Thoughts Entering December

The decade will end in 31 days. I have a reasonable shot at reaching the 4th decade of the 21st Century as I now enter its 3rd. So much for higher mathematics.

I have been retired for almost six years. Seemed like six days. I got to snuggle with my grandkids, share my old age with the love of my life, stay afloat financially and breathe those aromatic Pacific breezes.

So far so good on my health. But things on the graph can cross in the elderly. My aerobic workouts for my heart and brain can hurt my knees. That’s even on bikes and ellipticals.

On the other hand I have NOTHING to complain about as another sweet decade passes by. Thank God for the gift of life. L’chaim.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

Ford v. Ferrari, a Movie Review

This marvelous film took me back to my teens and twenties with its driving, melodic, theme music and key auto enthusiasts of the 60’s. Though I loved that sport in that decade, the movie stood on its own as a great film. The critical driver, Ken Miles, was portrayed by the superb English actor Christian Bales.

The relationship between Ken, his spouse and their one son was beautifully and realistically presented. Matt Damon’s version of the racing enthusiast Carroll Shelby was memorable, particularly his wonderful friendship with Miles that grew exponentially in the film.

Miles’ absolute love for creating, repairing and driving great motor cars is the soul of this authentic film.

To all of us who have hassled with the arrogance and unkindness of some people in authority, that battle raged between the Shelby/Miles team and the “suits”  of Ford. It, along with the racing, drove this beautifully directed and acted movie. Finally the writing was extraordinary leaving one deeply engaged. My best advice, try not to miss it, especially on the large screen with the magnificent sound of those wonderful cars.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

The Reason For This Coming Holiday Season

“One Solitary Life

This is a popular poem about the life of Jesus Christ. Although the author is frequently cited as “unknown” the poem is actually attributed to James Allen Francis.

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned–put together–have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.*

*Attributed to James Allen Francis.”


A Loud Signal One Might Heed

It seems like frequently I see beautiful, expensive cars parked in handicapped spaces. Is this pure chance? Personally, I don’t think so.

The pace of life at the end of the second decade of the 21st Century is EXTRAORDINARY. That pace has its hazards, particularly to the overdriven, Type A personality.

Podiatrists see the same arthritis in the feet that incapitates some and is almost a non-issue to others. Pathologists autopsy people with arterial disease but no cardiac history. Why the discrepancies?

From my view people who overdo pay a huge price. Moderation in all things is ancient wisdom. The Sabbath is a gift from God. Those handicapped spots filled with luxury cars are a megaphone to those of us who may be pushing harder than we should. Don’t you think?

Thanksgiving Minus Ten Days

I was walking outside today on this beautiful, SoCal day, thanking God for my good fortune. I saw some green, vibrant trees up the hills west of me. The sky was cloudless and bright. Our nation’s flag not far from me was waving in a gentle breeze.

The flag brought to mind that had my grandparents stayed in Lithuania or Hungary, likely,  both my family lines would have ended during the Holocaust. This country has been the safest place for Jews to live since its inception. I am sure that wasn’t lost on any of my four grandparents.

I am thankful that at 68 I was in a position to retire. These last six years out of the workforce have reinvigorated my soul.

I thank God for my two adult children and two small grandchildren. To simply say they enhance my old age would be understatement.

May our good Lord bless you and keep you on the last Thursday of November. May it be a day filled with laughter, delight and thanksgiving.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

A Picnic I Won’t Forget

It was likely the summer of about 2000. Y2K was a distant memory though millions had been wasted on inaccurate fears, advice and action. Getting away from life’s hassles, or so we thought, our church was having an outdoor family event/picnic. It took place somewhere off the back roads of San Diego.

The location was a multi-acre piece of land. It was somewhat parched that summer though there were enough trees to suggest this might be a park. Additionally there were no street lights, roads or sidewalks. The sure sign of a park was that our cellphones wouldn’t work. There was also a sign at its entrance with the word “Park.”

All 75 or so of us hiked downhill from the parking lot several miles to a small lagoon. The water at one edge of the lagoon ended at the bottom of a 50 ft., stony, small cliff.

Before long several teen boys were jumping from the cliff into the water. All seemed well as the jumps were in full view of their folks.

Then, our ten year old son decided to jump. He leaped without incident a few times. On his first leap I believed that my coronaries were trying to tell me something. But, soon I realized this was just a simpler matter of overwhelming panic.

Several people in the group realized that with the rapidly rising temperature, the uphill hike back was going to be challenging. And so it began.

As I made the trek with my family we had less and less water. What water we had was warm. Our tongues were parched. Our breathing was labored and we were workout folks with an athletic ten year old.

That was with the exception of my daughter who at 20 was close to peaking as an athlete. She  went to the head of the pack and left us in the dust.

Two years before that she was a college freshman. On a visit to her school she introduced me to a gal on her flag football team. My daughter quarterbacked the team. The women’s arm was in a cast. My wonderful offspring looked me squarely in the eye. She said, “Dad it has been her job on the line to protect me.” I was almost calmed by her reply.

Back to the uphill effort, the only thing I was sure of was that I would not be “returning to the dust” before my time. One out of shape hiker was hospitalized at the end of the hike. As for me, at 55, I felt  old for the first time in my life. That picnic was no picnic.

H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, novelist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me and The Bloom is on the Rose, all available on Amazon

Looking Back 57 Years

It was my first day at Emory University in the fall of 1963. I was with my fellow freshman on a huge, green lawn on a breezy, crisp day. We awaited some sort of orientation.

The campus was in a section of Atlanta called Decatur. It was and is an older, distinguished neighborhood.

I was Jewish, attending a Methodist school, because, it could provide an excellent premedical education. I was to learn that would match up well with the needs of many of my soon to be, Jewish, fraternity brothers

That day out on the lawn I was scared. It was all new to me.

Like most of my fellow freshmen I was now competing with a smarter group of students than I had in high school. It was an unknown.

As I look back it is hard to believe how wet I was behind the ears, so much so it was hard to keep my glasses on. I was so full of fright that day it was all I could do to smile.

As noted soon after orientation I joined one of two, Jewish fraternities on campus. Despite the problematic reputation some collegiate fraternities have now, I think mine was an advantage. It was a bunch of Jewish guys knowing some of life would be uphill given their ethnicity. As a result they worked extremely hard.

Socially most of the freshman, frat brothers had a lot to learn. As naive and immature as we were, we were fixed up with high school girls. There was one remarkable exception to the immaturity rule. This was a freshman, fraternity brother who for the sake of this piece I will call Tom.

One night at the frat house, Tom told several of us, as 18 to 19 year olds, that the woman we would marry was now 12 years old. He was dead right about me and I suspect several others.

Tom’s girlfriend a high schooler almost his age was just as street savvy as Tom. I guess one might call that a high, social IQ. Mine is still in mid-range after 75 years. So much for growing up.

On the flip side, the two of them have been married for over fifty years and clearly confirmed their finely honed instincts as very young adults. Tom is still a friend and cannot remember that memorable remark in the frat house. So much for memoirs…

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon

The Green Book, a Movie Review, Revisited

The Green Book, a Movie Review

I am revisiting an earlier blog about a memorable film. Last April I wrote:

I have meant to see The Green Book since it was first advertised. Somehow life got in the way.

Then, Mahersha Ali who played the wonderful pianist Don Shirley, won the Academy Award as did the film and the screenplay. The movie looked better and better to me.

Tonight I finally got a chance to cry and laugh and cheer through this beautiful film. I was born and raised in the Midwest but received my education after high school in the Deep South. I knew the travesty and tragedy of its racism in the 60s.

That place and that decade were eloquently portrayed in this beautifully written, directed and acted film. The film is filled with much humanity and some inhumanity.

It is Shakespearean in the sense it addresses vital, ever present, relational issues brilliantly. Viggo Mortensen and Mahersha Ali bring it to life. Anyone who hasn’t seen this film should breathe it in deeply and reflect upon its impact. Don’t miss this one. I repeat, Don’t miss it.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon