Looking Forward

“Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder, the late American author.

Our lives have depth and suffering. We have obstacles that find us pushing uphill. At the same time, silliness, laughter, and smiles sprinkle the days of our journey.

Sitting here today pushing 78 in a few months, I notice many of those “obituaried” never outdistanced me. I attempted to be remembered with some lightness in penning my memoirs.

The value of a wide-brimmed, beaming smile is incalculable as with its sibling belly laughter. May you and I be remembered by God’s grace with some of that lightness besides the tears.

The Grand Gift

Sister Andre, the world’s oldest known person, just died at 118. She was a French nun. The sister survived the 1918 flu pandemic and a case of Covid.

A Holocaust survivor died at 116. Who would have thought that was doable? Good fortune sometimes surprises all of us.

There are those with exquisite discipline with exercise, diet, etc. who are stricken with terminal cancer long before 100. Those people are victims of misfortune. Their numbers are significant.

By God’s grace, He blesses each of us with the precious gift of life. As none of us know what tomorrow morning will bring, every moment has enormous value.

A Striking Obit

Kristine and I ate at a delightful restaurant for my last birthday. In the course of eating my entree, I spilled its sauce on my best shirt.

My favorite cleaner took about two weeks to get the stain out. I was astonished they got it out just as I was amazed the last time they got a sunscreen stain out of my suit jacket.

I read a New York Times, obituary of a man named Adolfo Kaminsky on Tuesday morning. As a young man in France he learned to take out very difficult stains while working at a cleaner.

When WWII started with men, women and children of the Jewish faith at serious risk of torture and death by the Nazis, he became an expert forger. Kaminsky could take legal documents, wash out even the “indelible ink” of a Jewish name and replace it with a gentile name. His skill and bravery saved countless lives.

Adolfo was not only NOT tortured and killed, but as noted just died, and, at 97 years of age. Thank God for Mr. Kaminsky and his fellow resistance fighters. They will not be forgotten.

We Lost Her

Don’t Stop Christine McVie. Makes you want to get up and dance. Doesn’t it?

I heard the sad news that we lost her yesterday A bit later I switched on YouTube for Fleetwood Mac and the USC band doing that number.

These people were meant to sing together. The USC band rocked in unison. Lindsay Buckingham, the lead guitar, made that guitar emote before Christine’s vocal. Christine wailed.

How good were they? I watched the Grammys in February of 1977 where they kept going forward to pick up the awards over and over following the huge success of Rumours.

I met my wife Kristine the next month and we have enjoyed their music all these years since 40 million of the Rumours albums were sold.

They’ll be playing Fleetwood Mac’s music by Christine McVie in 2300. She composed half that phenomenal album. Boy will she be missed.

Our Rivalry and Their Rivalry

“Remember Graham Green’s dictum that childhood is the bank balance of the writer? I think that all writers feel alienated. Most of us go back to an alienated childhood in some way or another. I know that I do.” John le Carré, the late, British spy novelist.

I indeed write and I could not connect to my father, Harold. Men who don’t even know each other connect over sports. That was our sole connection. We frequently were at odds.

My father, lay in a hospital bed in his last year of life. He had Alzheimer’s and I don’t recall what else. The television above was blasting an Ohio State football game a month or two before the Ohio State vs. Michigan annual tussle.

That rivalry began in 1897 and continued uninterrupted from 1918 to 2020. Yes, stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harold was a Boy Scout usher at the opening of the Ohio State stadium in 1922 two weeks before that year’s continuation of the heated rivalry. Exactly 72 years later on the Mexican Day of the Dead, he died.

He and I rarely had a moment’s peace together. However, a highlight of my childhood was a trip in 1952 when, as a seven-year-old, I could attend a Buckeyes’ football game in Columbus with him. So much for good memories of Dad apart from our heated rivalry.

A Third Look at a Fine Memoir

The Unwinding of the Miracle is a work about the richness of life and about facing our deaths directly, realistically and peacefully. The “Unwinding” is life’s process of dying. In this case we have a memoir of the last five years in this brilliant, Chinese-Vietnamese refugee’s miraculous life on which to focus.

The book is filled with beautiful memoirs about the richness and the agony of her last days as a Harvard law graduate with a lovely interracial marriage and two wonderful daughters, though legally blind since infancy. Materially we learn about her tremendous physicality prior to a stage IV (metastatic) cancer diagnosis. Emotionally we are privy to a difficult childhood and her reliance on her family, friends and psychotherapist through the cancer turmoil.

Spiritually, she believes in an afterlife, though not the Biblical view. She has some Buddhism in her spiritual life, though no specific religion is identified. Her husband is a Protestant who is a regular church attender. One of her daughters is particularly attracted to her father’s church. Her faith in God and a life after death have a substantive effect on her journey.

The book begins as we are told if we are reading her work; she has now passed away. In some sense, it is a lesson for all of us as we appreciate the heightened intensity of living one’s last days. It is a gripping beautiful work, to those who love the genre of memoir. It operates at a meaningful depth for the reader as in these last days Ms. Yip-Williams wastes no words.

Another Look

Our Loss of a Great American Hero, Now, Almost Six Years Ago

It was December 8th, 2016, when we lost Senator John Glenn. He was an Ohioan as were the Wright brothers and Neil Armstrong of flight fame.

John Glenn was well known for attracting the fire of antiaircraft guns as a fighter pilot. He also guided a spacecraft into our atmosphere so as to avoid becoming a great ball of fire. Later evidence indicated the maneuvers weren’t needed because the instrument signal re the heat shield was inaccurate. Nevertheless, NOBODY knew that at the time.

On top of everything else, despite being a human guinea pig/test pilot, he lived to the ripe old age of 95. The late Tom Wolfe was crystal clear, he had The Right Stuff.

Now that’s protoplasm! But even more importantly, that extraordinary good fortune was the hand of God.