Thursday, February 20, 2014

On Turning 65

  It had to happen eventually but turning the big six five happened much sooner then I expected.  I figured I still had another fifty years to go yet.  It's not that big a deal, really, I feel exactly the same as I felt when I was sixty-four.  When that happened, I was glad that I could sing (to myself) the Beatles' song and mean it.  Now I am going to have constant reminders of this personal historic event when driving on the interstate

  Nevertheless, here I am.  Looking back, it seems like many events are still very vivid and occurring only yesterday.  Oh, wait, some of the events I was thinking of DID happen yesterday!
Some of the things I remember very clearly:
- As a toddler, trying to build an enclosed porch from scraps of anything.
- As a toddler, being in the hospital with double pneumonia.
- Seeing a color television for the first time.
- Having to light the gas burner in the old steel and rivet hot water tank whenever we wanted a bath.
- On a winter's day, buying a soda from the vending machine at the gas station across the street and sucking the frozen contents from the bottle.
- Being by myself a lot.
- Meeting a black family for the first time and happy to have a friend to play with.
- In kindergarten, having to climb in and out of snow pants when going outside.
- My first crush on a girl while in the fourth grade.
- Wanting to know how everything worked.
- Being in Cub Scouts for the first time.
- The fun of visiting my cousins.
- Trying to understand what happened to my best friend's sister who was handicapped.
- Always wishing I could have a closer relationship with my mom and dad.
- The security I felt while being raised by my grandparents.
- Looking forward to visits from my older sister or my dad.
- The new freedom of having a driver's license.
- Going to college and being on my own for the first time.
Many, many things I remember and I STILL want to know how everything works. 

  The music favorites I listened to as a teen are still among my favorites now.  I remember The Beatles first appearing on American television as guests of Ed Sullivan.  That was the day before my birthday fifty years ago and I still frequently listen to their CD's.

  Will I retire?  No, not yet.  Five years ago, at an annual job review, I was wondering how my employer felt about employees as the got older.  I asked my supervisor how long they will let me work.  His reply was "How long do you want to work?"  That was good to hear.  So as long as I am able and as long as I am wanted, I plan on working until I am 70.  Then I might start thinking about slowing down.  There is always something on my 'to-do' list and I think that is a major impetus on keeping me going.  Don't confuse a 'to-do' list with a 'bucket list'.  My life has been pretty full so far and that is plenty.  However, if I could have a 'wish' as it were, it would be to see my kids and grandkids more often.

  So at this juncture of life, being 65, I can't complain.  I love my wife, I love my job, happy in my faith, reasonably healthy, and I have a workshop, life is good!
Growing old is not growing up - Douglas Horton

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Home Grown Common Sense

I couldn't help but pass on this bit of wisdom that I came across:

Old Farmer's Advice
Reflections From The Seat Of An Old Tractor


“Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.”
“Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.”
“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”
“A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.”
“Words that soak into your ears are whispered…....not yelled.”
“Meanness don't just happen overnight.”
“Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.”
“Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.”
“It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.”
“You cannot unsay a cruel word.”
“Every path has a few puddles”
“When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.”
“The best sermons are lived, not preached.”
“Most of the stuff people worry about, ain't never gonna happen anyway.”
“Don 't judge folks by their relatives.
“Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”
“Live a good and honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.”
“Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.”
“Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.”
“If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.”
“Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
“The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.”
“Always drink upstream from the herd.”
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.”
“Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.”
“If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.”
“Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.”

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pope Francis

  I am not Catholic, nevertheless, I cannot help but have the greatest respect for Pope Francis.  He has helped improve the face of organized religion by his example and his grassroots approach to life is quite refreshing.  Let me give you a mini-bio from Wikipedia

Francis (Latin: Franciscus; Italian: Francesco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, having been elected Bishop of Rome and absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State.   Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before entering the seminary. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina's Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was created a Cardinal in 2001. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, the subsequent papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March. He chose his papal name in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European Pope since Pope Gregory III in 741, 1272 years earlier.

  Did you get that part?  He was once a nightclub bouncer!!  It is wonderful to see the air of mystery, the pomp, and the aloofness eliminated.  He is focused on his calling and his service to God with particular focus on the less fortunate.  I saw a news clip the other day where Pope Francis stopped the 'pope mobile' during a procession to pick up an old friend.  It is these simple acts that gain favour with the people.  At the same time, he is still able to balance being down to earth and the dignity of his title.

Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God. - Pope Francis