Category: WoW


A Tribute to My Friend Jerry


Recently, my good friend, Jerry, passed away. I have only known him and his wife (Ruth) for 18 months. Still, during that time, we became best friends, eating dinner together each day in the dining room of our retirement center. He wasn’t tall, perhaps 5’8″ or so, but he made up for the lack of height with brain power and personality.

At our dinner table, we often talked about the game show Jeopardy. One evening, after a good meal and great conversation, he invited us back to their apartment to watch our favorite 7:30 pm game show. Usually, I can answer five or six questions out of the sixty-one asked, but Jerry answered about 35-40 during our visit. As we prepared to leave, I kindly informed him never to invite us back again to watch that show. That brought a big smile to his handsome face.

Jerry was a wealth of knowledge, having traveled the world as a colonel in the US Air Force, and had countless stories to tell, which always made dinner time more enjoyable. A remarkable quality of his was to somehow not make us feel inferior. If there was something on the menu for the night and we did not know what it was, he was the person we asked and always knew the answer. If we couldn’t pronounce the name of a meal, he was our “go-to guy.” We still wish he was with us when we encounter those situations.

The kindness and attention he gave his wife also touched us. Ruth has health issues, which eventually got to the point of him having to feed her. Each day he wheeled her to the dining room in her wheelchair, her hair neatly combed, and her clothes and jewelry always matched. We complimented her on how pretty she looked, and Jerry would describe to us when and where he bought each piece of jewelry. Typically, it was overseas somewhere. That was our opportunity to interact with Ruth.

He and I attended a “New Car” show over in Norfolk (30 minutes away) back in January, and it was a great “guy bonding” experience. He loved cars, as do I, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time together. We made plans to attend a stock car race at our local track (Langley) this past summer but had to cancel because of Ruth’s health issues. I surely regret, looking back, that it didn’t happen. I would have enjoyed that time with my buddy.

Then, on September 15th, he and Ruth failed to show up at our 6 pm dinner. Usually, there are six of us, including our friends Nancy & Richard. We weren’t alarmed because we occasionally had a reason to be absent. We were later told that Jerry was in the hospital with gallstones. Although painful, we knew he would survive and probably weave his experience into an exciting story, which he could do easily when he returned.

After a few days in the hospital, they sent him to our Health Care unit on campus with medicine to get rid of an infection, after which he would return to the hospital. They would then perform an operation to remove the gallstones. Jerry called me and requested I bring him a pair of my “Fat Boy Pants.” I often kid that my wife calls me “Fat Boy” when I overeat (she doesn’t). He said he couldn’t stand anything tight on his stomach, so we took him a pair of my largest. We sat by his bedside, talked for about 15 minutes, and left, easily discerning that he wasn’t up for company. I had absolutely no idea that would be my final words with him.

Upon hearing of his request for larger pants, our friends Nancy & Richard went to the store, bought him a new pair, and sat them inside his door, not wanting to awaken him. A few days later, we went back to visit again, and there was a note on his door that said he only wanted the family to visit. That was our first sign that he was much sicker than we thought. Before long, he was back in the hospital in critical condition, insisting that only family could visit.

Eventually, to our surprise, we received word that he was under Hospice Care. Then, upon accidentally meeting his daughter during a walk around the retirement compound, we were told that Jerry was in palliative care. His doctor said the end was near. A few days later, he passed away. We were heartbroken. Grief sets on my shoulders like it is an old friend. Occasionally, I knock it off with a clenched fist, but it always clambers back in place.

I have a picture of my good friend sitting in a prominent place in my den, so I see him each time I walk by. It sits beside a picture of my son, who passed away in 2018. It will be there until I stop grieving, maybe even longer. I’m dismayed with him for not allowing us to visit during that painful part of his journey. His daughter said he didn’t want anyone to see him in his condition. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my friend. I hope to do better with my friends when it’s my turn. But who knows, maybe I’ll do the same thing. I hope not.

Jerry, old buddy, if you’re listening, Amy still has a shot at being the Jeopardy champion for 2022 😊. The Gang misses you and Ruth. Oh, by the way, can you tell me how to say this item on the menu?… your friend, Tommy.     


The Candle or The Mirror


🎯I think many of us have difficulty “living on life’s terms.” How often do we complain about the perceived misery that appears quietly in our path? Someone we care about is sick, our car needs repairs to make it safe to drive, or our home requires maintenance. Sometimes, our health is in jeopardy, and many doctors and nurses are needed to correct the problem. 

Often, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. I’m guilty of lumping all my problems into one basket, making them all equally serious when some are not as pressing as others. So, I have changed my outlook and turned my troubles into challenges. By making that simple change, I have changed an unfavorable view into a positive one. Admittedly, having a cheerful outlook on severe health or financial problems is challenging. Still, the options are whether to approach them with eagerness and determination or worry.

I must admit that two of my neighbors fighting cancer brought on my change. We all know that cancer is a severe and life-threatening battle. From my observations, these two people are living life on life’s terms and accept their daily struggles with courage and determination. I had carotid artery surgery a few weeks ago, and I used these two ladies as inspiration. By doing so, I’ve been able to remove any lingering worry about what could go wrong after surgery. My doc says there is a 2% chance of complications, and those odds are good, but what sustains me is my Christian faith and the inspiration of my two neighbors. Edith Wharton said, “There are two ways of spreading light: be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” My two neighbors are the candle, and I’m gonna be the mirror 😊.

🎯 A resident of our retirement village started a “Writers Club” a few weeks ago, and I joined it. About ten of us are eager to share our writing talent and learn something that will make us better at scribbling our thoughts on a blank piece of paper. My friend, Jane, wrote a story titled “I Am Still Me,” for the class I attended, and I was so moved by the thought and emotion she put into that beautiful article. I enjoyed it so much that I posted it on my website for everyone to enjoy (www.tommyhale.net). Of course, I asked her permission before doing so, and she politely gave it.

Many of us write letters to friends and loved ones, keeping open a line of communication that lends value to our relationships. All of us write, some a lot more than others, but we all express our thoughts on paper. Often, it’s a card that shows our joy at a special event (birthday, anniversary, etc.).

I have a cousin back home (Grundy, VA) who sends my wife and me a monthly letter. Mike always warns us his writing is not perfect and that he hopes we can read it. My good friend does not realize that we warmly welcome his thoughts into our lives. He provides us with updates on what’s happening within our family and other tidbits of interesting information. He keeps me connected to an extended family that’s far away. I hope that what I’m doing with my writing is keeping in touch with family and friends far removed from my environment but with whom I still want to be involved in my life. The most unfortunate thing about writing is that you seldom get feedback. There is a smattering of responses, but mostly, few do. I think that’s something writers get used to, believing that those we write to are enjoying our thoughts and opinions; they just don’t have the time to respond. I’m guessing it’s a little like when I buy something from Amazon, and they continually want me to rate their service 😊. I often ask my readers if they want to be removed from my mailing list, and few have requested that be done, so I’m encouraged by that. Oh, I forgot to mention that in the Writers Club’s last gathering, we were tasked to write three short stories of about 850 words for our meeting this month. I’m gonna try to squeeze in two 😊. Maybe, I should follow Joan Didion’s advice, “Do not whine… Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.” Geez, I thought I had spent enough time alone!

🎯 My wife and I went to the Seafood Festival of the small town we used to live in (Poquoson, VA). Because of Covid, they have not held it for a couple of years, so we were eager to attend. It started on a Friday and ended on Sunday. People came from many miles away to attend, and everyone had fun. There were food tents everywhere, and art & craft tents abounded. There was entertainment, usually a big-name band on Saturday night, and a place for the kids to cavort. We always purchase something while there, and this visit was no exception. We had planned to eat lunch, but they didn’t have the fried oysters we enjoy, so we wandered over to the soft-serve ice cream tent and plopped down $15 for two plastic cups of their delicious offerings. The young woman working behind the counter said to my wife, “What do you want, sweetheart?” and she promptly told her. She then turned to me, and I calmly asked her, “how did you know that’s what I call my wife?”. She replied anyone could tell that she was a “Sweetheart.” I agreed that was indeed a correct statement.

 I think many men have pet names for their wives & girlfriends, but I haven’t noticed that so much with women. Maybe men don’t take too kindly to being called pet names. Perhaps it, somehow, takes away from their masculinity? My wife said the soft-serve lady called me “Honey,” but I was unaware of it. Three hours later, having walked over two miles, per our Fitbit, we headed for our car and home, exhausted from weaving around several thousand people, all determined to have a good time. On our way home, we quickly calculated how much we had spent while there, and it was close to $100. Regardless of how tired we were or the money spent, we had a good time, and that was the purpose of the trip.

I think it’s essential that we have something to look forward to, if not every day, then at least every week. Sometimes, that’s hard to do, but we must not forget to make it happen. The past month has been a whirlwind for us, with each of us having surgery. But that’s behind us now, we have a one day trip planned for next week and a trip up north (PA, CT, NY) to visit family and friends at the end of the month. We know the time will come when we’ll be too old to travel, but it hasn’t arrived yet thank goodness. Richard Restak (neurologist) said, “We are what we can remember.” Richard should know that we are really trying to make memories, and so far, we can remember most of them 😊.      


My Sermon For Christ


                       

🎡 I ran across this question the other day: What would your sermon be about if you had the opportunity to preach to Christ? I gave that some thought, then, on my next visit to our Sunday church service, I asked our minister (Pastor Bob) that question. He thought for a moment and said he really didn’t know; he would have to give it some thought. That was good advice.

 After long deliberation, I know what my sermon would be. I would tell Jesus how much his wisdom has affected the world, making us strive to be better than our innate self wanted to be, thanking him for sacrificing his life to atone for our sins, and expressing our gratitude for our many blessings. Then, I would ask him what Heaven’s like since there isn’t a detailed description of it in the bible, to my knowledge. If I get in, will I see my parents, grandparents, and other loved ones? Since they don’t have their earthly body, will I be able to recognize them?

I would ask him if he would revise the Ten Commandments or leave them as they are. Then I would ask him about the elephant in the room: Am I living a life that will get me admitted into Heaven? Heck, I might even ask him about John the Baptist or if he (Christ) had any siblings. How old was he when he knew his Father had given him special powers? Does he let his angels visit us occasionally? Has he really counted every hair on our head, or is it his way of saying he’s watching us closely? Does he really know what’s in our hearts, or does he judge us based on our actions?

The obvious question I need to ask myself is: have I asked him these questions in my prayers? The answer is a very positive “NO.” That doesn’t seem like something I need to include in my prayers. I have read the bible from cover to cover, looking for the answers, and could not get them clearly resolved.

Sometimes I feel that I’m not sure of anything. As a young boy, I loved the smell of snow. As an adult, I’m not sure I have ever smelled snow. What would I do if I saw an angel? Would that convince me beyond doubt there is a heaven?

How would Christ feel if I delivered a sermon in his presence? He would feel like it was an inquisition instead of a sermon. Arthur Conan Doyle said, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” Maybe that’s my problem 😊.

🎡 I read an article that said a Yale research study found that listeners have a good chance of discerning whether someone has a college degree by listening to the person speak just seven words. At first thought, well, what are the seven words? Turns out it can be any word; it makes no difference. Within seven of them, you can tell if a person has a college degree. The people that performed the research did not talk to me because, regardless of my many years on this planet, I cannot determine if a person is college educated within their first seven words. I don’t believe how intelligent you are is determined by the sheepskin on your wall.

Today, college is more important than when I was a youngster. Back in the mid-20th century, a high school diploma was all that was required to land a job that paid a decent salary. Today, an undergraduate degree often isn’t enough to get great jobs. I’m more inclined to believe you can discern someone’s educational level by their bearing, not their choice of words. My granddaughter, Christine, has a Ph.D., and I challenge anyone to tell that by talking to her. She always talks on the level of the people she is with and is never condescending. Many of us think that if you are well educated, it automatically qualifies you as being intelligent, failing to understand there are many worthless college degrees, some available with minimal effort.

I’m more inclined to judge people by their ideas and how they express themselves than anything else. I enjoy people that speak concisely and thoughtfully. I grew up as a “hill Billy” and used the colloquial words “han’t” (I have not) and “ain’t (am not, has not, have not, is not, are not). I dropped the former(‘han’t’) by the time I was in the 7th grade, but I still use the latter often 😊. I’ll bet if the Yale surveyors interviewed me and I used “ain’t, they would drop me in the bucket that said, “no college,” and they would be wrong. I wonder if it would surprise them that I have listened to 743 audiobooks since January 2007. I have been a lover of books my entire life. I remember reading comic books at age five, trying to figure out the words hovering above the mouths of the characters within. By the time I was in the third grade, I had a stack of comic books almost as tall as I was. No one in my circle of friends could read better than I, and that love of reading has been with me all my life. No, I don’t have an enormous collection of physical books, but I have a database filled with audiobooks and the ratings I gave each. I can tell you when I purchased it and when it was read. I have traveled the world, been into outer space and plunged ocean depths, by listening to these books. Come to think of it, I would rather judge someone by the books they read than by whether they went to college. In Matthew, Chapter 7, verse 1 of the Bible it says, “Judge not, they ye be not judged.” I need to pay more attention that verse 😊.

🎡 My wife is often amused that I use hand gestures as I talk. I was unaware of it, so I started paying attention, and sure enough, she was right. Now, I pay attention to others to see if they do the same thing, and so far, it’s a mixed bag. I have concluded that those of us that do, are using our hands to illustrate what we’re trying to say. I believe that we are more intense in trying to convince someone of what we’re saying, and we bolstered that belief with the movements of our arms and hands. A crude but prime example would be if I used the F*** word and flipped you the bird. I have never made that obscene gesture.

Along with hand gestures, I’m impressed with people that laugh easily. I think the ability to laugh reveals a personality that is open to humor and resistant to depression. I have known quite a few depressed people, and none smiled easily or talked positively. When I meet new people for the first time, I look for an amiable smile and a cheerful outlook. I have an extensive list of friends with those qualities and a few that don’t. I think cheerful people have a light in their eyes that rejoices the heart and renews a belief that something good lies in wait just around the corner. They believe no exercise strengthens the heart more than reaching down and lifting someone up. So, look for those traits when looking for a friend. It has always worked for me. Now you know my secret. 😊

 Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little.” Hmm, that’s probably not the quote I wanted to use here. 😊


I Hate Being Wrong!


🎡 I hate to be wrong. It always makes me feel diminished when I discover that what I thought was true is not true. Somehow, I have associated being right with being good and being wrong, if only occasionally 😊, making me somewhat less than I should be. From what I have read, the psychological theory of “cognitive dissonance” (holding conflicting ideas simultaneously) prevents us from realizing we are wrong. My understanding of that condition is when your actions contradict your beliefs. Examples of that would be smoking while knowing the health risk or telling a lie while considering yourself an honest person. These conflicts usually result in feelings of anxiety or worse.
Often, upon finding out we were wrong about something, we feel offended and double down with the belief that we were right. I recently commented on the history of the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. I falsely believed they had a shared history and that many Ukrainians felt a kinship to Russia before the current war began. My good friend (Jerry) corrected me, informing me that wasn’t true. A lot of air swiftly left my sails, and I was determined to prove my opinion correct. Sadly, after researching, I discovered that only 17% of Ukraine’s population is Russian. Even though they were founding members of the Soviet Union, their history is twisted.
As I read on, I could feel the disbelief within me growing. How could I be so wrong when I follow current events closely? The thought was that if I was wrong about this, maybe I was wrong about many other things.
That brings me back to the “cognitive dissonance” question. Why would I believe I’m always right in my assumptions when I know deep down I’m not? It always “gets my goat” when I realize I was mistaken about something. The people I know that easily accept being corrected when they are wrong deserve my respect. As Carl Sagan expressed so wisely, “Let us temper our criticism with kindness. None of us comes fully equipped.” Heck yeah!

🎡 I was a little upset when I read recently that an early indicator of memory issues is giving up on reading books of fiction. The article said that when dementia starts, people switch to reading nonfiction. The reasoning behind it is that fiction requires active engagement with the text, starting at the beginning and working through to the end. In other words, you must remember what the character did on page four when you get to page twelve; otherwise, what happens on that page makes no sense. That worries me a bit because I have switched almost entirely to nonfiction within the last year. The audiobook I’m currently listening to is “Vicksburg” by Donald L. Miller, and I have to go back many months to find a fictional one.
I don’t know why I worry about dementia so often. Maybe it’s because I see so much of it around me. The other day, an article said that you lose ten points in your IQ between the ages of 50–70, which made me wonder what it was from 70 to 81. Daily, I do several things that test my ability to recall things: citing all our presidents in chronological order, the alphabet backward, and a plan to add all our vice presidents and first ladies. These things will help me, I hope, ward off or delay the dreaded dementia that every intelligent person predicts will rear its ugly head in my life one day. Perhaps I will be lucky, defy the odds, and escape its grasp completely. My wife thinks I worry too much about stuff like that, but my reasoning is that if I know it can happen, I should try to prevent it. Joan Didion said, “The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” That’s precisely what I’m trying to do. 😊.

🎡 I remember Flip Wilson in a comedy routine where he said, “I’m gonna pray now; anyone want anything?”. That thought brought a smile to my face. I’m guilty of asking God for many things, and I’m sure he tires of my endless pleas. My Aunt Beulah turned 93 earlier this year, and many love her dearly. Last week I was told that she has pneumonia and Covid. My heart sank as the memories I had of her during my childhood came flooding back. We all have special people in our lives, and we believe they will always be there, but we all know that’s not how life works. I pray that He will allow her to stay with us a little longer.
My friend Reese told me once that life is like a bus. As it moves down the street, people get on and off. In my long life, many of the people I love have gotten off the bus, and I know my turn will come in due time, but it doesn’t lessen the pain of losing a cherished family member or friend.
I can’t remember the winter I turned old, but I’m guessing it was in my 60s when you’re supposed to reach the age of wisdom. It’s fair to wonder when that wisdom thing happens if, in fact, it does at all. We all implore it to arrive before we get the door knock from the “Grim Reaper,” but we have no guarantees.
My Aunt Beulah was a beautician before she changed careers and went to college and studied to become a schoolteacher. She taught in our two-room schoolhouse when I was in elementary school. Grades 1-3 were in the first room and 4-6 in the second. I was in fourth grade, and my brother Jerry was in 3rd, so she taught him, not me. We all admired her teaching skills and kindness. I’m confident many people remember her from her many years of teaching. We have all had special teachers in our lives, and we know they cannot be memorable as teachers unless they are unique as human beings. That describes my Aunt Beulah very well.
They have moved her from the hospital to a rehab facility, and we plan on going back home to visit her soon. I pray for her recovery.

🎡 This certainly has been a hot summer, and we are being told that it’s all because of “Climate Change.” The people in charge of everything seem to think that those of us in charge of nothing aren’t doing what’s beneficial for our climate. They are wrong because I know many of us are engaged in recycling and reducing energy consumption. We are all aware that we cannot continue to pollute our environment and expect future residents of this beautiful planet to enjoy the life we have been privileged to live. We are moving towards having our energy needs met by nuclear, solar, and wind power. A movement is also underway to switch from gasoline-powered personal transportation to electric vehicles. Our country consumes about twenty million barrels of petroleum daily (7 billion per year). We cannot vaporize that much fuel and expect our weather to stay the same. It’s little wonder that our climate is close to being toxic.
Oddly, I was unaware of this as a younger man. Of course, I was unaware of the dangers of smoking as well. We cannot correct the things unknown to us, but we should always correct our harmful ways after we gain that knowledge. Many years ago, a close relative was told she had diabetes and could manage it without help if she changed her diet to one more healthy and lost weight. She took charge, signed up for Weight Watchers, and began immediately losing weight. That lasted about a year, then she returned to her old habits and suffered from diabetes for the rest of her life.
We all can be good environmentalists when gasoline is $2.00/gallon, but everyone wants the oil barons to pump more oil when it’s the price of a bucket of diamonds. Somehow, we have to summon the courage to look past our current miseries and start planning on leaving a planet that was just as good as it was when we arrived. It will require sacrifices, but I believe we are up to it. We must avoid making an initial effort and then giving up because it’s too difficult. Anton Chekhov said, “One must be a god to tell successes from failures without making a mistake.” I don’t think so😊.


Ten Years Kaput!


🎡 A few days ago, I sent my old iPad (2012) to a close family member, hoping she could still put it to beneficial use. I used it primarily for guitar practice, but it was no longer what I needed, so I replaced it with a new one. But before I gave it away, I needed to wipe all my information off and reset it back to its original state. 

I downloaded the instructions on how to do that from the internet and began completing the steps shown. As I sat there and watched what was being removed, I realized that ten years of my life, my vacation notes, schedules, music, and pictures of visits with friends and relatives were being wiped clean. 

After all the tasks were completed, and the iPad was back to its original state, I felt a little sad. I’m confident that almost everything was backed up, but I know some things were not and are gone forever. Oh well, such is the way of life. I just hope that the disc between my two ears never needs resetting 😊.

🎡 I ran across this quote by Masami Saionji and could not discern its intent: “What you think about day and night forms your character and personality.”

My first thought was if you prefer one over the other, it reveals something about you versus someone who has no preference. I cannot see that if you like night to day, it makes your life more interesting, or if you prefer day, it makes you less so. I am more inclined to believe that people who prefer night are younger because that’s when they attend parties, ball games, etc. People that prefer days are, in my opinion, older and use daylight for getting things done, the evenings for winding down, and by 10:30 pm, headed for bed and a quiet night’s sleep. 

As far as a preference for day or night forming your personality, I’m inclined to believe it is strictly age-related and has very little to do with it. However, John 3:19-20 says: “The light has come into the world and the children of men loved the darkness more than the light, because their works were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” Of course, Masami could be referring to what you think about all the time, in which case, I missed the whole point of the quote 😊.

🎡 For most of us, friendships are an important part of our life. Before my wife and I moved into our retirement center, our interactions with friends daily were very few. We had a few in our neighborhood but seldom visited their homes. After moving to our new home here in the retirement community, friends abound, and we have daily contact with many of them. This has made our life abundantly happier. Every study I have read stresses the importance of being social, interacting with others daily, and avoiding isolation. 

 Recently, I affectionally accused a good friend of becoming a hermit because we hadn’t seen her for several weeks. She wrote back, asking what my definition of a hermit was? I told her it was someone who stayed in their home, never venturing out to meet others 😊. Her reply convinced me she was still socially active and thus required an apology from me.

I believe it’s important to stress to friends and family the importance of daily contact with others. I see it all the time in our community, and I cannot overemphasize how important it is to be included in our daily routine. William Blake said, “The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” Amen, brother Blake, amen.

🎡 A few weeks ago, after an ultrasound, I was told that my right carotid artery was 80-90% clogged. My family doctor sent me to see a neurologist (brain). He informed me I had nothing to worry about, stressing there are plenty of other ways for blood to get to my brain. Later, I had an appointment with a cardiovascular surgeon, who advised me I didn’t need surgery. So far, two ultrasound technicians have told me my situation was critical, and three doctors have suggested no surgery. Naturally, I will do what the docs say, but it would be much simpler if everyone agreed. The surgeon said there was a 2% chance of a stroke within five years without surgery and a 1.5% chance after surgery. That seems like a simple decision for me. As William Inge said, “Worry is interest paid on trouble before it falls due.”

🎡 I visited a website recently that asked me to put in my birthdate, I did, and it told me that I was older than 98% of the eight billion people on this planet. That was sobering! I knew that being eighty-one, I was older than a lot of people, but being in the top 2%? That bothered me until I realized the alternative (dying) wasn’t a superb option. 

I realize that living a long, healthy life is a blessing and that I shouldn’t be troubled by the passing of so many years. I still have my health, life is full of family and friends, and joy abounds everywhere. If there’s any sadness, it’s in knowing that life isn’t filled with unlimited days, and the limited number is getting closer and closer to the horizon. 

I remember when my daughter was about five years old, and we were on a trip to visit my parents (about 10 hours away), she would constantly ask me, “How much farther, daddy?” Today, I’m guilty of asking The Lord, “How much longer, Lord?” He has steadfastly refused to reveal that number 😊.

I have accepted that the more wrinkles that mock me in the mirror, the more I think about the past. They seem to appear overnight, when just the day before, there wasn’t a hint of the one that just appeared. I’m reminded of an advertisement all of us have seen on TV, with an old guy and his wife standing in front of a barn. He’s wearing bib overalls, has a pitchfork in one hand, and both of them have a plaintive look on their faces. I’m probably that guy without the overalls. My wife is not that gal 😊.

🎡 My youngest granddaughter and her husband (Chelsea/Jake) visited us last week, and it was a joy to have them with us. It was a very active week, but we enjoyed our time together.

We chose one day to take a trip across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (17.5 miles) and traveled up the eastern shore to Chincoteague Island. On another day, we visited our national capital (Washington, DC), but their favorite hangout was playing in the Atlantic Ocean at Virginia Beach. 

It was so much fun watching two young people suck in so much of life’s joy. We spent quite a few nights talking until midnight about the day’s activities and their plans for the future. I can remember being their age, I just don’t remember having that much fun 😊. They left with the promise they would be back before long. I followed their 14-hour journey home to Tennessee the next day, realizing they were getting farther and farther away. They stopped near Roanoke, VA, and got gas for $3.92/gallon. That brought a smile to my face. Gasoline here has been up to $5.08/gallon recently. 

I have three granddaughters and two grandsons (bonus), which all bring us joy. The one we see the most (Brandon) lives 20 minutes away, and he visits us often. The other grandson (Chris) lives in California, and we are lucky to see him once a year. Brandon maintains my website (www.tommyhale.net), so we are in frequent contact with each other. The thought has crossed my mind that our grandchildren are tiring of their needy grandparents 😊.

“We are not children twice, as the saying is, but forever; The difference is that we play bigger games.” ~ Seneca the Younger   


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