⚽ I Took my wife to our local Kroger grocery store today (2/28/20), dropped her off, and headed off to walk three miles on the local trail with a close family member. After the walk was complete (7,500 steps), I went back to the store and walked down the aisle to Starbucks to get a cup of their delicious coffee. As I stood in line and waited, I pushed a button on my watch and when the attendant took my order; I held up my watch and she scanned the bar-code proudly displayed on my watch. That was the first time I have ever paid for anything using my watch. Normally, when I get coffee at Starbucks, I pay with my cellphone. As I departed with a steaming cup of java warming my cold hands, I was reminded that as a kid in the 1940s, Dick Tracy, in Sunday’s cartoon paper, made phone calls using his wristwatch. I’ll betcha that somewhere out there, someone has a watch that’ll make a phone call just like old Dick. Maybe, before I kick that old bucket, I’ll have one. 😊
As my wife and I left Kroger’s and headed towards the truck with our groceries, I asked her how the shopping went and she responded, “I made out like a bandit”. That made me smile because I know how much she likes to work store coupons. I know that at this stage in our comfortable lives, coupons aren’t as vital as when we were young, but I think it’s great that she still tries to save. I asked her once why she still worked coupons so diligently and she responded that it was a hobby. I believe that regardless of our age, or income, “making out like a bandit” pleases us all.
Dr. William Menninger said so wisely, “The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead.” Now, that dog will hunt!
⚽ “Almost half the entire adult population (USA) — have pre-diabetes or diabetes. Cardiovascular disease afflicts about 122 million people and causes roughly 840,000 deaths each year, or about 2,300 deaths each day. Three in four adults are overweight or obese. More Americans are sick, in other words, than are healthy… New York Times.
Now that is scary! I’ve been worrying about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and it appears that I should be more concerned about my weight and what I eat. In fact, the odds of me dying from that virus is a mere.4%. That means the odds are 99.6% in favor of me not dying from it. There is also a 1 in 100,000 probability that I will get infected. That means there is a 00001% probability that I will get infected. If I get infected, there is a 2% chance I will die from it. I know that I should not ignore that terrible virus, but I also know that I should worry more about the flu virus that has hit us hard nationwide. One of my granddaughters told me the other day that she had missed work because of the flu virus, and when I asked her if she had taken the flu shot, she responded that she had. So, the shot doesn’t guarantee 100% protection, but if you contact the virus, studies show it will lessen the symptoms. I have long known that to prevent the possibility of contracting a virus, I should wash my hands often. In church on Sundays we have “Meet & Greet” during our church service (shake hands & greet other church members). My wife and I always make sure we wash our hands upon arriving home. I’m confident our fellow churchgoers do the same. Our minister informed the congregation today that he would suspend that part of our service temporarily. It is recommended that after washing our hands, we use a paper towel to dry them.
So, I have resolved to not worry inordinately about COVID-19 but keep up with its ability to spread easily. I plan on becoming anti social until a vaccine is developed, or it goes away due to warmer weather. I know that is impossible for those that must go to work or school every day. But for this old retired guy, that seems the most feasible road for me to travel. I’m hoping that when warmer weather arrives in April that this monster of a virus will disappear like SARS did in 2003 and MERS in 2012. There’s reason to think that may happen since COVID-19 matches 79% of the SARS virus and 50% of MERS.
If you want to read an excellent article on this deadly virus, click on this link.
William Feather said, “The very moment everything looks serene, all hell breaks loose”. Oh, how true those words are for most of us.
⚽ I read recently that only 2% of people have green eyes and I thought that was interesting. It is a result of pigmentation combined with the natural coloring of the eye that everyone has. The two colors mix to create that wonderful color. I have been married twice and both of my wives have that color, so I just assumed that it was common. To my surprise, 8% of the people in the world have blue eyes, and the most common eye color is brown (which I have). It is thought that up to 16 genes affect eye color, so it is possible for siblings not to have the same color eyes, and they may be different from their parents. Studies show that people with brown eyes are considered more trustworthy, but we all know that’s just not a good basis for trust 😊. Those of us with brown eyes enjoy some health benefits, such as being less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, Type 1 diabetes, and hearing loss. I always believed that blue eyes were rare and green and brown were common. And I always thought that people with blue eyes tended to be smarter.
I remember being in the 8th grade (1955) and being an avid reader of the “Readers Digest”. Mom was also, and I sorta picked it up from her. She saved copies of them all the way back to 1935. I recall reading in one of those books that you could tell a person’s intelligence by the color of their eyes and the order was from bright to not so bright (blue, green and brown in that order). That put me smack-dab in the “not so bright” group, and I was devastated. So, from that point on I tried to prove to myself that I did not deserve to be there. As bad as I felt at the time, it was probably a good thing for me to read because it encouraged me to try harder. Kinda reminds me of the old Johnny Cash song about “A Boy Named Sue”. Of course, some academics today still dabble in the theory that you can intuit intelligence by eye color but most studies indicate that those of us with darker eyes have darker skin and, therefore, less opportunity to advance our education, hence, not as smart as our brethren with lighter colored eyes. I have known three exceptionally smart people in my life. One had blue eyes and the other two had brown. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
Some wise person once said something to the effect, “Intelligence is not something possessed forever. It requires you to be open-minded, with a will to learn, and the courage to adjust anew.”
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. (Wow#57)
⚽ I read recently that forty of the fifty tallest mountains on earth are in Pakistan. I had absolutely no idea of that fact, showing just how little, I know about our planet’s geography. But, thinking back to my childhood, I can easily understand why I’m so clueless in that area. I was in the fourth grade, Ms. Nichols was my teacher, the Geography book was large with pictures, and I would prop it up on my desk, lay my head down on my hands and go to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, she was a wonderful teacher, caring deeply about her students, but she couldn’t watch everyone all the time and I knew that. I got a lot of sleep in class that year and I’m guessing that’s why my geographical knowledge is deficient. Ms. Nichols was the first person to tell me that I was a good athlete and that I would do well in high school athletics. She was the first adult to be interested in teaching me about things I knew nothing about. I believe most adults are unaware that children want to be taught, to be made aware of things they have no idea even exist. And I’ll bet that all of you had that special teacher that was interested in teaching so that you could absorb what they wanted you to know. Just think of how hard it must be to teach a fifth grader mathematics, or history, and keep their attention. She taught me in grades 4 -6 in our little country 2-room school. Upon completion of the 6th grade I left for our local high school (grades 7–12), about 4 miles away and lost track of her, only seeing her occasionally. Looking back on how special she was, I hope she had a good, fruitful life. Within the last few years I have contacted her daughter, and we have become good friends. I doubt that she knows how many lives her mom touched in positive ways. Her many students owe her a debt of gratitude. Sadly, we only become aware of that as we grow older. I wonder if teachers can intuit a student’s appreciation. After all, it is the teachers we remember when we recall our educational experiences. Quite a few of my high school classmates went on to become teachers and I must admit, teachers make very good friends. I remember being on a cruise ship leaving Alaska and in the dining room, next to our table, was a table of perhaps 20 teachers on vacation. That was the happiest table in the room with laughter emanating constantly. What great fun it was to be close enough to enjoy their enthusiasm for life. So, my suggestion is, if you’re looking for a friend, go out and find a teacher, you won’t regret it.
⚽About six weeks ago I had some “floaters” appear in my right eye so off I go to see my optometrist. He splatters a few eyedrops into it and, using his complex equipment, tells me he thinks they will go away, but I should come back to see him before the end of the year. So, just a few days before the end of 2019 I walked into his office for my appointment, he plops a few more eyedrops in the offending eye, makes his exam and says everything looked great and that he will see me at my scheduled appointment next October. As I prepared to depart, he inquired as to what I was doing to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. “Well doc”, says I, “At my age, my wife and I don’t celebrate the coming of the new year as much as we celebrate being here to see it happen”.
Probably, regardless of our age, we should celebrate in that manner. Instead of writing down a list of 5 or 10 things we want to accomplish in the new year, we should just be thankful we are here to juggle the things life throws at us for another year. I must admit that I enjoy looking back over the past year at the twist and turns my life took. Invariably, there are moments of sheer joy but there are also times of incredible stress and sadness.
My Mother was, perhaps, the best person I knew that handled stress easily. If the problem was money, she would calmly say, “Tommy Joe, it’s only money, we still have our health to be thankful for. God will provide for us”. I was a teenager at the time, and I quite clearly remember thinking, “Mom, we’re almost destitute, are you sure God has the time to worry about us?” If the sadness was because someone dear to us had passed away, her response was always, “they’re in a better place”. That response never helped me much, but she was put to the test when Dad passed away. During that time, she seemed more worried about my brother and I than herself. She passed away 18 months later, leaving my brother, and I devastated.
I know that the arrival of a new year is celebrated around the world, and I want to be part of that if possible.
⚽ I have spent a lot of time recently, collecting the many leaves that fall from our trees and it is a worrisome job. I use my blower to dislodge the ones hiding behind the many shrubs that surround our home, and then I use my Craftsman yard vac to shred then into a thousand pieces before dumping them in a large compost pile my neighbor, Cal, uses for his garden in the Spring. As I have gotten older, the effort has become greater, but I keep doing it because I know the activity it requires is good for me. I think it is important, as we age, to maintain a certain amount of physical activity and gathering up those errant leaves provides me that opportunity.
I have often wondered if I didn’t have that activity, would I remember Fall? Yes, just like you, I enjoy the wonderful kaleidoscopes of colors it presents each year. Spring brings us colors also, but it’s not the trees so much as the flowers. Although, I must admit I enjoy seeing the verdant greens that come forth each time Winter fades, and warmer weather arrives. It has been said that, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. Well, sometimes I feel like I don’t know where I’m going and I’m willing to take just about any road that will get me to that place in life where I don’t have to rake leaves, cut grass, repair everything that breaks down and feel completely exhausted when the sun descends below the horizon. Some may think that only happens after you transition to the other side, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I want it to happen while I’m on the green side of the grass. David Thoreau said, “There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it, and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” I kinda think that’s not entirely true.
⚽I ran across this quote the other day and thought it interesting, “We are rarely proud when we are alone”. I’m inclined to agree with that thought, by whoever wrote it. I have been alone at times in my life, and I believe you can have someone around, but if they are disinterested in you, then you are alone. I remember playing four years of high school football, and doing quite well in that endeavor, but the person I wanted to impress the most was my mother, and she only attended one game. Dad was always there, but he would be drinking and embarrassed my brother and I in front of our classmates. I loved him dearly, but I hated for my friends to see him “high”. Anyway, no matter the success I had as an athlete, my mother wasn’t there to enjoy it with me, so I had a hard time being proud. I remember being single after my ex-wife and I divorced and doing things without someone with me. I would go to a movie without someone there to enjoy it with and I felt the emptiness that comes with being alone in this world with no one to share life’s adventures. Make no mistake, life is filled with wonderful moments if we choose to acknowledge them, but when we are alone, the colors of life are not quite so deep, the air is not quite as refreshing, and our accomplishments not quite as joyous. Some wise person once said, “When we want to ignore something, we don’t look too hard into the sunlight”. I avoided looking into the sunlight a lot as a younger person, but I find myself gazing into it often as I have gotten older 😊.
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.