Category: MP Rotation

Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life



Well, it has been quite a while since my last missive (August 4th) and a lot has happened during that time.  With so much to tell, it’s hard to decide where to begin, but, here goes.

I recently took our truck to the dealer and had some work done to it.  The Automatic Braking System (ABS) wasn’t working and neither was the cruise control.  I paid for the part back in May and it finally came in during the month of August.  This month I took our Riviera to the dealer because the ABS light was on.   It also started missing a beat or two when under pressure, so I instructed them to determine the reason for that and fix it too.  .  I dropped the car off and returned home, awaiting a call letting me know what the damage would be.  In a few hours the service lady calls, I answer the phone and she pleasantly says, “Mr Hale, this is Candice at Suttle Motors.  Are you sitting down?”   It was right then I decided I should be, and so, I answered in the affirmative.  “Well”, says she, “you need a lot done to your car.  Do you want the bottom line of the details?”  Trying to avoid the “bottom line” as long as possible, I say meekly, “give me the details, please”.   By the time she got thru the “details” I was amazed that I was able to drive the car to their shop.  I eventually gave the ok to do the work and the car is home now, purring down the road, whenever needed, running like a new car off the showroom floor.   Oh, that bottom line thingy came to $4500.   There goes my kids inheritance.


Have you ever wondered if you knew how much time you had left, if you would continue to use it as you do now.   I doubt that I would.  I stand in line at restaurants, wait at auto repair places, wait for my PC to perform tasks that seem to take forever and watch meanliness TV shows & movies waiting for them to get better.    If my doctor said I had 6 months to live, how would I change?   I think my prayers would be longer and not so rushed as they are now.   I would insist that my children & grandchildren let me be a bigger part of their lives and I would include my close relatives & friends in more of my activities.   I would spend less time on daily chores and more time doing the things I enjoy.   I would cherish all the time I spend with Jerilyn.   The sad part is, we very seldom have any idea how much longer we will live, and so, without that motivation, we plug along, doing the same things, not noticing the water draining slowly out of the tub.   Brings to mind a famous quote: “Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life.” ..Eugene O’Neill


Jerilyn and I have a trip planned to Branson, MO, next month.   Needless to say, we have not informed her mother of this yet, because if we do, the trip will surely have to be cancelled.  We have been to Branson before and enjoyed it so much we decided to do it again.  The trip will be via a bus cruise with our good friends Don & Louise.  We will leave on October 11th and return on October 19th.   My favorite show is Mickey Gilley, but I am also looking forward to seeing the Pam & Mel Tillis show.  I think we will attend 8-9 shows in all.


Our yard has been thatched, fertilized & reseeded and we are patiently waiting for little green things to emerge from the ground.  Our next door neighbor has installed a sprinkler system for his yard and we are green (pun intended) with envy.   There I am, standing in the middle of our yard with a water hose in my hand and I hear the hissing start.    I turn toward the noise and there are all these little gadgets spraying water all over his yard.   Ahhh, the differences between the have’s and the have not’s.


My project to use my camcorder to record  people telling their life story is progressing quite well.  So far, as you know, I have done my brother Jerry and my aunt Helen.   It took about 30 minutes for each of them to work their way thru their history.   I have about 30 questions for the interview.   Sooner or later, I will bump into a person that will talk for an hour about themselves.   If none do, then I will interview myself.   I know I can talk about myself for an hour.    Since Gladys just turned ninety, I wanted her to be the first, but, she turned me down.  Said she wasn’t interested in passing the details of her life on to anyone.   My goal is to get everyone close to me to set down and do the interview.


I constantly change my prayer list, taking people off as they get better, or transition to the other side, and putting people on that need help.  I am a firm believer that praying helps.  We may not always get the answer we want, but we always get an answer.   I remember, as a young lad, asking my dad for something and his first answer was always “No”.   Many times, I was able to persuade him to say “Yes”.  So, I learned at an early age not to give up when you wanted something.  Now, The Lord normally does not answer immediately, but I believe if I ask him over and over, using the experience I had as a youngster, I can convince him to heal the people in my life that are sick, or in need.  I have never had anyone tell me it works that way, I just believe it to be so.


You can find my blog at:  or my pictures at:


I hope you’re enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my weekly missive.



“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden



The baseball season is upon us

The rain has been persistent for the last two days and appears to be determined to hang around for at least one more day. We certainly needed the rain to wash away the pollen that is everywhere, causing runny noses and tearful eyes. But, we are ready for some sunshine and the opportunity to get outside and do things. Somehow, rainy days always depress me. I remember that being so when I was a boy running around in our coal camp (Page). I also remember that when it rained it came down in buckets. Us kids would stand under the water as it cascaded off the roofs, as it was the only way to get cool in the summer. I never saw an air conditioner until I left home and went into the US Air Force. Heat & AC are available now just by moving a lever on the wall unit. Lord knows I should be much happier now than I was back then and, maybe, I am. Life was so simple and there may be a lot to say about a simple life. I wonder what I would say if I should be lucky enough to stand in front of St. Peter and he says, “Ok, what’ll it be, the Simple Life, or, one more complicated, but with more pleasures?”. “St Peter”, says I, “how about a mixture of both?”. “Nope”, says he, “it has to be one or the other!”   Pleading, I say, “Could I at least have my laptop?”   I imagine that’s when he does what my 3rd grade teacher (Mrs. Angell) always did: draw a circle on the chalk board and make me stand there for an hour with my nose in it. Come to think of it, I think that circle did some psychological damage. Maybe, I can use that as an excuse. Surely, St. Pete knows the damage a circle like that can have on a young kid.

Jerilyn’s mother (Gladys) will be moved from the Health Care unit (HC) of her retirement community back to her apartment this Friday. Health Care provides 24 hour care and, of course, once she gets back to her apartment she has to look after herself. We are hoping for the best. We went over Sunday and took her to her apartment in a wheelchair and let her practice walking to the community dining room, just to make sure she could do it. At 89, she is quite weak and very unwilling to exert any energy. I think she would like to stay permanently in HC, but that unit is for those residents severely disabled.   Jerilyn & I went shopping last week and bought her a new, 26” TV. The one she has is very old and huge. It works well, but we decided she needed one with a better picture and more easily moved. We anticipate she will be back in HC before too long, for one reason, or the other.

We attended a city wide yard sale last Saturday morning. We arose early (0530), ate breakfast and headed off for the sale least someone should grab up all the bargins. I was standing at a table with a very nice patriotic wall flag, picking it up and looking at the price tag on the back, when I noticed the owner close by. “Hey”, says I, “how much is this flag?”. “$10” she responds. “Oh”, says the lady next to her, “I just looked at that flag and decided not to buy it because it said $40”. She then quickly walks over to me and says, “If you lay it down I want it!”.   Everybody that goes to a yard sale is looking for the “I bet you can’t guess what I paid for this?” item. Now it’s impossible for me to lay it back down and then walk around thinking about it before I buy. I either have to buy this thing now or she gets it. Like the dummy I am, I proudly yell “SOLD!” and reach for my wallet. Later, as we walked back to the truck, I had a sneaky suspicion about being set up. Now, I know that chalkboard circle thing did some psychological damage!

On the way back home from the above yard sale, we stopped at another one. They had one of those ladders that you can make into a platform to do various things to the side of your house (repairs, wash windows, etc.). The price on it was $75. I inquired as to their best price and the lady says $65. Trying to atone for the previously perceived hustling I declined to bite that hook. As we got in the truck, I told Jerilyn about it and that I was only willing to pay $55. She makes a beeline to the lady, gives her our phone number and tells her to call if the ladder doesn’t sell and she’s willing to take $55. I have been sitting by the phone for 2 days now. I wish she would hurry and call. I’m missing all my good TV shows.

Well, the baseball season is upon us and I have yet to see my first game. Jerilyn’s grandson, Brandon, is involved with the Little League and I enjoy watching him play. The weather has started to warm up and spring is in the air. I always look in the Sports Section of our local paper to see how the Dodgers and Yankees are doing. The Dodgers were KD’s favorite team (since childhood) and following them, somehow, keeps me connected with him. Mary (my adopted sister), stays busy with LL baseball. I plan on getting out and watching one of her teams play this summer (she’s the league’s president).   I coached her son (Duke) in baseball for a couple of years in the early 80’s. As a matter of fact, his nickname comes from the popular Centerfielder of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Duke Snyder. Baseball is such a wonderful distraction from the worries in our life. Isn’t it great that the only thing that matters for a few brief hours is how many runs we can score, how many batters we can strke out, or how many times we can hit the ball.

Have you noticed the price of a barrel of oil lately? Last time I checked it was $117 and the average price for a gallon of gas nationwide was $3.50 and no relief in sight. I wonder how high it will have to go before I change my driving habits? Right now, I’m guessing that $4.00/gallon will cause me to plan my trips more carefully and $5.00/gallon will give me severe heartburn. At $6.00/gallon the bicycle comes out and some serious pedaling takes place. At $7.00/gallon the possibility of buying a motor scooter crosses my mind and all discretionary traveling stops. Should I blame the Arabs or am I to blame because I am unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices. Aww shucks, I’m back to that chalkboard circle again.

You can find my blog at: or my pictures at:

I hope you’re enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world. Thanks for reading my weekly missive.



“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden


Myrtle Beach

I haven’t been feeling too well the last few days.  Seems, I have a cold, or the flu, I dunno which.  All I know is that it has sure put a damper on my daily enthusiasm.   Jerilyn (Dr. Mom) has been doing her best, pumping all sorts of medicine into me, and some of them help me feel a little better.  I guess it’s something you have to tough out for a few days.   I have been very fortunate. It has been 3-4 years since I have had any problems during the winter months, except with the occasional bout of Vertigo.   I’m guessing that in a day or two I will be back to normal.

We are currently having a brick mason chip out and replace some of the cement between the bricks on our three stoops.  It seems, that as the house as aged, a lot of the cement disappeared.  It has been replaced and hopefully will last another 30 years.  There is always some maintenance needed on a home.  I guess that is something everyone has to get use to.

The  caulking of the bathtub mentioned in last weeks WOW has been completed.  I am not an accomplished caulker, but it does look good based on my meager abilities.  I hope it is a long time before I have to do it again.  I worry too much about getting things right and sometimes the more you fiddle with things the worse they get.

Gladys hurt her back again the other day and is back in Assisted Living and probably headed for the Health Care  unit of her retirement community.  She goes to see the doctor tomorrow (2/19) and will probably need an operation like the two she had several months ago.  They shoot some gell in between her vertibrae and then shoot in some glue to hold it in place.  It has worked well in the past.  At 89, we expect to see this happen on a continual basis.  We pray for her every day.

Sometimes, I walk around worrying about something and am unable to put my finger on exactly what it is I’m worrying about.  I pause for a few minutes and struggle to figure out what is bothering me.  Most of the time I am unable to do so.  Maybe we are allocated so many “worrying minutes” per day and regardless of what we do we cannot escape having to “belly-up” to the Worrying Bar and do our share of worrying.   The trick is to figure out how to minimize our “worry” allocation.  Thusly, I have decided to only worry about those things that I have any control over (should eliminate about 80% of my worries).  From that point I can handle the rest (dream on!).

My trip to watch the University of Virginia basketball game last week was fun.  On the way up to Charlottesville (on I64) we ran into a lot of ice on the road about 18 miles from our destination.  The car immediately in front of me spun out at about 60 mph and landed in the wooded median.  From that point on we crept along at 3-4 mph and arrived at the game about half-way thru the first half.  The trip home was safe and uneventful.   If you should need tickets for any type of sporting event go online to .  It was refreshing to be in the midst of 5000 young people shouting, cheering and jumping up and down with huge speakers blaring and lights flashing all over the place.  It’s almost like going to the doctor and getting a “youth” shot.  I left the stadium feeling renewed and refreshed.  I gotta do that more often.

Jerilyn and I are looking forward to our trip, with our friends Don & Louise, to Myrtle Beach on March 9th .  We have made this an annual event.  One of the things I look forward to is Don & I heading off to the cigar shop and buying a $5 cigar and setting outside on the park bench, smoking away.  I haven’t had a cigar since our trip there last year and I need a cigar badly.  The girls get a lot of shopping in and Don & I just wonder around looking at this, that and the other.  Last year we took a side trip to Charleston, SC and enjoyed it very much.  Louise is our trip coordinator and does a very good job at it.  She is very good at planning the different things we do while we are there.  I think every group needs someone like her, don’t you?  To make things even better, she is a registered nurse and so if I get a piece of fried chicken stuck in my throat I don’t hafta worry.  I wonder if Don and Jerilyn know the Heimlich maneuver.

It’s time for me to get serious about filing our income tax return.   All I can say is that Tax Cut had better be as good as Turbo Tax, although at half price it may not be.  Time for me to close this newsletter and start to work.

You can find my blog at:  or my pictures at:   I have added some new pics to Smugmug if you are interested.

I hope you’re enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world.  Thanks for reading my weekly missive.




“Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.” ….O.S. Marden



Music in my everyday life

As I watched Katie Couric interview John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth on 60 Minutes the other night, I was astonished by the questions she asked.  As you probably already know, Elizabeth is suffering from incurable cancer.  Sure., we need to know that John, if elected president, can perform his job if things turn worse for his wife.  But after all, Bill Clintons preoccupations didn’t seem to worry us that much.   Katie, it may be noted, continued to work during her husband’s terminal illness.

Music is part of my everyday life.  I enjoy all types of music, but, my preference by far, is country music.  I listen to music as I mow the grass, work in the garage, work on my PC or while driving down the road.  I know many people that prefer their quiet time.  I mostly use music as a backdrop for my thoughts.  I seldom pay much attention to the words being sung, just the rhythm of the music in the background.  Occasionally, a song will come on that is a favorite and that’s when I crank up the volume.  Somewhere in me is that teenager of long ago that preferred his music loud and boisterous.   This has been known to aggravate Jerilyn and she desperately reaches for the volume knob.

We have a lot of wildlife visit us each morning as we eat breakfast and look out at the backyard and Lambs Creek.  Most days we see a rabbit, several squirrels, plenty of birds (we have 4 bird feeders) ducks, geese, Great Blue Herons and occasionally a raccoon and ‘possum.  It’s so wonderful to watch how God’s creatures interact with each other.  Of course, we know the reason they come is to eat and drink from the bird bath located close to the food.  We are endlessly entertained by their antics.

We had planned on visiting my brother Jerry today.  He lives about an hour away, just across the state line in North Carolina.  His wife, Patty, called this morning and she is not feeling well and the trip has been postponed until another time.  I am taking my truck to the garage tomorrow to get the AC recharged and have them check to see why my gas mileage has dropped from 16 mpg to 13.5 mpg.  I suspect it is because I had a sensor replaced on my catalytic converter several months ago (Service Engine Soon light came on).

During a telephone conversation with Uncle Stewart last week something very unusual happened.  After a 15-20 minute conversation, we prepared to say our so longs, and he said to me “Now Tommy, I have your telephone number, and next time I will call you”.   I have never had that happen before.  I have never had anyone volunteer to help me keep the line of communication open with them.   Normally, I will think, “it’s been several months since I talked to ……, I need to call them”.   What a breath of fresh air!  I remember getting off the phone with a very warm feeling deep inside me.  I must say that my son that lives in faraway TN is very good at keeping in touch with me.  Probably, most of us keep in touch with our children and parents.  The more difficult contacts are those family members and friends removed from our daily lives.

Well, guess I had better close.  Thanks for reading…….



“Chance is the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign.”

Theophile Gautier



Travel plans for the year

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 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



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