full of highs and lows and that sometimes the lows can be life threatening.  And, as we all have experienced, it doesn’t have to be something that happens to us, but to those we love deeply.  Watching all the tragedy that the evening news produces on a daily basis makes me sad, but when tragedy strikes home, the sadness transitions to heartbreak.  Like you, when tragedy strikes, I constantly strive to keep a positive outlook.  That fails me when I fall asleep at night, when all my worst fears run rampant like a spooked herd of cattle in the 50’s westerns of long ago.  I am relieved to get out of bed the next morning so I can put those fears behind and start a, new, positive day.  That’s when I want the tranquility of heart that resides there when I am awake.   Hank Green said, “I deal with stress in two ways because there are two kinds of stress. There’s stress that you can take care of, and there’s stress that you can’t. The first one, I take care of it as fast as possible, because putting it off always makes it worse. Things that I can’t fix? I think about the fact that I can’t fix them. I think about why I can’t fix them and I come to terms with the fact that this is a problem that I’m not going to overcome and that the world is not a wish granting factory.”  I agree with old Hank, and I want to thank him for clarifying how stress should be handled.

֎ Recently, my wife and I took my oldest granddaughter (Robin) and her family out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants (Piccadilly’s), a cafeteria we frequent often.  We enjoy the vast selection of food they offer and the fact that all their food is made onsite, including their delicious selection of desserts.  Robin was in from Tennessee to visit her dad (my son Rusty) and enjoy the many local entertainment venues in our area (Bush Gardens, Water Country, Harbor Fest, etc.).  I have 3 adorable Great Grandchildren by Robin and David (ages 14, 12 & 3), and it’s always a pleasure to be around them.  As I sat at the table, chewing away on my delicious food, listening to the chatter of a vibrant, energetic young family, a wonderful wave of contentment swept over me. I would like to think that when I was a young man with a young family, I had the same effect on my grandparents.  I spent many hours in my grandparent’s presence as a youngster, and always visited them when I became an adult.  I returned home each year from hundreds of miles away just to accomplish that task.  They always seemed delighted to see us, but I never sensed that they enjoyed the energy we brought.  When my granddaughter and her family headed back home, after a week or so, the energy they left behind stayed with us for a while and we rode that wave as long as possible.  “Vitality shows not only in the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.”  ………F. Scott Fitzgerald

֎ As most of you know, my son passed away on June 16th and then my brother’s wife (Patty) passed away on Monday, July 2nd.  Somehow, I still get out of bed each morning, raise the window shade, and watch the sunlight bounce off the floor and surround the many teddy bears in our bedroom, seemingly, bringing them all to life.  I slowly shuffle down the hallway to the coffee pot and push the button that starts my daily brew.  I continue to do the things that I have done every day for years, but they don’t seem to bring the excitement that each new day brought before. I live with the hope that as time passes the sorrow will become less and that one day, when I think of them, the hurt will be gone and all the good memories will come flooding back.  There are times when I think that God has taken a wrecking ball to my life.  Lately, for every minute I’ve laughed, I’ve cried a dozen or more. A storm seems to be following me searching for thunder.  Until a lot of time passes, I will be plodding along, looking for the gems of happiness that each day usually presents to us all.  A lot of good, caring people still surround me and will insure that I don’t go too far down the “black hole” of depression.  I always thought that “black holes” were things way out in space.  What I have discovered is that they exist right here on earth and any of us can get sucked in if we’re not careful.

֎  “Goodnight Miss Calabash, wherever you are” …. Jimmy Durante

I used to watch the Jimmy Durante Show back in the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s and he always signed off wishing Miss Calabash a goodnight.  To the best of my knowledge he never told his viewers who she was and why she was important to him.  I think all of us have a Miss Calabash in our lives, someone that’s important to us, and no one else knows why.  I believe, that for Jimmy, it was someone that was special when he was a young man and they had grown apart and lost tract of each other, or maybe she passed over to the other side and he was letting her know that he was thinking of her.  Yes, I’m guessing we all have a Miss Calabash in our history, maybe more than one.

֎ I was listening to an audiobook a while back by Julie Andrews (Home: A Memoir of My Early Years), and she was describing being taught to sing as a young girl. Her mother listened to Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, and many other classical composers.  I listen to Jackson, Paisley and Jones (Alan, Brad & George) and that doesn’t seem nearly as impressive.  There are times that I believe that I have missed out on so much by not listening to the music of great composers and reading books written by world renown authors. But, then again, I am a man of simple taste, feasting on fried chicken, hamburgers and French fries.  That spills over into my taste for music and books- John Grisham & Nicholas Sparks come to mind.  I do admire people that read the finest of books and listen to classical music, and I consider them to be more intellectual. But I somehow doubt they read more than I do or listen to more music.  I guess it’s sorta like comparing a high school athlete to a professional athlete.  They’re playing the same game but the pro plays at a much higher level.  I’m of the opinion that it matters little what songs bounce around in your head, or what books you read, as long as they satisfy that inner need to be entertained or learn something new.  Andre’ Gide said, “I am no good except when alone.  In a group it’s not so much the others that bore and annoy me; it’s myself.”

֎ My wife and I took her oldest son and his wife out to dinner the other day to celebrate his 50th birthday.  The meal was delicious (steak for me) and the conversation abundantly fun.  It is always entertaining to watch the interaction of my wife with her two sons.  They are decidedly different personalities and you would never guess they were raised by the same parents.  The oldest son is more outgoing and easily engaged in conversation, while the youngest is quiet and reserved.  I have found that I always enjoy the company of both.  It has always been clear to me that good conversation is better than any movie I’ll ever watch, or any show that’s playing on the TV.  I spend time on the phone and texting, but I much prefer sitting down next to someone and having a face-to-face conversation.  As we travel thru life and get older, we lose people we love for many reasons.  We should never regret that we didn’t spend enough time in their presence.  J.K. Rowling’s said it very plainly, “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”  Let’s all pledge to start making better choices 😊.




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