“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers.
It’s true of my marriage. Kristine, when I err on the side of sitting, refers to me as a beached whale despite my weighing in at a mere 126 pounds.
I am not a Lilliputian, but, I have lost four inches in height and 26 pounds in weight in about the last quarter century. Helps me to move faster on my skinny legs and sit less on my bony bottom. Happy non-sitting to each of you.
“When I can look life in the eyes, grown calm and very coldly wise, life will have given me the truth, and taken in exchange – my youth.” Sarah Teasdale Pulitzer Prize-winning, 20th-century American poet.
Yes. Many of us are older but wiser.
What about Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth? What have we lost? It just doesn’t feel the same awakening in the morning. I just don’t spring from the mattress. It’s a process, not a single act.
Youth meant running, smoothly responding to a well-hit tennis ball, and, even, now and then, hitting a backhand down the line with margin at full tilt. I can only find that joy again in my mind’s eye.
As much as I enjoy the peace and calm of retirement, there are days I miss the swift, noisy days of yore. Yes “yore.” That’s a time long, long ago.
Cynthia Weil, the lyricist for the Righteous Brothers huge, 1964 hit, “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” died Thursday. It brought to mind for me the bittersweet “romance” of my sophomore year in college.
She had Natalie Wood’s eyes and a smile that could stop traffic. She came to Emory from St Louis in an eye catching navy blue Peugeot. That woman was adorable zipping around our campus in that car.
We danced a few times to that Lovin’ Feeling hit and she did just that, lost it, in my alleged mind. Looking back, her love for me was a figment of my sophomoric imagination. Nonetheless, sure was, and still is, a wonderful song.
“Love is the grand prize and the garbage heap. Love is a spiritual root canal and the only thing that makes life worth living. Love is a little taste of always and a big bite of nothing. And love is everything in between these extremes” Robert Fulghum, an American writer.
Ain’t that the truth. Her silence can turn my day into a confinement in solitary. Kristine’s smile can buoy my spirits to ethereal heights.
Once Kris went on a trip with other women shepherding a group of students. She left me a voicemail while traveling which I repeated often to hear her tender, beautiful voice. Wow, did I miss her.
When we clash it is oh so trying. To say I love Kristine is an understatement. It is all a grand blessing.
“Our time is finite, we are growing frailer, old age costs money, we aren’t sure how we fit into the world.”Just retired, Stephen Kreider Yoder, a Wall Street editor, wrote in an article published today with his spouse. At 78, I thank God I don’t feel frail, we have enough to live comfortably absent an unexpected disaster, and we have to some extent learned to fit into this beautiful and threatening world.
Time in prayer and contemplation eases my mind. Televised, multi pixelated sports offer a welcome appreciation of batting and pitching at their best and worst, as well as, hitting a tennis ball on the run. Multifaceted reading deepens and broadens my days.
Our almost half century marriage is challenged by a life without kids around or a daily job. Love is complicated.
The preciousness of life has reared its beautiful head as Father time is more than a distant shadow in our lives.
“When we neglect the artist in ourselves, there is a kind of mourning that goes on under the surface of our busy lives.” Pat Schneider, an American writer.
I feel one reason elders seem to score higher on happiness surveys is that they have lots of time for creative endeavors, if retired or working part time. It’s an enormous gift in retirement. I’m sure enhanced creativity is something much of the workforce targets preparing for the last quarter.
Yet, I sure think it’s important to buffer the stress of work and allow for the creative. You say you have no time? Take the quick route, short poetry or short blogs. You say art is something alien to you? To me, it Sounds contrary to the human brain.
The Lord blessed us with something special, the creative aspect of our lives. May it bring you joy.
“Humans consist of body, mind and imagination. Our bodies are faulty, our minds untrustworthy, but our imagination has made us remarkable.” John Masefield, a 20th century English poet.
Our bodies let us down, the more so with age. That’s why we’ve had Medicare for elders for about 60 years. Our minds have faulty memories and worsen with age.
But our imagination has brought us the theory of relativity, gene therapy, AI, East of Eden, Ulysses and Ted Lasso. Could we ask for anything more?
Yes, Ted Lasso, about which Margaret Renkl wrote, “But there is something about Ted Lasso’s sunny optimism and faith in silliness as a social lubricant, something about his openness and his unshakable kindness, that lifted Americans’ pandemic-worn hearts.”
“I have a rendezvous with life.” Counter Cullen, 20th century, American poet. I like the synonym engagement for that long term of French origin with that silent “z.”
Life is such a grand gift. Sometimes, there are moments we will never, ever forget.
The moment of engagement to Kristine so raised my spirits, uplifting my life. It led to our rendezvous with our two wonderful children, their captivating spouses, and our grandsons.
As an athlete, I just edged into the middle of the pack. So, two, and only two, events stand out. The only triple I ever knocked, which, incidentally, broke up a little league no-hitter, was an unforgettable engagement between bat and ball. The same was true of my only running, one-handed backhand down the line ever. It was in a singles match in 1974. How did the shot ever happen?
Ah, those unique moments rising well above the mundane. They are gifts from God for each of us in this short, beautiful life.
“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. “WALTER ELLIOT, 20th century, Scottish politician. Well said Walter.
Reminds me of what it took to get through my higher education. I would go through my class notes enough times to digest them and then bring them to mind when tested. I wanted to eliminate nerves from the equation so I took many short “races” through the notes.
I also used a magic slate. It was a device on which the first few times through the notes I could essentially rewrite them without wasting paper. It enhanced the chances they woul be remembered, the pen to brain connection I understood existed.
It was all perseverance with a capital “P.” But, it served me well.
I brought it back to life of late to pass the over 70 years of age, written, drivers license renewal test in California. The state was reminded that I haven’t lost all my marbles yet.
“Novels are about men and women and children and dogs, not politics.” John Cheever, the late, Pulitzer Prize-winning American short story writer and novelist.
I think he’s right. The world of politics just doesn’t engage most of us well in the novels we enjoy.
It’s the development of the characters, the detail, and the chance to enter inside the mind of another that enhance those 📚 s that enliven our days.
And thank God for the heart of that, a good story.