Too Late To Be Scared

My involvement in youth today has been reduced to a spectator sport.  So many years have passed since I was one that it seems kind of speculative that I was ever in the game.  When I think back to those days and the things I did that seemed so right at the time, I often come away with the same question.  What The Hell Was I Thinking!!!

When you are young it seems, you are Teflon.  Nothing sticks to you.  Everything is open to exploration without reservation.  Act first and think later.  Taste everything, without any real regard for possible consequences.  Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.  But it doesn’t deter you from trying whatever the next thing is that catches your interest.

I guess in it’s own way, this is part of our preparation for adulthood.  Choices are not the sole domain of the young.  Once we sign in and begin life, everything suddenly is subject to exploration and discovery.  I think the only thing that changes is that the cocktail of the adult is mixed with a shot of discretion, to be sipped as opposed to gulped.

I have, however, come to realize that ‘older’ and ‘wiser’, are not necessarily joined at the hip.  Some of the things I have done, said, or believed throughout my life have left something to be desired.  And in retrospect, in their own ways, were as free from serious thought as some from my youth.  

The thing I find most interesting, and amusing, is that regardless of the decade, I did these things without fear.  They apparently seemed so inherently logical at the time that to not do, say, or think them would have been scary.  I have often heard it said “someday we will look back at this and laugh.”  In many cases, I can do that now, as the danger has passed.  I also don’t kid myself that I have many marginal decisions still to make, and have no reason to believe they will all be right.  But in making them, I have learned to consider one thing.  You only have one chance, but you always have two choices.

From the archives 2014


Posted in Aging, Fear, Generations, Humor, Kids, Life, Memories, Perspective, Reflection, Youth | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Back In The Saddle Again

I sometimes think I am living in the past , given a lot of the stuff I write about. Memories, old stories, and recollections. However, I don’t think I live there actually, but I do visit a lot. I guess to some degree it has to do with what I read. Every day, sprinkled throughout my emails there is always at least one joke, cartoon, or story that is “age appropriate”. By that I mean they are about old people. It seems I have been type cast by several of my friends (and a couple of relatives) to whom my name immediately comes to mind.
I received one such missive this morning. The subject line read “When Life Was Still Fun”. I scrolled down through it and read with amusement some of the “fun” things listed, some of which I had forgotten, which only served to conjure up another set of memories. I also thought to myself how much life has changed. Most or at least many of the items mentioned, or things that we did, would be unfamiliar to a great deal of today’s population. So I thought I would list some of them and see how many you admit to remembering.
It started by speaking of a time when most peoples dogs were not purebreds, and they probably ate table scraps. A quarter was still a pretty good allowance and you would still stop to pick up a penny. Ladies nylons still came in two pieces. Rinso and Lux were popular laundry detergents and frequently contained a towel or dish as a freebie When you pulled into a gas station, an attendant pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield, checked your oil, and probably gave you some green stamps. And you could drive quite a way on $2.00 worth of regular.
If you failed in school, you were told you would be held back, and you were. Being sent to the principals office was merely a prelude to the fate that awaited you when you got home. This was a time before drugs, gangs, and drive-by shootings, when the thing you feared the most were your parents.
Games we played were often made up as we went along without adults helping us make up the rules. And yes, someone always won, and someone else always lost. That’s just the way it was. We amused ourselves with hula hoops and marbles and a bike was indispensable. At the corner store you could buy candy cigarettes and wax coke shaped bottles filled with sugar water. Real coke came in glass bottles from the machines. We chewed Blackjack and Beemans Pepsin and Teaberry gum. Milk came in glass bottles and was usually delivered to your door.
If you had a TV, you didn’t miss many issues of Howdy Doody and the peanut gallery, or The Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, or Roy Rogers and Dale. And cartoons were not thirty minute long commercials. If you had a phone, you probably had a party line with several others sharing it. You knew when the call was for you by the number of rings, but that didn’t keep one of the other parties from picking up and listening. I think that was the forerunner of the NSA.
Most young boys had pea shooters and no one lost an eye. Bringing a weapon to school meant being caught with a slingshot. Medicine bottles were not childproof since we hadn’t started to poison each other yet. Music was played on something called a phonograph by a spinning 45 or 33 rpm record. There were no computers and copies were made using two sheets of paper in a typewriter between which was a sheet of carbon paper. Multiple copies were made on a mimeograph machine on special foul smelling paper.
Back then we talked to each other, knew our neighbors, shared the fruits of our gardens, and provided a helping hand when one was needed. We went to church on Sunday, respected our elders, and it was permissible to have more then one “best friend”. There was no such thing as a “like”.
So, how’d you do? Did anything jump out at you? Did you find yourself saying “I remember that”, or being reminded of some other thing from “back in the day”. If you did, we are closer in age then you would like to admit. If you didn’t, you are probably too young or too senile. I’ll let you decide which one. Just sayin:)

Posted in Aging, Friendship, Generations, History, Kids, Life, Memories, Reflection, Relationships, Youth | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Basking In the Son

I didn’t date in high school.  Not that I didn’t want to.  It’s just that I wasn’t prepared for a relationship.  And the reason I wasn’t prepared is I had no money, I had no car, and I had no girlfriend.  All were definitely serious impediments to dating.  But, at least my parents never made a big deal out of it, although my Mom did mention a couple of times what a nice girl the ministers daughter was. Finding a girlfriend was strictly up to me, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Why bring this up now?  Well, because of an article I read in the paper yesterday.  It was titled “Mom creates stir trying to find date for her son”.  I mean, we are not talking the usual “have you met my son” or “did you know my son is single”?  Oh no.  This Mom was serious.  Very serious.  It seems her son is a college student and she was trying to get him fixed up for Valentines Day.  In fact, she was trying so hard that the police became concerned.

The Baltimore Sun reported that “a woman in her 50s wearing a multicolored scarf approached students in two campus buildings last week, showing them a picture on her cellphone and asking if they would date her son.”.  This apparently stirred multiple complaints from the “selected applicants”, resulting in the campus police issuing an “incident advisory” that included a link to pictures of the woman so that she might be identified.  University officials say the woman isn’t being sought for a criminal investigation, but they do want the third-party propositioning to stop.

Now, let’s reflect on the son for a moment.  There is no mention of what he thinks and my guess is, that has never been a concern in his family.  Mom, I suspect,  has always handled that for him. The fact that his Mom would show the would be candidates his picture kind of indicates he was no Alfred E. Newman, but then again, Mom’s have a tendency to see something in their sons that the rest of us may miss. Like, they know he is going to be a doctor. When he is seven.

With all the assistance he is receiving from the home front, what do you think the chances are that he will die a virgin.  I’m guessing 90% or better.   I do know this though.  Given the efforts of his Mom, he is without a doubt, today, the best known student on campus.  And, I suspect, the most miserable.   


Posted in Children, Dating, Family, Future, Generations, Home, Kids, Life, Mom's, Reflection, Relationships, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Life’s Windows

In youth I looked at life through my front window
Everything was new and unexplored
Expectations flowed like rushing water
Nothing that I viewed could be ignored

Paths untested prompted me to venture
Inhale the fragrance of discovery
Taste the nectar of a love awakened
Embracing life wherever it took me

Today I look at life through my rear window
And savor the experiences I’ve had
Reflecting once again upon my journey
Accepting what life gave, the good, the bad

The edges of my world have long since softened
Colors now reflect a warmer hue
However, I have not a favorite window
Through either one, I’ve much enjoyed the view 

From the Archives 2016

Posted in Aging, Beauty, Generations, Home, Life, Memories, Poetry, Reflection, Rhyme | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Angel Flight

This was sent to me this morning and I knew I had to share it.  God bless our men and women in uniform.

Posted in Compassion, Death, Family, Flying, Home, Life, Military, Sad, Tribute | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Age Is Just A Number

It is said age is just a number and it is usually said by someone that has a lot of them.  I guess it is just one of the phases we all go through.  When you were a kid, you always made your age what it was going to be.  “I’m almost 7”.  Then, as you grew, the magic number was 21.  After that, as we put on more digits, we became a little more vague.  “I’m in my 30’s or 40’s.  You fill in the blank.  And finally, when we really start getting up there, we’re kids again.  “Do you know how old I am?  I’m almost 80”. It is now a badge of honor without an accompanying certificate of achievement.

This came to mind the other day when I received an email from a friend about aging.  At first read, I just thought it was just humorous.  Then I realized that it hit pretty close to home, humorous or not.  

1969: Long hair
2019: Longing for hair

1969: KEG
2019: EKG

1969: Acid Rock
2019: Acid reflux

1969: Moving to California because it’s cool
2019: Moving to Arizona because it ‘s warm

1969:Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor
2019: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor

1969: Seeds and stems
2019: Roughage

1969: Hoping for a BMW
2019: Hoping for a BM

1969: Going to a new hip joint
2019: Receiving a new hip joint

1969: Rolling Stones
2019: Kidney stones

1969: Screw the system
2019: Upgrade the system

1969: Disco
2019 Costco

1960: Parents begging you to get your hair cut
2019: Children begging you to get their heads shaved

1969: Passing the drivers test
2019: Passing the vision test

1969: Whatever
2019: Depends

Posted in Adult Language, Aging, Generations, Humor, Laugh, Life, Perspective, Random Thoughts, Reflection | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Through The Years


“Time and tides, wait for no man”

In another month, my wife and I will celebrate our fifty first wedding anniversary.  Wow, where did the time go?  Seems like it hasn’t been that long since she at eighteen and I at twenty two, tied the knot and struck out on our journey together.  It was not easy, but most things worthwhile never are.  I remember telling my dad that we wanted to get married and he said “You’re old enough. You don’t need my permission”.  I replied “I’m not asking for your permission.  I’m asking for your blessing”.  He then said, “So you have decided that you are ready?”   I said “Well, we’d like to try it”.  Wrong answer.  My dad, in no uncertain terms reminded me that you “Do not try marriage.  It is a life long commitment”.  And that is how we entered into our union.

I look around me today and ask myself “what happened”.  When did the vows exchanged become so frivolous.  When did they translate to “Til death do us part, or whatever”?  Time it seems has eroded tradition.  Love has been redefined as “an emotional and spiritual bond between two people until such time as it is no longer convenient”.  It then becomes a victim of our remove and replace society.  No one tries to fix anything anymore. It is so much easier to discard it in favor of something new.  It seems the sense of responsibility to someone else is subordinate to our love of self.  Two “me’s” in a marriage never become one “us”.

More recently, we have become much more aware of the gay community, and their desire to marry.  I’m sure my folks never saw that one coming.  I have many gay friends.  Most I am aware of, and I am sure there are some I am not.  Makes no difference.  It’s not mine to judge their lifestyle.  I will admit I have probably spent too many years defining “marriage” as a union between a man and a woman to ever change.  But in reflecting on the whole issue, I want them to be able to share love and be exposed to all the opportunities enjoyed by a heterosexual couple.  I’m just hung up on the word marriage.  No more.  No less.

But life goes on.  What we are now has a lot to do with what we were then.  Our values are pretty much those of our parents and theirs of their parents before them.   But like Charles Darwin once said.  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.  With that in mind, we have decided to hold on for another few years, acknowledging if not completely accepting change. But, as we have always done, we  will continue to fix the things that break.  It’s worked pretty well for fifty one years.

This posting is from the archives.  On Feb 3, my beautiful wife and I celebrated our 57th anniversary.  How blessed I am.



Posted in Aging, Beauty, Family, Life, Love, Marriage, Memories, Reflection, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments