Category: Tommy’s Current WoW

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! 😊

I Love Meat

It has been two months since my last missive, and I have missed the daily jotting down of things that roam aimlessly thru my mind.  Hopefully, I have mended my wasteful ways and am now back to allocating the 15 minutes each day I use for writing.  Whenever I lose interest, I go back to 2007/2008 and read some articles I wrote then, and they give me so much pleasure.  Things long forgotten are instantly brought back to memory.  Therein lies my motivation.      

⌘⚽ I’ll bet you are unaware that the most widely consumed meat on Earth is pork.  Personally, I thought it was chicken, but pork is consumed by 36% of Earthly residents and chicken is 2nd with 33%.  My favorite (beef), comes in at a mediocre 24%.  The average person in our country eats 51 lbs of pork each year. You guys are eating a lot of pork!

I’m confident my family doctor thinks I eat too much meat because each time I go in for my yearly physical he always hands me literature on healthy eating, and it never includes very much meat.  I probably wouldn’t be taking a cholesterol pill if I consumed less meat.  I used to eat a lot of steak, but after choking on it back in 2014 and almost losing my life, I switched to meat that wasn’t so dense.  Mostly now, my meat is chicken, hamburger, or something else that’s easily swallowed.  I remember that life-threatening event and it had a lasting impression (thanks to Cindy for saving my life). 

Sometimes, I wonder if we see the past as it actually happened, or do we intentionally forget certain aspects of what occurred.  I believe that all of us have some type of burden to carry from our past, but I also think our past is unchangeable and we should always try to put it out of our mind unless they are beneficial or beautiful memories. 

Anyway, back to the meat thing.  We all know that too much of it will eventually clog our arteries and generate all kinds of health problems.  I walk around with 200 lbs on a frame that my doc tells me should only have 175 lbs.  My only explanation is that, somehow, I believe I’m a healthy 200 lbs.  My doctor ordered an echocardiogram last week, so we’ll see what damage all that meat has done to my cardiovascular system.  I dunno how it can come back showing problems because I feel as healthy as a horse.  We’ll see.  I know that I’m a grateful recipient of undeserved grace.

Update:  The doctor’s office called and said everything looked good.  That made me feel better. 

⚽⌘ It seems as if the heat index for our area in Virginia has been over 100° for the past two weeks, thus, our thrice weekly walks really took its toll.  It would be easy to say, “to heck with it” and stay inside all day, waiting for cooler weather to prevail.  But, upon further reflection, I decided that wasn’t the choice I wanted to make, and it wasn’t a hard decision.  Over 200 years ago, families loaded all they had into wagons pulled by horses and trekked all the way from the Eastern Seaboard of our country to the shores of the Pacific coast.  They did that in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.  Heck, it’s hard for me to visualize anyone today driving a car that far without an air conditioner in it.  I wonder what the settlers of that time would think of the people we have become today.  Yes, I’m confident we still have strong, sturdy people that roll out of bed every morning and work outside in the extreme heat and cold, but a lot of us don’t, we stay inside and find things to do, rather than open the door and walk into a heat index of 110°. 

Well, I decided that I don’t want to be that guy, the one that stays inside and cowers from the heat, I want to stand straight and tall, breathe in that hot humid air and say, to no one in particular, bring it on, I can take it!  What I may have failed to mention is that part of my motivation comes from my wife.  She heads outside in just about any weather, except the rain, doesn’t want her hair to get wet, other than that she’s finding something to do out there.  The odd thing is, she never sweats, nothing, nada, not a drop of salty brine glistens on her forehead.   Turn your head and look in my direction and you would assume I was just in someone’s swimming pool with all my clothes on.  I don’t quite understand why a person doesn’t sweat when the temp is nudging 99°, but then again, she doesn’t have a lot of meat on her bones, unlike the more than plump guy standing beside her, apparently preparing for his role when Satan opens the gates of Hell.  I’m thinking the Lord believes that if he turns up the heat some of this fat will melt from my body, if only I have the willpower to step into his oven. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be a pioneer, but neither do I want to become a couch potato.  I’m going with an old proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, the second-best time is now”.  My take on that goes like this, “The best time to take a stand was ten years ago, the second-best time is now”.  So, tomorrow when that old temperature gauge heads towards 100°, I’m gonna step out into that oven and take a stand, refusing to stay inside where the temps stay around 78° all day and all night.  But I will be watching to see if the fat melts away 😊.  I am reminded of a quote by Saint Vincent de Paul “Be careful to preserve your health.  It is a trick of the devil which he uses to deceive kind souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything”.  Hmm, maybe I need to rethink this thing?

⌘-⚽ A few months ago, our longtime neighbors (Mary Beth & John) moved about four hours away and their lovely granddaughter (Beth Ann/ Alvin) took over their beautiful home.  We now have five handsome boys, anywhere from age 3 to age 12 living next door to us.  It saddened our hearts to see our friends move, but we knew it was the right decision.  They needed to be near their daughter (Robin/Greg) to get help with their health needs.  From experience, I know that as you travel thru life, people enter your circle, stay for a while, and then move on.  Some, you miss very little, and then some you miss a lot.  Mary Beth and John will be missed terribly.  The good news is that when we are finished with COVID-19, we can go visit them.  It looks like that will happen in the Spring of 2021 (7 months).  By then, we will have been marching in place for a year.  That’s a lot of time to relinquish to a virus, especially when you get older and the years you have left get fewer. 

Our time “hunkered down”’ here at home isn’t a total disaster.  We have visited with family, always using a face mask and social distancing, and gone to the grocery/drug stores for food and other necessities.  We spend a lot of time outside working in the yard, hovering over every weed that pops up and immediately sentencing it to the gallows.  As soon as a gumball or pinecone hits the ground, it is pounced on and deposited into my handy cart for disposal.  As you can tell, I have too much time on my hands.  I also spend a lot of time on my PC, but that happens whether we are in the middle of a pandemic, or not 😊. 

If I had to decide what activity I miss the most during this stressful time, it would be visiting my family and friends.  While all the other stuff is important, bus trips to other cities, dining out weekly, attending church in lieu of virtual services, etc. I miss visiting those dear to me the most.  Arthur Brisbane said it best, “A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute.  He may not seem such a good friend after the telling” 😊. 

Wherever you are in this world, I hope your family loves you as much as mine loves me.  I know you will return their love abundantly.  That is my intent as well.  I am always grateful that you take the time to read my missives.  Until next time, be well….Tommy