Tag: life


Kindness


⚽  In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot,” (1869) Prince Myshkin, thought it was 10 times as hard to die when death was certain: Put a soldier in front of a cannon, and he could still hope for the best; give him a definite sentence of death, and he’d fall apart. Sure enough, when another character, young Ippolit, learns that he’s dying of consumption (TB), he falls into mortal despair and seeks to hurry his end.  Eventually, he recognizes that a life shortened is not a life without meaning.

How hard it is to know you only have a limited time to live.  We tend to think that life is endless until we are told that it is not. My son had pancreatic cancer and was told he had 8-9 months left and lived only 5 more weeks.  I can recite many more end-of-life situations for people I cared about.  None of those people were in a condition to live a meaningful life after their diagnosis.  I guess, if you have many years to live, that possibility exists.  But, if the time is short, you mostly try to figure out how to say “Goodbye”.  If you are religious, you resign yourself humbly to “If it’s God’s will”, but if you’re not, I don’t know how that gets handled.  

Then, there are us older folks who know the end isn’t too far away yet have the possibility of living longer.  I think we are the ones in Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” that seek the “life with meaning”.  We try to be more understanding of faults we perceive in others, to be more financially supportive and to “lend a hand” when needed.  But I must admit I see that in the younger folks as well.  My oldest granddaughter has three children at home, a husband that’s gone for long periods of time on his job, and yet, finds it within her heart to take in two small children that needs a family.  How wonderful is that!  I have a friend down the lane from us that, during summer, takes his riding mower up and down the street cutting the grass for anyone unable to do so.  You don’t have to look far to discover acts of pure, sweet kindness from people of all ages.  And really, in the end, we should ask ourselves; have we lived a kind and generous life, have we helped others while attempting to better ourselves? Katherine Mansfield (British writer) said, ‘If you wish to live, first you have to attend your own funeral”.  My interpretation of that quote is that I need to understand that someday my life will end, and only then can I live a fruitful and interesting life.  I wish that I’d realized that much, much sooner!

⚽ During a Sunday morning service a few weeks ago, our pastor told us that during the time of Jesus, salt was a highly valued trade item, and was considered a form of currency by many people.  I recall my mother saying that someone we knew was “the salt of the earth”.  I knew it was a term of respect but had absolutely no idea of why salt was used in that context.  One of the many reasons I enjoy going to church on Sunday is because Pastor Jeff always ensures that we leave church service a little smarter than when we got up that morning. 

Salt has come a long way since then and we use it in a lot of different ways, but not as currency.  As a matter of fact, doctors today encourage us to avoid the ingestion of salt because of its ill effects on our body.  As we all know, it is almost impossible to avoid salt (sodium) in our food since it is included in just about all of it. 

I remember as an 18-year-old in 1959, going thru basic training at Lackland AFB, in San Antonio, during July & August.  Our uniforms were designed for winter and summer and all buttons had to be closed.  The temps ranged from 99° to 103° during the day, dropping into the 80s at night.  Since we sweated a lot, we were required to take a salt pill before each meal to replace the salt lost during the day. Turned out to be a very bad idea and I’m confident they no longer follow that practice.  Most of us also thought they included something to diminish our sex drive but could never prove it.  If they were, it never worked on me😊.

⚽  Tracy Lawrence, one of my favorite country music artists, has a song that includes the lyrics, “Every time I make my mark someone paints the wall”.  Probably, we all have experienced that problem.  My wife and I booked a cruise to Cuba last October and within a few months our President canceled all travel to Cuba.  We re-booked for a cruise to Mexico with my granddaughter and her husband and my wife’s colonoscopy revealed she had colon cancer.  So again, we canceled.  I could cite numerous examples of making “marks on the wall” and them getting painted over.  I guess it’s mostly my age, but I seem to complain a lot lately.  I try not to, but if I’m not careful, I slip back into that well-worn groove.  If someone were to ask me what a typical day is for this old codger, it would go something like this:

Each morning I arise at 7am, put on my clothes, including my Fitbit, and head down the hall to turn on my computer.  I walk into the kitchen and turn on my coffee pot, drink a tablespoon of Extra Light Olive Oil (morning & evening), and return to my desk.  I do my daily eye exercises (2 minutes) and within an hour eat breakfast, normally a bowl of mixed cereal.  Around 9am my wife and I do our daily exercise routine (15 minutes) standing in the kitchen.  On Mon/Wed/Fri we walk 3 miles on 3 possible trails near us.  Our goal is to walk 10,000 steps daily and we exceed that often.  My Fitbit tells me that in the last 12 months I have taken 2.3 million steps.  One day each week I do weight-resistant exercises on a machine I have upstairs. After lunch I go outside for 3-4 hours of yardwork and repairing/cleaning things.  My only vice is smoking a cigar every other day.  I asked my doc about it and he said, “At your age I’m not gonna worry about it”.  That made my wife furious.  I normally smoke it sitting in my favorite chair in front of my workshop, while listening to an audiobook, or talking to someone on the phone.  At 7:30pm my wife and I have dinner in front of the TV while watching Jeopardy and the evening news(recorded).  The TV is off at 10:30pm and we head to the kitchen to do dishes and then to bed by midnight.  The only drug I take is a weak “statin” for my cholesterol.  I spend a fair amount of time each week maintaining my website (www.tommyhale.net) and writing the missives that I post on it.  I can cite from memory the 50 US states by population, the 25 largest cities by population, the 25 largest countries by population and all 45 US presidents.  I do this twice weekly and the reasoning behind it is that it’s my test to determine if my memory is deteriorating.  I know so many people with dementia.  I try to learn something new every day.  I do believe the adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”.  I guess I could also add, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”.

I am always grateful that you take the time to read my missives.  Until next time, be well…. Tommy.


Who Are We?


We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare

⚽I happened upon that quote recently, and I think the Bard of Avon is on to something.  He has probably given us more quotes than anyone else in history, if we exclude President Trump😊.  I went thru the majority of my life believing I had not reached my full potential, that something was going to happen that would require all my energy, and I was going to have a major impact on, either the company I worked for, or the people around me.  That never quite worked out for me, but I have had a productive and rewarding life, not achieving my full potential, but twisting as much happiness from it as possible.  I think the Bard is asking us to do great things, but a great thing in my opinion is a collection of many small things done right.  If I’m driving down the road in a Porsche and pass someone on the road that needs help and I ignore their plight, have I reached my full potential as a human being?  If your neighbor needs help but won’t ask, are you reaching your full potential by offering to help without being asked?  There are many ways to achieve excellence in life, and it doesn’t have to be necessarily job related, it can be what you are as a person.  I can easily tell you the most successful businessman I have known, but I cannot tell you how successful he was as a human being or how much he is loved by those in his personal life.  And I’ll bet if I asked him which was more important all the money he has in the bank, or his family and friends, he would say family and friends.  

Albert Einstein said it so eloquently, ““Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”   Now that’s a horse I can ride!    

⚽ My wife amuses me often, and in the most innocuous ways.  She is averse to change and when that happens in our home, she becomes annoyed with me.  I recently replaced all the land phones in our home (4) with a new Panasonic KX-TGF572.  It is cordless and links to our two cell phones and downloads all my contacts from my cellphone for us to use.  It announces the name of the person calling, if listed in my contacts, so practically, everyone we know gets announced.  It has nine speed dials, so the nine people we call most are easily accessed by pushing one number and holding it for two seconds. To get any messages left, you push “Menu”, #323.  Now that bothers her.  With our old system, you simply pushed the “Play” button.  That bothers her a lot.  Never mind that it has all these other handsome features, that one little disappointment sours her attitude towards it.  A few years ago, I bought her a robot vacuum, which we named “Fred”, and I start it on Tuesday’s while she’s out grocery shopping.  By the time she gets home, Fred has finished his vacuuming and returned home to his charger, awaiting his turn again next week.  I think old Fred is a great addition to our family, he doesn’t have to be fed, nor clothed, and is perfectly satisfied with his role in our household.  But, there’s a reason why I turn him loose on Tuesdays and that’s because my wife is not home, because if she is, Fred gets a barrage of criticism, i.e., he moved a chair slightly, something fell over, etc. 

I believe it’s sorta like when she was replaced as the Navigator on our trips by our GPS.  She still gripes about that thing, although, it gets us to places that we would have a difficult time finding with a map.  I plan on making our next vehicle purchase an autonomous (self-driving) one, and I don’t think I will be disturbed because I have been replaced as the driver.  I can just imagine us getting in our car in our small town on the east coast and saying to it, “Take us to John & Philly’s house in Thousand Oaks, CA”, and off we go without  having to touch the steering wheel.  Then, I will get to enjoy the beautiful scenery that flows by outside just like my wife does now. H. Jackson Brown, Jr., said, “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.”   Now that dog will hunt!

⚽  A few weeks ago, I was watching my granddaughter (Robin) on a Facebook video and she was describing her first grocery pickup at Walmart.  She ordered her groceries over the phone and drove there, they were waiting at the curb, and the attendant loaded them into the back of her van.  She was so excited that her voice increased two octaves.  As I watched that video, my thoughts drifted back to my teenage years in the 1950s when our local independent grocery store would take call-in orders, fill them, put the cost on your credit tab, and delivered them to your home.  You were expected to pay off your tab on payday, some did, and some didn’t.  I remember my parents owing our local grocer $1300 ($9,000 today) and I was ashamed to go to his store with my mother’s grocery list.  He never blamed me for non-payment, but I was, nevertheless, humiliated, because our family could not pay him.  I am unaware of how my father resolved that issue, but many more issues followed us as I slowly marched towards adulthood. 

Today, my wife and I put everything we buy on our credit card and pay it off monthly.  Heck, even the soda machines take credit cards.  I always carry some cash in my wallet, but I very seldom use it.  I guess what I’m getting at is some things that seem new and exciting to our younger generation is actually a very old concept.  I often wonder if we’ll ever get back to wearing our shirt collars turned up or cuffed jeans and flattop haircuts?  Do I yearn for the good old days?  Not really, because then I would have to give up the life I enjoy today, and I’m not willing to do that.  But it does give me pleasure to remember them. 

Someone once said, “What is hard to bear, is sweet to remember”.  I sorta think that’s true.

⚽ I received a phone call from an old high school classmate (Wayne) the other night and he just wanted to talk about the missive I wrote, “Teachers Make Excellent Friends”.  He enjoyed the article because he was a teacher for most of his life and, perhaps, it made him feel good that he had impacted so many lives.  He still lives within a few miles of where he grew up and enjoys his life immensely.  I can always tell because of the secret smile in his voice.  The one thing that he knows that maybe some of us just suspect, is that home is the place where our life story begins.  And, he has chosen to remain close to that special place in his life.  Most of his classmates, including me, left the place we still call “Home” for other places.  I still enjoy going back there every summer and visiting my family and friends, but I live eight hours away and time goes by so quickly.  And, I know the bottle is forever draining, because each trip back reveals that someone from my past has transitioned to the other side. 

Ok, getting back to my friend’s phone call.  He told me that when we were in last summer, he drove by where we usually stay (my cousin Harold/Willis) and was unable to discern if we were there, not willing to just barge in.  Oddly, we had driven past his home and, not seeing any vehicles, assumed they were out of town.  Normally, I would take out my cellphone and call, but back home you’ll be lucky to get a signal.  Back there your cellphone is just a camera.  You can go across the mountain to Richlands and your phone works well, but in Buchanan County the mountains are high, and the valleys are deep, all the women are smart and pretty and all the men are strong and handsome.  I guess that kinda makes up for not having a cellphone signal. 

When I go home this summer, my friend is on my “Visit” list.  An old Czech Proverb says, “Do not protect yourself by a fence, but rather by your friends”.  Amen to that!    


My Life & Sliced Bread


I sometimes imagine my life as a loaf of sliced bread.  Looking down on that loaf, I pull up the slice at the far end and there I am, 10 years old and squabbling with my younger brother over who’s washing or drying the dishes after dinner (drying was the easiest).

 I gently place the slice back in its place and jump forward a few slices and there I am, 20 something years old with a wife and two young children (boy & girl), I am on the patio of our home, laying on a blanket as my 1-year-old daughter sits on my chest playing with her daddy’s long nose.  My three-year-old son is in the background playing with a small, metal Tonka dump truck. 

I place that slice back in its slot and jump forward a few more slices and pull one out and there I am, fifty something, divorced, and looking distraught and confused.  I remember that guy and what he was going thru and I kinda feel sorry for him. 

Quickly, I return that slice to the empty spot and moved towards the front of the loaf and retrieve another, and there I am, happily re-married and living a good and satisfying life. 

I glance down at the loaf and see quite a few slices left, and yet, I’m holding the slice that is my current life! 

I must admit I was tempted to return that slice and pick up the ones that would tell me what was yet to come.  As my hand nervously reached for the next slice of bread, I drew it back, knowing that I should never see what was in my future.

I believe that most of us worry about things that will never happen, but because of insecurities, we are pessimistic and are always waiting for something bad to happen.  I am confident that if I retrieved that last piece of bread and it revealed my end-of-life struggle, I would spend my remaining days on this wonderful planet worried about it. 

Having the will to resist that temptation brought a smile to my face as I slowly inched the loaf back into the cupboard, vowing that I would never be tempted to revisit that decision. 

John Green said, “One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life,”.  That describes my life very well!

The custom of giving a woman an engagement ring began in 1200AD, when medieval Italians believed diamonds were created in the Flames of Love.  That custom has continued and flourished over time, and now men go to elaborate lengths to make their proposal unique.  Planes write it in the sky, men get down on one knee onstage at concerts, ice skating rinks and many other odd and interesting places. 

When I proposed to my wife, I had the waiter, in a nice restaurant, drop her ring in a glass of Champagne and serve it to her while we sat across from her mother and father.  I was fearful that she may swallow it but that fine beverage is for sipping and I was confident she would discover it easily.  Still, there was some concern on my part. 

To my knowledge, I know of no one that was spurned when the question was popped, but I am confident it has happened.  I think we should use the same theory a courtroom lawyer uses, “Don’t ask a question if you don’t already know the answer”. 

Everyone loves a good wedding and thousands of dollars are spent on that festive occasion and yet, half of all marriages end in divorce.  That’s sorta like buying a car and there’s a 50% chance it will fail you before the warranty expires. 

So, what’s the solution to this dilemma?  First, the courtship should last at least two years and second, never spend more than one month’s salary on the wedding.  If a Dad is paying, it’s just as important.  My wife and I were invited to a wedding, and we barely knew the couple, but they wanted a lot of people there (Dad was paying), so we went.  I was so uncomfortable and resolved never to do that again.

I think marriage is a wonderful thing.  Nothing seems more special than seeing a couple wrapped-up in the excitement of each other.  In my view, to make a marriage last, you need to approach it with the idea that there are two people in the boat, and both need to be rowing.  If only one rows, trouble is not too far away.

“Love makes life meaningful and the world more beautiful; if it makes your life more miserable, then it isn’t love,”…. Peter Saysomphane

Scientists note that employees should keep working until the age of 80, but that they should only work 25 hours a week to be productive.  I believe it’s an excellent plan.  That means our children would only go to school 3 days a week, the grocery stores would only open that many days (I don’t think they would double their staff and leave prices the same), and hospitals would only work 3 days. 

Our lives would change dramatically.  Many years ago, my state (Virginia) had the “Sunday Blue Law”, and only a few business’ could open on that day.  In addition, you couldn’t purchase alcohol on that day.  Just about everyone I knew disliked that law.  I think the alcohol thing had a lot to do with it 😊.

I have a close relative that only works 3 days each week, and she is a very happy person.  So, yea, it might be a good idea to work that long each week and continue until you’re 80.  I don’t know the logistics of that yet. The average age of death in the USA is 79, meaning that half of us pass on before that age and a half afterwards.  But it means you can enjoy part of your retirement before you die.  Three days on and four days off each week sorta has a nice ring to it. 

Would it make us a lazier society?  There is that possibility.  I think we would be happier, given the extra time to pursue our personal goals and spend more time with those we love.  Instead of working more than 97,000 hours in our lifetime, we would work slightly over 80,000.  I would never have guessed that working two days less each week would result in saving 17,000 working hours in my lifetime.

If that plan had been put in place back when George Washington was our president, how would our lives had been changed?  Probably a lot of the inventions we enjoy so much today wouldn’t exist.  I do know that when I have a serious problem to resolve, if I pursue it long enough, I will almost always find the solution.  If I took four days off, I would never get it solved. 

It takes about five hours for sunlight to reach Pluto. It takes eight minutes to reach Earth. It’s gonna take more than five hours for sunlight to reach my brain, allowing me to figure out if this thing could work.

 So, after all this discussion, am I for it or against it (shorter work week & working until age 80)?  Well, I don’t think it would work as well as I wanted it to, but I’m willing to give it a try 😊

T. S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can find out how far one can possibly go,”.  Lots of truth in that quote.

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.


Remember Me….by JoAnn


With the holidays just passing, and a new year birthed, I have been in a remembrance mood.  I’m sure it has to do with the fact that we lost a very significant family member this past year.  It left a hole that no one or nothing can ever fill again.  

Through the process of grieving, I remember not only the loved one I recently lost, but the many others that are missing from my life.  And it has put the question into my mind; how will people remember me?

When my mother passed away, 19 years ago this month, I was at once consumed with good memories of her.  Anyone who knew my mother well, knew that in her later years, she could be very difficult to get along with at times.  My mother suffered from debilitating chronic pain.  There was not one hour of any day in her last 15 years on earth that she was not in constant pain.  She could be very harsh at times and hurtful with her words. 

Of course, now I know, being older myself, that it was the pain talking and not my real mother’s heart.  But when I was only in my 30s, I did not understand that concept.  So why, upon hearing of her passing from this world, did I receive instant healing from the bad memories of times my mother had hurt me?  Was it because she was now free from her pain and once again happy?  Or was it because all the negatives had passed with her and was no longer an issue? 

I remembered the times I had not gotten along well with my mother, for whatever reason.  The memories were there if I chose to confront them.  But I felt this peace in my heart that there was no need anymore.  And when I did force myself to remember something negative, it no longer affected me.  The love was greater!  I felt content in remembering every good thing about my mother and feeling the love from her in those memories.  It felt right.  And I felt very blessed for it!

Please don’t get me wrong.  My mother was a great woman!  She did many, many things right!  Unfortunately, it is human nature for us to remember, and spend more time and energy on something a loved one has done to hurt us.  The good things become clouded with the pain.

I noticed that the same thing happened to me with my dad’s passing 8 years later.  It was indeed another welcomed blessing.  Then I got to thinking that maybe it’s God’s way of comforting us.  His promise is to comfort us in our grieving.  So maybe that is the answer as to why.  

Then, I saw it happen again.  This time not to me as personally as before with my parents, but I watched it through my own children.  The loved one we lost last year was their dad.  My ex-husband, co-parent, and close friend.  Anyone who knew my children’s dad well knew he had suffered for years with lots of problems.  Sometimes very serious problems that not only affected him, but everyone that loved him.  Most especially our children. 

I watched each of my daughters be blessed in their grieving by the overwhelming remembrance of the good things that were very much a part of their dad.  He was a very good man!  And sometimes that got lost in his problems.  It did surprise me that my children were able to remember so many good parts of their dad.  I had always thought that the painful times would leave a permanent cloud over their relationships.  But much to my surprise, and relief, each of my daughters received the blessing that I had with the loss of my parents.  They can speak so highly of the real man their dad was.  His goodness, his love for them and others, and the wonderful parts that made him who he was.  It makes this mom’s heart so full to see my daughters have this positive experience through something so life changing as a parent passing.  

So back to my question, how will people remember me?  I can’t grasp the thought, or vision, of being remembered with such love and adoration as I have remembered my parents, and how I have seen my daughters remember their dad.  Maybe that’s not  supposed to happen.  Maybe none of us are.  Maybe that is something that is only left behind for our loved ones when we are gone.  Our way, or God’s way, of comforting them in their time of grief.    

But how wonderful it would be if we could seriously put aside our differences with people, lay conflict and hurt feelings to rest, and remember only the good parts of a person now, while we are still on earth together.  To remember only the positives that are indeed stored in our minds right along with the bad!  Why is the negative file always in the front of the filing cabinet of our brain?  It’s human nature, but is there a way that we can change it?  I for one, think  we should give it a try.  How much happier everyone involved could be.  

It is my hope that I will be remembered as making a positive impact on those I love.  My biggest hope is that they will know, without a doubt, how much I love them.  I hope they will remember how hard I tried at life, and even though I may not have succeeded in all things they think are important, that I did succeed in what God put me on the earth to accomplish.  I hope they will be happy they knew me, and proud of the person I was.  I hope that just maybe; I did something so right that they even learned an important lesson from me.  Something that will be of great help to them after I am gone.  

How will you be remembered?  Something to ponder…JoAnn


I Have A Special Talent !


👀 I think I have a special talent to be proud of and that is the ability to make my wife smile whenever I want her to. Sometimes she tries to resist, but most of the time she lets it fly and a big, beautiful grin just creeps across her pretty face. I believe all of us have that talent if we choose to use it, we can make those we love smile at the drop of a hat. For sure, it takes a good effort to make it happen, but what could be more important? I discovered many years ago that if those around me were happy, then it only stood to reason it would be passed on to me. We mostly chase that elusive thing called “Happiness” by taking trips, watching movies, and going to amusement parks. I have found that happiness lives within my home, in my neighbor’s home, in talking with my daughter and grandchildren on the phone, and in taking my wife out to dinner. Happiness lurks everywhere, waiting for the opportunity to sneak up behind us and take over our body without making a sound. Happiness doesn’t understand why we look for it in other places when it is hiding in plain sight for us to find. My wife and I were driving down the road the other day, and I leaned over and told her, “When we get to the next red light, I will not move when it turns green until you give me a kiss.” The biggest smile spread across her face, and I got my kiss. I also got the satisfaction of knowing I had made her day a little more pleasant. I smile a lot, and I have the lines in my face to prove it.   Getting old had something to do with it also, but I prefer to think it’s mostly because I smile a lot 😊. I believe that if you let one single day go by and you didn’t smile, or brought a smile to someone else, you have wasted a very good day. “We do not completely love those at whom we cannot smile.”…Andre’ Maurois

👀 In 1880, the USA population was 50 million. Today it is 328 million (world population 7.5 billion). This certainly explains why shopping centers, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores are popping up all over the place. It seems we are determined to put something on every available piece of land within a 20 square mile radius of where I live. It’s projected that by 2050 there will be 438 million USA citizens. About 60% of us live east of the Mississippi River (approx. 200 million). Looks sorta like it’s going to get mighty crowded here on the east coast. True, our largest state is California with 39 million people, then Texas with 28 million, but after that the other states west of the Mississippi do not have very large populations. If I’m an optimist, that gives me many opportunities to create new friendships, but if I’m a pessimist, then it only means that I have to share everything I now enjoy. I think it’s kinda hard to be an optimist when you’re sitting on the freeway in a two-mile line of cars, waiting to get thru one of the many tunnels we have in our area. So how do we keep a positive outlook when faced with all the negatives that life throws our way? Firstly, I think negative thinking adds to an already deteriorating situation. Reminds me of an old saying, “If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.” So, me worrying about all the new structures being built in our area creates stress, and we all know that stress is not good for us. Secondly, the new structures could actually improve our life by offering goods and services only available many miles away. Of course, the third option is to sell our home and move to a less congested area. We had better make that a good distance away because of the expected population increase. I read an article several months ago about a scientist that has calculated that our Sun will burn itself out in a gazillion years. Now that’s something I REALLY need to worry about! Albert Schweitzer said, “To the question as to whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic.” Hmm, that pretty much describes how I feel.

👀 This past holiday season was quiet for my wife and I. Some of the family had departed for warmer climes (California & Hawaii), and a lot of the people we love live in other states, too far away to make a quick visit. My son’s passing this past summer really put a damper on our enthusiasm, but we struggle on, hoping and praying that the hurt will diminish and that we can move on. There are so many people in our lives that love us and keep in constant touch, visiting and calling often. I was driving home from church a few Sundays ago and I noticed a father playing basketball with his two sons in the driveway. My thoughts floated back to when my two children were that age (10-12) and the things we did together. I think we travel through life thinking that things are permanent, the way they are now is the way they will always be. But as you age, you realize that everything is temporary, that nothing lasts forever. What does that realization gain you? It makes you more aware of those around you. It encourages you to live in the moment and appreciate the effort of others to make your life a little more enjoyable. I have a picture of myself (age 6) that sits on my desk, and I often wish I could go back in time and tell that smiling young face some things to do and be aware of as he travels through life. Armed with that knowledge, he would have become a better friend, son, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. No doubt, all of us would make different choices, be kinder and more considerate, if we could, somehow, acquire the knowledge of old age while we were young. The bottom line is, we can look back with regret, or forward with enthusiasm. I’m thinking that “forward” thing is better 😊.

👀 My grandson (David) sent me a message the other day, and it pertained to my great-grandson (Lane-4 years old). Lane was enrolled in a Prekindergarten class out in Tennessee (15 hours away from me) and there was an application named Dojo that I could install on my PC (phone also) and login to the school’s website with a password. The teachers can tell who is watching from afar and can welcome those viewers into her classroom. So, almost every day now, I log into his class and watch my great-grandson as he learns new stuff, and what a joy it is to observe. Fortunately, I can remember my first day at school in the 1st Grade. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Angel, and she definitely was not one of God’s angels. Whenever one of us (grades 1– 3) did anything to annoy her, we were sent outside to cut a switch, and it had better be a good one, and she used that switch all day. If my parents discovered about the school whipping, then we got another by them. I do remember learning new things in school and realizing there was so much I didn’t know! I figured if I kept learning new things, eventually I would know why there were so many stars in the sky, what made the sun come up each morning, and the moon creep into the sky at night. My expectations were huge, and as I watched Lane, I wondered if he had the same thoughts as I had when I was his age. His teachers use a lot of technology to help him learn, and I’m confident he is well on his way to finding out all the secrets of our universe just like his great-grandpa did 😊. Findley Dunne said, “It doesn’t make much difference what you study if you don’t like it.” Now, that’s a lollipop I can lick on!