How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

A close up of an hourglass on top of a rock

On March 27th Jerilyn’s brother, Wayne, passed away.  He was 72 years old, suffered from juvenile diabetes and for the past 5 years and was on dialysis.  Wayne was a good guy, a genius with all things mechanical and could talk on almost any subject.  A conversation with him was entertaining and informative.  I didn’t always agree with him, but I always enjoyed him.  He was my “go to guy†if I had problems with my lawn tractor (I bought it from him).  His niece, Rachel, gave a moving eulogy at his funeral.  You could easily sense how much those dear to him were going to miss him.  The world definitely needs more people like Wayne Moger.

I just recently finished preparing and submitting my tax forms and as luck would have it, I received a change from a firm we own stock in that changes the way the dividends are reported.  The change is so significant (positively), that we will need to amend our returns.  Like you, I despise the paperwork required to file tax returns.  To my way of thinking, everyone that makes over $30,000 per year pays 10% and voila it is done!  The important thing here is the politicians would not be allowed to tinker with it.  If they did, eventually, it would have so many exceptions we would be back to where we are now.  The other thing I would do is require all of our different governments (federal,state,local) to balance their budgets.  They should only be allowed to borrow money for emergencies and that would have to be approved by a council of ordinary citizens (not politicians).  I know all of this sounds overly simplistic, but I have discovered that “simple†can add value to plenty of things.

On June 12th & 13th Jerilyn and I will be attending my 50th high school class reunion in my hometown.  We have one every 5 years and they are always enjoyable.  With this visit I am able to look at my classmates and discern how much I have aged.  Every morning I get up, wash my face, shave and look in the mirror as I comb my hair, noticing the wrinkles that slowly spread, like swampland from too much rain, all over my face.  I read that if you smile too much it will cause wrinkles (Sophia Loren).  I must have had a constant smile most of my life.    On the bright side I get discounts at all the stores without asking and I get called “sir†a lot.  People open doors for me often and inform me to be careful when I have to step up or down something.  My mother said to me one time, several years before she passed away, “Tommy Joe, how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?†.  My answer now probably would be 50, but I have to admit, these old bones are showing their wear and tear.

I have been working on installing an outside light down by the pier.  This project has taken much longer than I anticipated.  I had to dig a trench 120 feet, past several trees and thru two flower beds.  The light is mounted 15 feet high on one of our trees.  Being one that doesn’t like heights has proven to be a real hindrance to this project.  I have several friends that have fallen off ladders and been severely injured, so this hasn’t helped me in my effort to overcome this fear.  The need for the light became necessary when our neighbors down the creek (Dick & Millie) had their light go on the fritz  and were unable to get it working.  Jerilyn depended on that light to be able to see when it was raining at night.  The unhappiness on her face was not what I wanted to see, hence the need for the light.  Thankfully, the project is nearing the end.  At least the hard part is done (digging the trench and mounting the light).

Two of our dear friends (Dick & Millie) moved to North Carolina a few weeks ago.  We were sad to see them go.  Both of them were very active in our church (Tabernacle United Methodist) and Millie sang in the choir.  They moved into a retirement community out there to be near their daughter.  To do so, they needed to downsize their belongings.  I currently am the proud owner of Dick’s boat, his weather station, several winches, a pair of work shoes and  a real nifty hat.  Every day I put his shoes on I think of him.  What a nice reminder of a dear friend.

A single friend of mine wrote me recently about being lonely.  I was able to commiserate with her, because, I too, experienced that after my first wife and I separated.  I have come to the conclusion that life is like having all your friends and relatives on a bus.  That bus runs the same route constantly.  People you care for get off and never get back on.  Loneliness and sadness occur  each time that happens.  You try to replace those dear people with the new passengers that get on.  There seems to be a need to have a certain occupancy level on that bus.  I believe we all need a network of friends to make our life enjoyable.  None of us want to ride the bus of life alone.  At some point our turn comes to step off that bus.  I will judge my life on how many of those remaining miss me.

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

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