When my clock landed on seventy I began taking note of what being a senior citizen involved. Like all phases of my life, I see this one as just another chapter in the book. I’ve pretty much accepted each chapter and enjoyed turning the pages. I think my only fear is still having a life while having no quality of life. But in the meanwhile, here’s a few of the aging thing I noticed most recently.
I’ve always loved to travel but in the past year or so, I’ve not been willing to venture too far from my family doctor and the medical community I’m familiar with. Even twenty years younger I didn’t want to get too far from a Walmart and a hospital. On two Florida fishing trips, I ended up in an ER and had to get back home under adverse conditions, including a severely broken shoulder. These days going to Columbus may be too far.
For much of my life, I’ve heard warnings that young children and the elderly should take certain precautions such as, be sure to get your flu shot, pneumonia can be deadly for geezers so be sure to get your pneumonia shot, or colon cancer is the silent killer so with a smile say “I’d love it” when a proctologist asks to shove a ten-foot rubber hose up your butt.
A sure sign of old age and one that slowly creeps up on you is losing most connections to popular culture. Just watch the Grammy Awards or sit around listening to your grandchildren talk about what they’re doing for entertainment. You know you’re old when it all sounds like Swahili.
Somewhere along life’s journey waitresses and nurses began calling me honey or sweety. I’m probably on the same page with Andy Rooney with that one. Look girly, my name is Larry or Mr. Chapman. Hell, I’d even be okay with gramps.
One I do enjoy is having young people hold doors open for me and calling me sir. If I could only get them to salute as I pass by.
THE EGG: A photograph of an egg, posted on Jan. 5, has become Instagram’s most-liked post of all time with some 19.5 million likes. This vaults the egg, that is, a photograph of an egg, ahead of a photo of Kylie Jenner’s newborn daughter to claim the record.
On January 7, 2019, a Michigan family, returning from a Florida vacation, was struck by a drunk driver, driving in the wrong direction on I-75 in Kentucky. The parents and their three children were killed in a fiery head-on collision.
I first became aware of this tragedy while watching the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. What caught my attention was at the end of the story Holt identified the victims as a Muslim family from Michigan. I had to ask, why was their religion important or germane to the story? He would have never said five Catholics or five Methodists died in the wreck. Why mention that these people were Muslim and what does it say?
Back in the ’50s, it was quite common to see bent willow furniture sitting on people’s porches and patios. A childhood friend had two chairs on their porch and I always loved sitting in them. They were handmade by an older man who lived in a small shack along a nearby creek. The creek and surrounding wetlands gave him all the raw materials he needed.
He would build single chairs as well as couches and side tables. The fellow didn’t have a car or truck so he pushed a large two-wheeled cart loaded with his furniture up and down the village streets peddling his wares. On days he didn’t have furniture to sell he would push his cart around town hauling away people’s scrap metals and newspapers.
I believe the only piece of willow furniture we ever had was a small child’s rocking chair that one of our daughters used for her children.
Several years ago I was driving through the Florida Panhandle and came upon a large pickup truck with a cab-over rack. The vehicle was heavily loaded with beautiful bent willow furniture. I don’t know where they were from or where they were going but I sure wish I’d chased them down and brought a couple of chairs home.
It’s been a long time since I gave the subject any thought but today I came across a video of a young man in Kentucky who’s keeping the craft alive. If I wasn’t so damned old now I’d look the guy up and place an order. I’ll post the video below and hopefully, this will bring back some pleasant memories for you.
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Recently my wife and I were watching a TV segment about a child with extreme emotional problems and was a genuine threat to his siblings. It was part of a piece about the shortage of psychiatric hospital beds for children in America. When the piece was over we put the TV on pause and began talking about our youth in the 1950s.
Neither of us could recall any examples of such children in our small hometown. Our local hospital was nothing more than a large two-story house and our doctors carried most of what they needed in leather bags and regularly made house calls. Few people knew what a pediatrician or psychiatrist was.
Today mark’s the official opening of the 2018 hurricane season and the American territory of Puerto Rico, and its millions of American citizens, is ill prepared for the arrival the hurricane that will most surely pay them a visit this summer. The island is far from recovering last year’s category four hurricane Maria. So little attention is given that it’s easy to assume the administration, FEMA, and Trump have forgotten it exists.
And, according to Media Matters, we can add cable news channels to the list of those whose eyes have turned elsewhere.
“On Tuesday, two things happened: A New England Journal of Medicine article by Harvard researchers argued that the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was most likely thousands higher than the official number of 64; and Roseanne Barr, the sitcom star, was fired for a racist Twitter rant. According to the watchdog group Media Matters, CNN devoted nearly five hours to discussing Roseanne, and just over 12 minutes to discussing Puerto Rico. The other cable news networks, Fox News and MSNBC, were similarly lopsided, with Fox spending just 48 seconds on the Puerto Rico study.”
Could one argue that America has its priorities all messed up?
Late last summer the US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was struck by two major hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Along with the US Virgin Islands these American territories were devastated. The physical infrastructure and economies of these islands remain far from recovery. NPR recently reported:
“Puerto Rico still has areas contending with terrible living conditions following Hurricane Maria and the lackluster response to the storm from the mainland United States. Even the deadly effects of the storm are far from over: With many still living without power or their lives otherwise disrupted, particularly elderly populations, the overall suicide rate in Puerto Rico increased 27 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 levels.”
These people are American citizens yet, in many ways our government has turned its back on them. Somehow America’s president appears to think that flying into the scene and tossing a few rolls of paper towels is all that’s needed. It gave him his photo opportunity.
If your state is possibly the poorest, least educated, most conservative state in the nation; well, that’s what’s wrong with it. It also doesn’t help if your state’s flag still includes a version of the Confederate flag. Having too many of the people portrayed in the attached video also doesn’t speak well.
I’ve been to Mississippi many times and things are slowly changing. The state and local governments have done some amazing things in creating a blues and music based tourist economy. But despite the steps forward there are too many people who would take it back to the pre civil rights era. Mississippi’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump is a strong statement to this.
Couple of years ago I heard a black Mississippi judge speak of the new Mississippi. The fact that he was black and a judge speaks to things new. Unfortunately there’s too much old in Mississippi.
They say a person is never too old to learn something new and that happens to me often. A couple of months ago I learned that there is an entire world-wide subculture that enjoys videos of people getting their pimples and blackheads extracted by dermatologists. There’s even a dermatologist in California who has become world-renowned by the title, Dr. Pimplepopper. It’s been rumored that there is discussion about her hosting a reality TV show on one of the major cable networks.
It was around 1997, off the coast of NC, that I brought my first shark aboard my brother’s center console. We were drift fishing around a manmade reef near Morehead City when some deadweight thing took my frozen shrimp and began pulling. There wasn’t any fight or sport. Just an exercise in lifting a piece of lead to the surface.
Once it surfaced my brother identified it as a dogfish and warned me about the sharp spine in front of it’s dorsal fin. We didn’t keep it but when I got back to Joe’s home I looked it up on the Internet and learned that it was the world’s most common family of sharks and highly prized for its food value. One major market is Northern Europe and the UK where it is sold in fish ‘n chip shops and labeled rock salmon.
American fishermen who harvest dogfish export almost all it to Europe. The fins are sold into Asian markets where it’s made into a cheaper form of shark fin soup.
Since that first dogfish I’ve caught a ton of them. In the colder seasons of NC they may be the only thing you catch and you’ll begin to see them as a nuisance. Most species of shark are great fun to catch. A common one in NC is the Atlantic sharpnose and a 10-20 pounder will let you know you’ve had your string stretched.
I’ve yet to eat shark meat but it’s on my bucket list. I have some trepidations about cleaning one since I’ve read that they urinate through their skin and if you don’t clean them properly the flesh will have the taste and flavor of ammonia. I need an old-timer to be with me and teach me the ropes.
The largest shark, and fish, I’ve caught was a 110 pound spinner shark. I caught it off the pier at Emerald Isle, NC. Took me about an hour to get it to the pier and I had to cut it loose since there was no way I could lift it.
WASHINGTON BAD: Jeff Pence, the dude Trump is appointing to be the next US Attorney General is not a pot friendly person. He has said in public that, “good people don’t use marijuana.” Well in the state of Washington pot sales in the 2nd quarter of 2016 reached $212 million compared to $249 million for alcohol sales.
All political parties have their Kool-Aid drinkers, those die hards who willingly ignore all the evidence against their beliefs and take one for the team.
I remember in the Johnson-Goldwater election in 1964 meeting an old Greenfield butcher who spent his day telling everyone he met that Barry Goldwater was mentally deranged and had spent time institutionalized. The claim originated with a totally unscientific poll a magazine had taken of psychologist and became accepted wisdom. After the election Goldwater sued and won.
So the question arises, how do you know if you’re one of the Kool-Aid drinkers, that you would drink the cyanide laced beverage for the sake of your tribe? The answer was just made very easy. If when you look at the photo of Michelle Obama embracing George W. Bush and don’t see a high degree of tolerance and civility, you would reach for the paper cup.
Our pepper mill broke so we went to a kitchen ware shop in Chillicothe to pickup a new one. Walking towards the door my wife commented on how much she enjoyed wandering around these kinds of places.
A little later I mentioned that if we were twenty years younger I’d like to have the kitchen remodeled with new cabinets, appliances, and the works. We both commented on how neither of us may live long enough to see it finished even if we did start such a project.
We celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary back in July but weren’t able to do anything special. Then our daughter called with news about a rock ‘n roll show in Dayton featuring Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian. I asked Janet if she was interested and she was. So, I got decent tickets, made a motel reservation and on the 6th of August we headed north.
The concert was held at the Rose Music Center in Hubert Heights and it is a fantastic venue. It seats about 4200 people, all under a roof, plenty of parking, easy access, good amenities, etc. The only negative was sitting on the east side of the venue. This event began at 7 pm and half way through the setting sun dropped below the
I have a Facebook friend who stimulates the conversation by asking a Question of the Day. Today the question was, “Are you a planner or a winger?” Considering my response got me to thinking about some family and friends.
My wife is a planner, Rarely does she engage in anything without considering all the details and weighing all the contingencies. I’m not really being critical because it frequently proves that her way saved the day . She makes a good balance to my almost total impulse to wing it. This is especially true when traveling.
One of my best friends retired about the same time as I did. We had discussed what we would do and we agreed to be spontaneous and impulsive. He once said to me, “If I pull in your driveway and say jump in, we’re going to Connecticut for a hot pastrami sandwich, grab your toothbrush and kiss your wife.” I agreed and on a couple of occasions we did things just like that. On one occasion, while fishing in the too early spring we came off the lake and decided to pack a bag and drive south until the thermometer hit 80 degrees. By the next day we were in Key West, Florida.