Tag: friendship

New Friends!

♥️ Well, chilly weather has silently crept into our area. I woke up this morning, and Alexi (Amazon) informed me that the temperature outside was 32° and the high was going to be 44°. I have to say that I am not ready for that amount of cold, and it seems like we were fighting temperatures of 95° just a few weeks ago. I am thankful that I don’t have leaves to rake and all the other outdoor activities that go with fall. I planned to fly my drone today, but the wind was too stiff, and I had to cancel those plans. I do like having four seasons. I have friends and family who live in California and Florida. They just love having sunny weather all the time, but I enjoy having seasons.

I often write to my good friend (Dale) in Florida and tell him about our cold temperatures, and he takes absolute delight in telling me it’s 75° and he’s playing golf every day. I can almost see the broad smile on his face. He lives in what is probably the largest retirement center in the USA, The Villages, and when we visited him a few years back, he tried to convince me I didn’t have to die to go to Heaven; all I had to do was move to “The Villages”! 😊

I am pleased he enjoys his retirement so much. Of course, the people in California are just as bad, if not worse, than Floridians. Everyone out there believes all good things start there and then spread east 😊. I have to admit that I enjoyed myself while visiting both places, but if I had to pick, then it would be the west coast. My biggest concern would be the lack of rain they get yearly. Seems they are constantly fighting wildfires and the destruction of many, many homes. We have relatives that live in California, and we worry about their welfare.

Bottom line, there is a distinct possibility that any place you live on this planet has its pros and cons. We know those and still choose to live in that area. My primary reason for living in this area is because I came here in 1963 looking for a job at the local shipyard. I have been here for 58 years and have made my last move. There’s a sadness to that thought, but we all make our final move at some point in our life. Mine came sooner than I thought 😊.

I enjoyed this quote by Huck Finn, “ain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”

♥️My usual routine is to work out at the gym on Tuesday and Thursday. I walk up there from our cottage around 2:30pm, set my Fitbit watch for 51 minutes, and cycle thru the fifteen machines they have that will turn me into Charles Atlas. Seldom do I encounter anyone else, but occasionally a guy about my age, in a wheelchair, comes in and goes thru his paces, and he works harder at it than I do. I am always impressed when he rolls in and starts his workout. Like me, he has recognized that if he wants to stay healthy, he has to do healthy things and keep moving.

I read an article a while back that said we start losing muscle mass in our thirties. I’m guessing that the muscle fades away, and fat slowly takes its place 😊. At least that’s what happened to me. Anyway, back to the person in the wheelchair. As he goes from station to station, he struggles in and out of his chair but never complains, and when I get the chance to observe his face, I see a look of satisfaction in what he is doing. It’s as though he’s defeating an enemy. What an inspiration!

When I leave the house, I put in my earbuds, turn on an audiobook, head for the gym, and keep the book going until I return home. It’s a job for me, but not for him. It’s a battle, and he’s gonna win! I need to find out what he puts in his water that gives him that drive and enthusiasm.

When lifting weights, you can always tell how hard a person is working by how much they grunt. This fellow grunts a lot! As for me? Well, I seldom grunt, so you can see how much good I’m doing. My excuse is that I’m just toning my muscles, not trying to build muscle mass. Sounds kinda lame to me. I think I’m gonna try to do better, work harder, and see how it turns out. Who knows, maybe I’ll get that Charles Atlas look.

Edgar Allan Poe said it so well, “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” Ahh heck, that Charles Atlas thing is probably a pipe dream 😊.

♥️ We had dinner a few weeks ago with our newly acquired friends, Mike & Mary, and they invited us back to their apartment to enjoy a glass of coffee brandy. I had never tasted brandy before, and neither had my wife, so we thought it would be a fun thing to do. We walked into their living room, sat down, and the conversation began. We old people have no difficulty keeping a robust discussion going because we have so much to draw from. It’s sorta like a well that’s full and one that’s only half-full. Shortly, Mike says, “Are you ready for some brandy?” We responded positively to his question, and off he goes to the next room and brings back four glasses and a hefty-looking bottle. He says we need to swirl it around in our mouth to get the flavor before swallowing. My wife followed his instructions and as the brandy departed her mouth for a trip to her stomach, her face conveyed the look of someone that had just swallowed a lizard. Mike looked at her and asked if she liked it, and her reply was an adamant “No!” as she shook her head. She immediately handed me what remained in her glass and asked me to drink it for her. I enjoyed both glasses of that potent stuff, but then, most men never need a reason to drink alcohol. Many of the women here enjoy a good glass of wine. My favorite alcoholic drink is beer, but it’s Jack Black & Coke for more potent stuff. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s Jack Daniels Bourbon (black label-they also have a green label). The black label is aged longer in their oak barrels.

We visited with Mike & Mary for about an hour, and during that time, he took us into his Den to allow us to see his “Baptist Bar.” He had a large, wooden world globe sitting beside his chair, and it opened up to reveal his selection of alcoholic drinks. I could tell he enjoyed having that bit of deception by the great big ole smile on his face. It always amazes me how little it takes to make us old guys happy 😊. We left their home, pleased that we had made new friends, and walked back to our cottage about 5 minutes away. I noticed on the way that my legs were a little wobbly, and I’m guessing the brandy had a little kick to it. Needless to say, I slept well that night.

We are thankful that The Lord is faithfully sending new friends in our directions, sometimes almost weekly. I often wonder why it took me so long to value friendships. Oh well, better late than never!

Benjamin Franklin said, “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.” I’m not so sure I agree with him. I think reasonable men can have faith.

Naturally Thoughtful

⚽  I have discovered over time that some people are naturally thoughtful. They go out of their way to do things for others, to make them comfortable, less uncomfortable, or happy!  My wife is one of those people and so is our next door neighbor, Mary Beth.  To visit with her and her husband (John) has always been a good experience for me.  Conversations flow so easily, and I think that is because she was a schoolteacher for 30 years. Both are near my age, but their enthusiasm for life hasn’t diminished at all.  There are, in my opinion, very few homes that are as welcoming and warm when you enter.  Mary Beth will almost immediately ask you if you want something to eat or drink.  I kinda think that was the type of home she grew up in back in Kentucky.  Turns out I grew up about 2-3 hours away from their hometown.  My childhood was spent in southwest Virginia.  Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina all border Virginia in that area.  Of course, the prominent topographical feature of that area is the mountains.  Plenty of us old “hillbillies” came down out of those hollers and spread our warmth and generosity all over this wonderful country.  Mary Beth and John are perfect examples of our heritage.  They have been our neighbors for a very long time, and everyone should be blessed with such kind souls for neighbors.  Reminds me of the adage, “God picks your relatives, you pick your neighbors”.  We picked really good!   William James said, “It would probably astound each of us beyond measure to be let into his neighbor’s mind and to find how different the scenery there was from that of his own”.   I think that is probably a very true statement.

⚽ Last week I took our 2017 Nissan Titan to the dealership and had them install a “lift kit” that would raise the truck three inches.  Now, I realize that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when I went down to pick it up after they had completed the work, I climbed inside and it felt like I was sitting on the top of Pikes Peak!  Wow, I exclaimed to myself, I can see over the top of everything.!  As I drove home with my wife following me, you would’ve thought I was one of those trucker guys driving a big rig across the country.  The only thing I needed, I told myself, was a big set of horns that scare everybody to death.  The dealership tried to convince me to buy a bigger set of tires to compliment my big truck look but I refused, determined to wait until I wore the ones out that, at this time, only have 25,000 miles on them, and now are looking a little smallish.  I arrived home in about twenty minutes, and as always, backed the truck up the driveway and parked it in from of our garage.  We have a two -car garage and two vehicles and both are refused entry into the garage.  The truck is too big, always has been, and the Prius fits nicely, but we have too much stuff inside to allow our vehicles entry.  Anyway, before I got out of the truck, I looked out at the wing mirrors to see if my head was even with the top of the house 😊.  I guess that no matter how old a guy gets, he still likes to have his “man toys”.  Now, I just gotta figure out how to mount the gun rack on the inside of my back window.

John Oliver Hobbes said, “Men are all the same.  They always think that something they are going to get is better than what they have got.”  That stings a little!

⚽ When I was a young lad and got into scuffs with my friends, it was customary for the loser to “cry uncle” when he wanted to give up and stop fighting.  The battle we are all fighting now is an opponent we cannot see, but we know it’s out there, waiting to attack us if we are distracted.  COVID-19 scares the bejesus out of all of us, and we have to be careful and not cry “uncle” and let our guards down.  This fight began in earnest in early March and is projected to last the rest of the year, at which time we are told we should have a vaccine.  My wife and I strongly feel that, at our age, we would have a hard time surviving such a strong enemy, so it is imperative for us to take stringent precautions. 

In my 79 years, I can only remember one other such scary time and that was in the late ‘40s & early ‘50s when there was a polio scare.  They had a drive called “The March of Dimes”, started in 1938 and interrupted by WWII.  We would get a “March of Dimes” card when Mom and Dad would go to Grundy, about 15 miles away, to buy groceries on Saturday.  That small town was always bustling on the weekend and I loved that trip.  It had three movie theaters, so entertainment was always at hand.  There was a pool hall underneath one of the barbershops, and of course, my Dad’s favorite place to go was the local ABC (whiskey store).  He would avoid alcohol all week long, but when the weekends came all bets were off. I lose focus easily, so back to the March of Dimes.  We would get a card that had about 10 slots for dimes and my brother and I would do chores all week to fill our card and turn it in on our trip to town the next Saturday.  I remember my mother being scared of Polio, so that made my brother and I scared as well.  For some unknown reason, my Dad never, ever, showed fear.  I always admired that about him.  He wasn’t a big man, standing about 5’7”, but he wasn’t afraid of anything.  I mean anything!  In hindsight, I think all young boys strive to be that kinda guy.  Children seem to follow the lead of their parents.  In 1954, Dr. Jonas Salk, a young scientist at the University of Pittsburg, developed a vaccine and it was tested on almost 2 million schoolchildren.  On April 12th, 1955, it was approved as “safe, effective, and potent”.  Thereafter, Polio was practically wiped from the face of the earth.  I was 14 years old at that time and I remember the collective sigh amongst the adults in my world.  In 1958, The March of Dimes changed their focus to the prevention of birth defects and that focus prevails today. I firmly believe we will conquer this marauding foe, but we have to be careful and not “cry uncle” too early.  Bill Mauldin said, “To a soldier in a hole, nothing is bigger or more vital to him than the war which is going on in the immediate vicinity of his hole.  If nothing is happening to him and he is able to relax that day, then it is a good war, no matter what is going on elsewhere.”  Ahh, but we know we cannot relax in this war