I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning to the end.
He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears.
But, he said, what mattered most of all–was the dash between those years.
For the dash represented all the time she spent alive on Earth.
But now only those that loved her know what that little line was worth.
For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.
What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spent our dash.
So, think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change.
For you never know how much time is left, you could be at dash mid-range.
If we could just slow down enough, to consider what’s true and real.
And always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more,
And love the people in our lives, like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile.
Remembering that the special dash might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read and your life’s action to rehash.
Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent the dash
… Author Unknown
֎ On a recent Sunday, my daughter(Debby) and I were at my son’s house (Rusty), sitting out under the canopy on his driveway and chatting about the past week’s events. All of a sudden, a storm hit and it rained “cats & dogs” (an old southern term meaning a downpour). The rain was so hard we could barely hear each other talk. Slowly, the water began to gather around our feet and his Pomeranian dog(Grace) jumped up into my lap to escape getting wet. As the thunder boomed off in the distance my mind wandered back to when I was a kid. The house I lived in with Mom, Dad, and brother Jerry, had a tin roof and whenever it rained at night, the constant pitter patter echoed down to our bedroom and lulled us to sleep. After graduating from high school in 1959, I moved away and all our homes had asphalt roofs, so the lullaby of rain on the roof disappeared. My wife and I replaced our roof in 2009 and I wanted to replace it with aluminum and bring back the sounds that rain generated during our quiet moments. But, alas, my wife was against it, and we had our asphalt shingles replaced with the same type, just a different color and style. As I sat there with my two children (their mother passed away in 2014) and watched the rain pour down, I was content to be isolated with them for about 45 minutes, where no one else would enter and none of us could leave. We were stranded on an island for that brief period of time and nothing could interrupt us, except the pounding of liquid on the metal canopy that protected us from a drenching. It reminded me of the many hours the three of us sat and talked in the living room of our small house when they were youngsters. The TV was right there in front of us, but we never turned it on. We just sat and talked for hours. My son and I still do that a lot, but not so much with my daughter. She seems to be caught-up doing other things. I don’t really know who’s to blame for this but Shakespeare said it quite eloquently, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
֎ “Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.” – Sir Francis Bacon
I ran across this quote the other day and found it very interesting. Sometimes, thoughts are expressed so clearly it causes one to pause. I’m sure that I have always felt that those among us that are well read are more knowledgeable and better prepared to face life’s difficulties than those of us that would rather watch TV or be lying on the beach. As far as the “conference” thing, I have often heard that, “Those who can, do, and those that can’t, hold a conference”. As far as writing making a man exact… I’m not so sure. For me, writing certainly allows me to precisely align my thoughts, but I’m not sure it goes a long way in making me more exact. In other words, having my thoughts aligned doesn’t insure that my process is as thorough as it should be, just that they are in order. I do compliment Mr. Bacon for causing me to pause and reflect upon his thoughts.
֎ My wife retrieved a bottle of weed killer from the storage cabinet and encouraged me to get out the water hose, attach the bottle, and spray the weeds that were taking over a large part of our yard. Of course, it is necessary to cover all exposed skin, wear safety glasses, and protect any flowers & shrubs from any overspray. The sun was shining robustly and the temp was around 80°, making all the clothing I had on a little discomforting. Eventually, the task was accomplished, the water hose was stored, and the contaminated clothing exchanged for some things much more comfortable. After lunch, I walked outside to get another chore underway, and I was certain I could hear weeds groaning in pain as they commenced the process of wilting away. In the back of my mind, I was worried that some of the poison will attach itself to various shrubs/flowers my wife planted. I had that happen before and it is not a good experience. There is an old African Proverb that says, “If you want peace in the house, do what your wife wants.”
֎ Recently, as my wife and I were headed outside to do some chores, she started to say something and I interrupted, completing her sentence for her. She commenced to complete her thought and it wasn’t close to my summation of her thought. She quickly commented, “You thought you could read my mind didn’t ya?” I responded that, “My life would be so much simpler if I could”. I think, perhaps, most of us guys feel the same way. When The Lord made man I imagine he said, “Now what can I do improve this human when I make a woman?” He started his work and made many improvements including: adding a dash more caring, taking out a lot of aggression, adding more kindness, removing a desire to bully, adding a greater ability to love, and finally, a double dash of humility and faithfulness. For a reason known only to Him, he made her smaller in stature, making her vulnerable to physical abuse. Fortunately, we have laws in our country (USA) that punish men that choose to abuse women. Regrettably, there are many countries that treat women as second class citizens, or as indentured servants. I doubt that I’ll see that change in my lifetime, but I can always hope! An old Talugu Proverb says, “When three women join together, the stars come out in broad daylight”. I absolutely believe that to be true!
֎ “Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” – Edna Ferber
I must say that I agree with that quote. I think a lot of us enjoy too much of some things and what immediately comes to mind is a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Perhaps, her meaning went much deeper than that simple example, but it you never know what’s important to someone. I also think that I drink too much coffee, smoke too many cigars, and wash the truck too often. My biggest “too much” has to be sitting in front of the computer. Some people probably play too much golf or eat out too many times each week. As you see, this list could go on and on but I’ll put it to rest by saying that I think most of us tend to overdo the things we really enjoy. As long as what we’re doing is not destructive, unhealthy, or annoying to others, we should, within reason, do those things as often as we want. When I read the quote above, I just started writing my thoughts to see where it would take me and, sure ‘nuff, the next thing I knew I’m standing on the stump preachin’ like there’s no tomorrow 😊. It brings to mind a quote by Melanie Benjamin, “When you write things down, they sometimes take you places you hadn’t planned.” Yup, that hit me smack-dab between the eyes!
֎ The other day as I changed into my yard working clothes, I donned my wireless earbuds and attached my iPod to my belt so I could listen to my current book on tape, “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath”. Instead of securing the iPod to my belt, I decided to just attach it to the part that extends past the latch. Then out the door I go, headed toward the shed to startup my yard vacuum and complete the compacting of the remaining leaves left over from our bitter winter months. I’m a couple of hours into the book, busily sucking in leaves destined for destruction when suddenly, my earbuds went silent! I thought that perhaps I had accidentally mashed the “Pause” button on my headset so I pushed the button to resume the narration and nothing happened. I looked down at my belt to retrieve the iPod and it was missing! Quickly glancing around and not finding it the realization swept over me that it had fallen off my belt and been sucked into the yardvac. Unavoidably, it was now broken into a million pieces. Sometimes I forget what stupidity feels like, but then something like this happens and I quickly remember. As it spread across my body, I could only stand there and let it work its magic. At my age I thought I had used up all my “stupid moments”, but alas, I can discard that idea. Shortly after it happened I told my wife about it, half-way expecting some type of criticism, but she smiled softly and let it pass. I guess she could see the shame in my face. Reminds me of the quote by Chanakya, “Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.”
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
֎ I believe Carl has hit upon something with that quote. As a younger man I felt as though I had an inexhaustible supply of days left, and I spent a lot of them unwisely. I guess I still do. I watch way too much TV and, truth be known, I spend too much time setting at my desk staring at the computer. I think we have to be careful about what we consider wasteful. Time spent doing things you enjoy are a plus and should be pursued at every opportunity.
A good example of this is my wife’s iron went on the fritz the other day and she asked me to take a look at it to see if it could be fixed. I said I would, so off to my workshop I headed with the dread of taking this thing apart and, probably, never getting it fully reassembled. It didn’t take me long to spot the problem and before long I handed it to her and said that I thought it was ready for use. Was that time well spent? I think so. My wife was pleased to have her old trusty iron back, and I enjoyed the look on her face as I handed it to her. It seems that one of my many quests in this life is to see the expression on her face that says, “I love you”. Any amount of time I spend doing that is never time not well spent.
֎ Well, today (4/26/18) I awoke with a big smile on my face. As it happens, I get to help a very important person in my life celebrate her 79th birthday. I have known Mary since I was sixteen. I started dating her sister (Mae) and would see her each time I went to their house. She was a high school senior, and I was a sophomore. Mary eventually married my mother’s brother (KD, and we became even closer. She has been part of my life for 61 years, and I treasure her as a close friend. Sadly, she has developed Alzheimer’s, as did her sister & dad, and is in the thick of the battle, but she still has a hearty laugh and is pleasant to talk to. So, it is with pleasure in my heart that I visit with her today and help her celebrate 79 spins around the sun on this wonderful planet. “Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends.” …Czech Proverb
😊 I read an article the other day about the dirtiest things you can touch in a hotel/motel room: 1. Remote control for the TV; 2. Bed comforter; 3. Lamp light switch. Since we travel often, I felt that was something we should be aware of. The article went on to say that the employees that clean your room have about 30 minutes to do so because they have 10-12 rooms to clean daily. Furthermore, there are hundreds of people who slept there before we arrived and each one of them left something for us to transfer to our bodies. Kinda makes me want to sleep in the car. I’m fairly certain my wife will have handi-wipes available to sanitize our room in the future. Whenever we eat out we always strive to sanitize our hands after touching door handles and the menu. In all probability, most of the germs are already present on our bodies, but there is always the possibility they aren’t. I still believe in the old saying by Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
֎ My old friend from high school (Hubert) passed away on Friday (4/27) and he will be missed. He valiantly fought cancer for two years and what amazed me was his ability to retain his sense of humor. He often had a smile on his face and spoke of the afterlife as if he were ready for it. When we t visited him in November he said to me, “Tommy, I never sang in our church choir because I couldn’t carry a note, but when I get to heaven I will sing like an angel.” His family is devastated but are relieved the battle is over and he is without pain.
Willie Nelson has a song about death that says, “It’s not something you get over, it’s something you get thru, when life is over it lives in someone new.” My message to Hubert, “Sing away old friend, I’ll be listening”.
֎ The last few days have been kinda stressful because I have been working on our efforts to downsize and move to a retirement community. We anticipate it will be a year or two before we move, but that’s a good thing in that it allows us to use that time to give things away, sell things, and haul things to the trash dump. Most of what I was surveying were old electronic items that went all the way back to the early 1980’s. Although I wasn’t aware of it, seems I never throw anything away. I would pick up an item and instantly I could remember using it. I guess the point I’m getting at is that I would be hard put to justify the time I spend on all things electronic. It has been said there is a fine line between a hobby and an addiction. I believe it is an addiction when you do that thing you enjoy so much while other things await your attention and are ignored. To me, it is important to stay active doing a variety of things that are necessary and, hopefully, also interesting. Leonardo da Vinci said so wisely, “Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
I hope that wherever you live on this wonderful planet, you are safe from harm, secure in a happy life, and that you have enjoyed the view from “My window on The World”. If you get a chance, drop me a line.
“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” …Phyllis Theroux