Thursday, November 21, 2013

Special Delivery

                          I only wanted her to know my feelings

                          I didn't mean for everyone to know

                          My note should have been only seen by her eyes

                          It wasn't something they were meant to show.

                         



I told many things about myself in my memoir: Mr. Joe; Tales of a Haunted Life. Sometimes I have trouble remembering which stories were in the published book and which ones were left on the "cutting room floor". This story wasn't in the final version, but it is a good one and one I want to share.

I was raised in a small town in southern West Virginia. The town had a  grade school that served grades 1-6. The school had two classrooms, a cafeteria, and maybe one or two more rooms if my memory serves me correctly. Remembering  the number of rooms in the school is not important to me. The memory of what happened in one of those rooms is.

I was in the first grade with maybe three or four others. I remember there being four rows of desks with each row being a different grade. If you can imagine a classroom scene from Little House on the Prairie, you will understand. I would guess that there were no more than two dozen students in the room. I was in the row farthest to the left. The girl I fell in love with was sitting a few rows away from me. I had fallen for an "older woman". I had fallen in love with Sue.

After almost a year of watching Sue from two rows over, I decided to make my move. I found that it was best if I learned how to print before I would send her a note. A paper full of scribbling did not seem like the best way to express my feelings. Even at that age, I had planned ahead.

I pulled out a blank sheet of paper and  printed the first love note of my life. I wrote the words "I love you" and quickly folded it to hide my message from everyone but Sue. I thought that if I handed it to my friend in the next row he would help help me deliver my message. Boy, was I ever wrong!

Instead of passing my note to the next row, my "friend" passed it to the student in front of him. Each student then took their turn reading my note and  passing it to the next. My note seemed like a snake weaving its way up and down the rows. I had been busted and it didn't feel good. Each time someone read my note they would turn and point at me and laugh.

The sad part is that Sue never received the note that day. In fact, she didn't know of its existence until sixty years later. She was the only one in the room who didn't know how I felt about her.

I reconnected with Sue on facebook maybe a year ago. I told her this story and how she had been my first love. I also saw her last summer on a visit back home. I finally got the hug  and kiss that I had longed for so many years ago. Even at six years old, I had picked a winner. Sue is a very special lady!

Friday, November 8, 2013

The "Parting" Room


                                 I'm sorry if I bothered you, I seem to have some gas

                                 But, as my doctor put it, all these things will pass

                                 I didn't know they had a room for what we're going to do

                                 And I will do the best I can to get along with you.


I am almost finished with my "Wellness" physical that was provided by my Medicare supplement. I have only one more hurdle to clear before it is complete. All I have left is the ever popular colonoscopy. I have always dreamed of being on camera so I guess I should cherish this opportunity.

I don't know much about this procedure at all. I know what they do and where they do it, but that's the extent of my knowledge. I did, however, learn something by going with my sister when she had this done a few months ago.

I learned that there is a room where the patients go immediately after their colonoscopy. It is a place where they spend a little time before going into the recovery room. It's an area where they are sent to release all of the gas that was built up "during filming". The name of the room sounds strikingly close to the name I chose for this blog. You might even say that it rhymes with it.

I don't normally have a problem meeting people, but this could be tricky. I am trying to picture myself laying on some sort of bed beside other senior citizens with one thing in common. All of us face down wearing a hospital gown passing gas. That has to be one reason that they give you medication to block that memory. I could have many sleepless nights in the future if not for that drug.

I retired from a custodial position in a wonderful school district. Even with all I was subjected to over the years, I can't top this one. I can't imagine being responsible for this area. Is there a grace period between when the last patient leaves and when the cleaning process begins. I would jump through hoops to read this persons job description. Would he get paid by the hour with a bonus for every patient over a certain number? I guess I will never know the details.

I don't need to think about all of these things right now. All I should concentrate on is doing what I need to in order to live a healthy life. My appointment is not for a couple of weeks. I will put any worries I have on the "back burner" for now.










                               






Saturday, November 2, 2013

Just Checking


                       
                             
                                 
    I just signed up for Medicare and got my checkup free

    I went to see the doctor to find out what's wrong with me

    He checked my weight, he checked my chart, and then checked my behind

    And told me I looked healthy and there's nothing he could find

    He's sending me around this town to undergo some tests

    He told me not to worry, that is was all for the best.

                                 

                                           
I had my "Wellness" examination at my family doctor's office this week. This is a free physical offered to individuals who are starting on Medicare. It is meant to start the members off on a healthy path through their senior years.

I was sitting in the examining room full of self confidence. That was a strange sensation considering my medical history over the past few years. But, things had changed for me. My surgeries had been successful and a healthy lifestyle seemed to fit me like a glove. For the first time in my life I was taking good care of myself.

I have had the same doctor for going on twenty years.I trust him and always try to answer his questions as honestly as I can. When he first entered the room he took a few minutes to read any information I had given the nurse earlier. After checking the computer he handed me a booklet titled Living Well at the End of Life. He followed that by asking me whether I have made my final arrangements and who they should call if something should happen to me.

On a "bedside manner" scale of one to ten, this might be a two at best. What the heck had the nurse written down and what had he seen on the computer. I was thinking that it couldn't get any worse, but I soon found that I was mistaken. I'm not sure of his exact words, but they had something to do with dropping pants and bending over. I was pretty sure I was the one he was referring to since he wasn't showing any signs of movement.

Before the appointment ended he assured me that it was standard procedure to give me the booklet and ask the questions that had made me feel uneasy. He then told me I would have some paperwork to pick up on the way out. The "physical" turned out to be a series of screenings for me to undergo rather than procedures in his office. Well, except for the part that included rubber gloves and Vasoline.

I have several appointments over the next few weeks. They include blood work, an ultrasound, and a colonoscopy. None of these things will be found on my favorites list, but they are all necessary. I have a wonderful family and many friends who are very special to me. I plan to do everything in my power to stick around and enjoy them. I think it's everyone's responsibility to do the same.





Sunday, October 27, 2013

Falling Back

               I regret that I can't set it and I knew I should buy two
               Now, the time is changing and I’m not sure what to do
               Just after I sprang forward, I’m expected to fall back
               I need to buy two watches, it’s the knowledge that I lack

               It’s hard to read instructions when they’re fifteen pages long
               I can’t remember at what point I started going wrong
               I can’t tell which knob I should push and which one I should hold
               I do know that this process is starting to get old

               I guess I’ll have to wait a while until I see my son
               He might just be my only hope of getting all this done
               So here is something that you’ll hear, every day from me
               In this case I’m glad the apple…fell far from the tree!

The concept of Daylight Saving Time was first introduced by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 on a visit to London. He was trying to find a way to save on the use of candles. He also wanted to find a way to enable us to make better use of the daylight hours.

There is one more fact that I know about this time change. I know that I am unable to follow the instructions that were included with my digital watch. The only answer that I could come up with was to buy two watches.

This time I thought I would express my thoughts in a poem. I hope you enjoy it!


              


Monday, October 21, 2013

"Trick or Treat"

                                I did not even care about the candy
                                Their reaction to my outfit meant much more
                                The sad part is they did not even notice
                                The very clever costume that I wore.                                          
                                          
                                          
                                                                                             
It’s getting close to Halloween and that got the old wheels turning. I remember going out to trick or treat when I was young. The first costume I can remember wearing was of a skeleton. The most unappreciated thing I ever did was to put on an entire “Sunday School” outfit backwards. It was complete with coat and a tie which was resting on my spine as I backed up to the doors of the neighborhood.

I had found several pairs of my father’s old shoes in an upstairs storage room. These shoes were so old that they were almost in style again. He never wore them and probably was not even aware of their existence.  I chose a pair of lace ups and quickly removed the shoestrings. I was about to test my theory.

I had thought that I could possibly wear my dad’s shoes backwards for that night and I was about to see if my plan would work. I needed to be able to slide the back of my foot as far as I could into the opening where the laces normally were.

I’m not sure what age I was, but I remember the sport coat and tie that I was wearing. That allows me to get it within a year or two. Since I never had more than one coat and tie at the same time, my best guess would put me at about ten or eleven years old. My feet were not nearly the size that they are today so the plan actually worked. I was able to wear my father’s shoes backwards for at least an hour or two and that was all the time I needed.

I completed my look by wearing a mask on the back of my head and one of my dad’s hats. I was ready to go for the candy, squashed up feet and all. I was about to walk the streets of Glen Ferris backwards.
I don’t remember a lot more about that night. I can still picture the people handing me candy, but they did not comment on my outfit. The way I remember it is that they told me I looked nice.

Glen Ferris was a small community of about seventy one houses. I know this because I delivered the local newspaper and I had every house but one as a customer. In the days after Halloween the neighbors would discuss which outfits they liked the most or which were the scariest. They didn’t seem to have a favorite costume, but they all seemed to agree on the strangest one they had seen. 

None of them could understand why a young boy had chosen to wear a coat and tie for a Halloween costume.  They all said it was nice, but lacked imagination. They said it had no pizazz!

Sometimes our best ideas are not appreciated. There are also times when others aren’t even aware of our efforts. I guess my night of walking backwards from door to door went unnoticed. We learn that everything does not always work out like we think it will. We just keep going on…one step at a time.


"Trick or Treat"

                          I didn't even care about the candy
                          Their reaction to my outfit meant much more
                          The sad part is they did not even notice
                          The very clever costume that I wore.                                          
                                          
                                          
                                                                                             
It’s getting close to Halloween and that got the old wheels turning. I remember going out to trick or treat when I was young. The first costume I can remember wearing was of a skeleton. The most unappreciated thing I ever did was to put on an entire “Sunday School” outfit backwards. It was complete with coat and a tie which was resting on my spine as I backed up to the doors of the neighborhood.

I had found several pairs of my father’s old shoes in an upstairs storage room. These shoes were so old that they were almost in style again. He never wore them and probably wasn’t even aware of their existence.  I chose a pair of lace ups and quickly removed the shoestrings. I was about to test my theory
.
I had thought that I could possibly wear my dad’s shoes backwards for that night and I was about to see if my plan would work. I needed to be able to slide the back of my foot as far as I could into the opening where the laces normally were.

I’m not sure what age I was, but I remember the sport coat and tie that I was wearing. That allows me to get it within a year or two. Since I never had more than one coat and tie at the same time, my best guess would put me at about ten or eleven years old. My feet were not nearly the size that they are today so the plan actually worked. I was able to wear my father’s shoes backwards for at least an hour or two and that was all the time I needed.

I completed my look by wearing a mask on the back of my head and one of my dad’s hats. I was ready to go for the candy, squashed up feet and all. I was about to walk the streets of Glen Ferris backwards.
I don’t remember a lot more about that night. I can still picture the people handing me candy, but they didn’t comment on my outfit. The way I remember it is that they told me I looked nice.

Glen Ferris was a small community of about seventy one houses. I know this because I delivered the local newspaper and I had every house but one as a customer. In the days after Halloween the neighbors would discuss which outfits they liked the most or which were the scariest. They did not seem to have a favorite costume, but they all seemed to agree on the strangest one they had seen. 

None of them could understand why a young boy had chosen to wear a coat and tie for a Halloween costume.  They all said it was nice, but lacked imagination. They said it had no pizazz!

Sometimes our best ideas are not appreciated. There are also times when others aren’t even aware of our efforts. I guess my night of walking backwards from door to door went unnoticed. We learn that everything does not always work out like we think it will. We just keep going on…one step at a time.


"Trick or Treat"

                                  I didn't even care about the candy
                                  Their reaction to my outfit meant much more
                                  The sad part is they did not even notice
                                  The very clever costume that I wore.                                          
                                          
                                          
                                                                                             
It’s getting close to Halloween and that got the old wheels turning. I remember going out to trick or treat when I was young. The first costume I can remember wearing was of a skeleton. The most unappreciated thing I ever did was to put on an entire “Sunday School” outfit backwards. It was complete with coat and a tie which was resting on my spine as I backed up to the doors of the neighborhood.

I had found several pairs of my father’s old shoes in an upstairs storage room. These shoes were so old that they were almost in style again. He never wore them and probably wasn’t even aware of their existence.  I chose a pair of lace ups and quickly removed the shoestrings. I was about to test my theory.

I had thought that I could possibly wear my dad’s shoes backwards for that night and I was about to see if my plan would work. I needed to be able to slide the back of my foot as far as I could into the opening where the laces normally were.

I’m not sure what age I was, but I remember the sport coat and tie that I was wearing. That allows me to get it within a year or two. Since I never had more than one coat and tie at the same time, my best guess would put me at about ten or eleven years old. My feet were not nearly the size that they are today so the plan actually worked. I was able to wear my father’s shoes backwards for at least an hour or two and that was all the time I needed.

I completed my look by wearing a mask on the back of my head and one of my dad’s hats. I was ready to go for the candy, squashed up feet and all. I was about to walk the streets of Glen Ferris backwards.

I don’t remember a lot more about that night. I can still picture the people handing me candy, but they didn’t comment on my outfit. The way I remember it is that they told me I looked nice
.
Glen Ferris was a small community of about seventy one houses. I know this because I delivered the local newspaper and I had every house but one as a customer. In the days after Halloween the neighbors would discuss which outfits they liked the most or which were the scariest. They didn’t seem to have a favorite costume, but they all seemed to agree on the strangest one they had seen.

None of them could understand why a young boy had chosen to wear a coat and tie for a Halloween costume.  They all said it was nice, but lacked imagination. They said it had no pizazz!

Sometimes our best ideas are not appreciated. There are also times when others aren’t even aware of our efforts. I guess my night of walking backwards from door to door went unnoticed. We learn that everything doesn’t always work out like we think it will. We just keep going on…one step at a time.


"Trick or Treat"

                             I did not even care about the candy
                             Their reaction to my outfit meant much more
                             The sad part is they did not even notice
                             The very clever costume that I wore.                                          
                                          
                                          
                                                                                             
It’s getting close to Halloween and that got the old wheels turning. I remember going out to trick or treat when I was young. The first costume I can remember wearing was of a skeleton. The most unappreciated thing I ever did was to put on an entire “Sunday School” outfit backwards. It was complete with coat and a necktie which was resting on my spine as I backed up to the doors of the neighborhood.

I had found several pairs of my father’s old shoes in an upstairs storage room. These shoes were so old that they were almost in style again. He never wore them and probably was not even aware of their existence.  I chose a pair of lace ups and quickly removed the shoestrings. I was about to test my theory.

I had thought that I could possibly wear my dad’s shoes backwards for that night and I was about to see if my plan would work. I needed to be able to slide the back of my foot as far as I could into the opening where the laces normally were.

I’m not sure what age I was, but I remember the sport coat and tie that I was wearing. That allows me to get it within a year or two. Since I never had more than one coat and tie at the same time, my best guess would put me at about ten or eleven years old. My feet were not nearly the size that they are today so the plan actually worked. I was able to wear my father’s shoes backwards for at least an hour or two and that was all the time I needed.

I completed my look by wearing a mask on the back of my heads and one of my dad’s hats. I was ready to go for the candy, squashed up feet and all. I was about to walk the streets of Glen Ferris backwards.
I don’t remember a lot more about that night. I can still picture the people handing me candy, but they didn’t comment on my outfit. The way I remember it is that they told me I looked nice.

Glen Ferris was a small community of about seventy one houses. I know this because I delivered the local newspaper and I had every house but one as a customer. In the days after Halloween the neighbors would discuss which outfits they liked the most or which were the scariest. They didn’t seem to have a favorite costume, but they all seemed to agree on the strangest one they had seen.

None of them could understand why a young boy had chosen to wear a coat and tie for a Halloween costume.  They all said it was nice, but lacked imagination. They said it had no pizazz!

Sometimes our best ideas are not appreciated. There are also times when others are not even aware of our efforts. I guess my night of walking backwards from door to door went unnoticed. We learn that everything does not always work out like we think it will. We just keep going on…One step at a time.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Some Senior Thoughts

                                  I wish that I could figure out when I became this old

                                  It does not happen overnight, or so I have been told

                                  But, changes happen every day so just enjoy the ride

                                  The most important part of you is how you are inside.




I have seen things in my lifetime that I could not explain with certainty. Things that I knew were real, but I could not understand why they were there. I saw my first one when I was in grade school at a friend’s house.

Of course, I am speaking of chairs in bathrooms. I was used to seeing only one place to sit and it was never upholstered to my knowledge. Most were plain, white, and cold during the winter months. I quickly ruled out any chance that the extra seat was for someone waiting to use the facility. If there ever needed to be a separate waiting area for any place I can think of, the bathroom would have to be at or near the top of the list.

I now have one of these “second seats” as well, but not as a decorating statement. Putting on a pair of shorts or jeans is not as easy as it once was. I can remember hopping across the floor with on leg in and one leg out of my pants while attempting to dress. That was in my younger days when strength and balance were something that I took for granted. Trying that at my age would be a recipe for disaster.

I can also remember having the ability to tie my shoelaces by simply bending over while standing. That is no longer the best option for me. Most times, I now drop to one knee and then the other in order to complete this once simple task. When a chair in available, I use it.

As we grow older, many of the changes in our looks and abilities are gradual. Maybe that is to give us a chance to adapt and accept the differences as we are experiencing them. I once talked about the “funhouse mirrors” that I used to enjoy looking into when going to carnivals. Some would make you look taller and some might make you look twice as heavy as you really were. Some angles would “stretch” your forehead to the point where you looked bald headed.

 Maybe those mirrors were only partly meant for entertainment. Maybe they were also meant to start preparing us for the future. I can remember when seeing a heavy balding person in the mirror made me laugh. Not so much, lately.





Some Senior Thoughts

                                              I wish that I could figure out just when I became old.

                                              It does not happen overnight, or so I have been told

                                              But, changes happen every day so just enjoy the ride

                                              The most important part of you is how you are inside.


I have seen things in my lifetime that I could not explain with certainty. Things that I knew were real, but I could not understand why they were there. I saw my first one at a friend's house when I was still in grade school.
  
Of course, I am speaking of chairs in bathrooms. I was used to seeing only one place to sit and it was never upholstered to my knowledge. Most were plain, white, and cold during the winter months. I quickly ruled out any chance that the extra seat was for someone waiting to use the facility. If there ever needed to be a separate waiting area for any place I can think of, the bathroom would have to be at or near the top of the list.

I now have one of these “second seats” as well, but not as a decorating statement. Putting on a pair of shorts or jeans is not as easy as it once was. I can remember hopping across the floor with on leg in and one leg out of my pants while attempting to dress. That was in my younger days when strength and balance were something that I took for granted. Trying that at my age would be a recipe for disaster.

I can also remember having the ability to tie my shoelaces by simply bending over while standing. That is no longer the best option for me. Most times, I now drop to one knee and then the other in order to complete this once simple task. When a chair in available, I use it.

As we grow older, many of the changes in our looks and abilities are gradual. Maybe that is to give us a chance to adapt and accept the differences as we are experiencing them. I once talked about the “funhouse mirrors” that I used to enjoy looking into when going to carnivals. Some would make you look taller and some might make you look twice as heavy as you really were. Some angles would “stretch” your forehead to the point where you looked bald headed. Maybe those mirrors were only partly meant for entertainment. Maybe they were also meant to start preparing us for the future. I can remember when seeing a heavy balding person in the mirror made me laugh. Not so much, lately.





Friday, October 4, 2013

Retirement Years


                   I don't care if my clock's working and I won't set my alarm
                   I can't see why sleeping past daylight will cause somebody harm
                   I've spent my time at time clocks and I've always done my best
                   I'm at the time in my lifetime when I deserve a rest.


                                      
                                              
                                         

I am rapidly approaching the third anniversary of my retirement. My retirement date was 12/21/2010. It was also known as the “official” day that the world would end. We all like to consider ourselves irreplaceable, but I do not believe that the two events were thought to be connected. I had planned a much quieter celebration.

I wanted to enter into retirement in a classy way. I wanted to leave my work place and my friends with a somber show of gratitude and affection. Maybe running around the room yelling, “You have to work tomorrow and I don’t” was taking it a bit too far. Maybe I should have said “Yippee” once or twice less often. Who knew for sure?

But, now my life is going at a slower pace and that’s fine. As we get older we should not require constant entertainment. At my age, there are only a few things that I need to be regular and one of them is my heartbeat.

Appointments shift from those with our friends to those with our physicians. We have fewer dates to circle on your calendar which makes the dates that we do mark, more important.  I guess that we want to be left alone and also be needed at the same time. Sometimes we want the world to go on without us, but always looking back to see that we are safe.

We can’t always have everything we wish for and I believe that is a good thing. We don’t always see the long term affects or the “big picture”. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other and maybe making someone’s life a little better along the way. You should never retire from that. Of course, that is only my opinion.






An Ode to Retirement

I know that I no longer work and it's alright with me
   I don't set my alarm clock and my evenings are all free
       But, I still will have my time to spend in any way I choose
As long as I'm productive, there is no way I can lose
                                                          .
 I am rapidly approaching the third anniversary of my retirement. My retirement date was 12/21/2010. It was also known as the “official” day that the world would end. We all like to consider ourselves irreplaceable, but I do not believe that the two events were thought to be connected. I had planned a much quieter celebration.

I wanted to enter into retirement in a classy way. I wanted to leave my work place and my friends with a somber show of gratitude and affection. Maybe running around the room yelling, “You have to work tomorrow and I don’t” was taking it a bit too far. Maybe I should have said “Yippee” once or twice less often. Who knew for sure?

But, now my life is going at a slower pace and that’s fine. As we get older we should not require constant entertainment. At my age, there are only a few things that I need to be regular and one of them is my heartbeat.

Appointments shift from those with our friends to those with our physicians. We have fewer dates to circle on your calendar which make the dates that we do mark, more important.  I guess that we want to be left alone and also to be needed at the same time. Sometimes we want the world to go on without us, but always looking back to see that we are safe.

We can’t always have everything we wish for and I believe that is a good thing. We don’t always see the long term affects or the “big picture”. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other and maybe making someone’s life a little better along the way. You should never retire from that. Of course, that is only my opinion.







Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Coming Clean

                                                     Excuse me, might I offer one suggestion
                                                     And don’t consider this as an objection
                                                     But, the picture is not straight, even though the subject’s great
                                                     And that happens to be one of my obsessions.



“Hello, my name is Joe and I am a cleaner.” Sometimes I picture myself standing in a room confessing my addiction to maybe a dozen other brave souls. We are sitting in a circle for a reason. No chair is more ornate than another and that alone makes people feel at ease. No one person is considered any more important than the next
.
The circle is perfect, of course. The chairs have to be positioned in a certain spot to make this work. Not for others, but for me. I once saw a spot on the wall in my apartment that would not wash out. The spot was small and probably undetectable to 99% of any visitors I might have. So, I did what any other normal sixty year old single male would do…I repainted the wall.

I’m not saying that my home is spotless. I know that places like my “clutter drawer” are always going to be a part of me. I want things to be right, but I also need somewhere to store my sanity. I am saying that when I see a “flaw” I can’t let it go. I refuse to attempt to hang pictures at the same level in my home. I would always look for one to be higher than the other.

Jane gave me two photographs of our hometown in West Virginia that she had taken.  They were both a birthday and a house warming gift from her. She had them framed and was thoughtful enough to sign them for me. I’m sure the signature was strategically positioned since this “condition” might be common among siblings. Gifts from my family are treasures and my walls only hold memories. You will find nothing that is displayed in my home that is not directly connected to someone I love.

I started writing this blog after I had finished shampooing my carpet this morning. I had moved the ottoman in order to clean that area. Now, the indentations from its legs are gone and I’m not sure where I want to put it. I did not  want the marks on the carpet to show. “Hi, my name is Joe and…”.

Sometimes I drive myself crazy because I worry about things not many people would even notice. Did cleaning for a living make me like this, or did being like this make me clean for a living. I don’t have the answer to that. I realize this does not make me a menace to society, but I can’t change at this stage of my life either.


Maybe,  at some future date you might pass me on the street. I will be the older gentleman wearing the placard stating “Will clean for fun”. Different strokes for different folks!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Stretching the Truth

                                                  I remember when they advertized expanding
                                                  I’m speaking of the waistband in men’s slacks
                                                  “One size fits all” was what we were demanding
                                                  In case our diets would get all out of whack.

Sansabelt is a brand of slacks invented by Silver Manufacturer, located in East Chicago, Indiana. These slacks became available in 1959. That is my entire knowledge of this product; however, this relationship might “grow”, if you get my drift. 
 
This subject was of no interest to me for the first six decades of my life. In the three years since my retirement I have thought about it more times than I might choose to admit. There comes a time when we all have to tuck in our shirts and my time has arrived. I realize that we can’t stay young forever and I also applaud the aging process. I happen to find older women the most attractive. (Sally Fields, if you are reading this… call me!)

I’m not saying that we don’t change as we grow older. I’m just saying that I am starting to see changes in myself that might be unnecessary. I have dealt with enough health issues that I want to do the best I can for me. I want to exercise and eat right because I see the importance of taking care of myself. Heck, I quit smoking after over forty years so I am trying.

I was very active before I retired. I walked more before my lunch than some people walk in a week. One of the funniest things I have ever heard from a comedian came from Redd Fox. He said that when he was young, he was so poor that he had to wear his high-top Keds down to the ball on the ankle before he got a new pair. Those of you who are reading this and are my age will appreciate the humor in what he said. That story might not exactly fit here, but it has always made me smile.

Jane and I have a book signing for Mr. Joe: Tales of a Haunted Life in Morgantown, West Virginia this coming Saturday. I have a nice pair of slacks that I would like to wear to the signing. I could take them to be altered and be assured of the fit or I can stay off of the couch, walk, and do it the hard way. Not very long ago I had spinal surgery to prevent me from being paralyzed from the neck down. Being able to walk on a treadmill will always be a blessing to me!



                                                 

                                                  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thinking Outloud

                                                        I thought that I would offer you a smile
                                                        I know that you don’t recognize my face
                                                        I’m sorry, but it might have been a while
                                                        Since someone’s  known the problems you embrace
                                                        
                                                                 


I don’t seem to get “prettier”, taller, or more athletic as I grow older. I do, however, like to think that I have grown wiser. I have learned that it costs nothing to make someone smile and that smile might even change their entire day. I have learned not to judge people by  what is only apparent to my eyes.

I have had a few health issues in my day and some of them would have entitled me to a much better parking place at the mall. I might have been closer to the dry cleaners where I was dropping off shirts for an important upcoming event. I did not choose to go that route, but I can’t blame others who have. Judging others is a very poor choice for a pastime.

This blog may seem to be going in all directions, but it really isn’t. I guess what I am trying to say is that we only know about the joys and sorrows that we have experienced. Our personal trials and tribulations are all too familiar to us. We have no clue as to what the person you passed on the street is dealing with. Maybe the lady behind you in the checkout line seems to be having a meltdown. Just possibly the child beside her has special needs that no one else in this store is aware of. Maybe a smile just might give her that extra boost that she needs to continue.


I have learned that the best gifts you can give are the ones that are given back to you. A smile that is returned can be priceless and love returned is precious. There is an old saying that the best things in life are free. Every day I am here I believe that more and more.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Back Row

                   I don't mind that I am standing and the back row isn't bad

                         And I will not complain about the kind of life I've had

                         My sons have always made me proud, my grand kids make me beam

                         And obstacles aren't near as bad as sometimes they may seem

                         Just do the best that you can do in each and every day

                         You make the world a better place by acting just that way


Most people would say that the view from the front row is the best seat in the house. While that might be true in many instances, it is not always the case. You see it all comes down to who or what you are watching. This time I am talking about concentrating on the people standing and seated in front of you. I am talking about a family portrait.

I remember my first family portrait being taken in Glen Ferris, West Virginia. I remember sitting in the front row and wondering why this picture was such a big deal. What was going to change? Why was it so important that I smile and sit still? Those questions have long since been answered. It seems that the older I got, the more intelligent my parents and grandparents became
.
I remember going back for a visit and having another picture of the family taken. I was holding my older son Michael, who was less than a year old. I was still in the first row, but I was only there as a needed guest. My place in the photograph was a couple of feet back and possibly kneeling.

I can still see myself turning around and looking at my grandmother. She was standing two rows back and it seemed like there was a glow coming from her face. I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time. She was older so I had no frame of reference. I did not understand.

Now, I am at the age where I do understand the glow. I understand the look of satisfaction that I saw on grandmama’s face. I understand that sometimes the back row is the best seat in the house. Anytime you have the chance to look at the blessings you have been given and know that they make the world a better place by their actions, you can’t conceal you joy. That back row ain't bad at all. As a matter of fact, I prefer it.




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Walking With a Friend




     I went walking with a friend today, few words were even spoken

     He seemed to know my every thought, the silence wasn't broken

     He's someone I have learned to love and someone I'm  forgiving

     We try our best, but make mistakes as long as we are living

     He has judged himself too harshly and has never understood

     The fact that he has always done the best job that he could

     And I looked down upon the ground, one shadow did I see

     The friend that I was making had turned out to be me.

                                 

            I can't imagine many people wanting to remember and talk about all of the major decisions they have made. I can't see anyone volunteering to "Monday morning quarterback" their life. What possesses someone to share so many stories that were kept secret for so many years.

I can only speak for myself on this topic. I thought my story might help people to realize that you never lose hope. I thought that by reading about someone else who has shared your problem, you could realize that nothing is insurmountable.

Mr. Joe: Tales From a Haunted Life will be published next week and be available on September 1. Am I nervous about how people will respond to my story? Of course I am. But, I feel that it needs to be told.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Porchtime

                              We need a place to rest our feet, a place where we can talk
                               A place where all are welcomed at the end of our sidewalk 
                               For friends to stop and visit, and pass the time of day
                               Where someone always listens to the things you have to say.
                                    
                                    
                                                                              

Over the past few years Jane and I have been enjoying “porch time”. It is nothing more than the name suggests, but it is some of the best time we spend together. A few times we have been fortunate to add our trainer and close friend, Anita to our small group. Johanna, a friend from West Virginia, has also spent time on the porch as have our children and grandchildren.

We have talked about anything and everything on the porch. In my opinion, the world would be a better place if more people spent time talking on their porch. Andy and Barney had many hours of porch time on the Andy Griffith Show. Many of Mayberry’s problems were solved while spending their off hours sitting out in the fresh air.

Some of my best memories come from the time I spent on the front porch of my grandmother’s home. We would sit out there and string green beans by the hour. Occasionally, we would get to see a train go by and I would try to get the engineer to wave to me. It didn’t seem like work to me because it was time with grandmama. I hope the time she spent with me helped make the job easier for her as well.

When I was in grade school I learned to love magic. I would practice for hours in front of the bedroom mirror. I would then give magic shows with my friend on his porch. We would advertise by making posters and placing them around the neighborhood. I’m not sure how much we charged for admission to those shows, but a nickel comes to mind. Back in those days we rarely carried that much cash on us so most of the time we performed for free.

It seems that people rush around and leave themselves too little time to stop and smell the roses. They are too busy trying to “get ahead” and lose sight of what is valuable. So many people are trying to have a rich life and too few are trying for an enriched one. If I ever buy another home it will have a large porch with a swing hanging from the ceiling. Friends and family will always know that they are welcome to join me on the porch. I still have many memories to make i

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

My Car's For The Birds


                             
                                                                I wonder why my car gets their attention
                                                                I’m not sure why they chose to pick on me
                                                                In case I have forgotten to inform them
                                                                I’ve never found a car wash that is free

                                                                I don’t know if they choose by make and model
                                                               And wondering if they see the color clear
                                                               There must be a good reason why they made it
                                                               The car that they most target every year

                                                               I can’t see how they notice any difference
                                                               There are so many cars parked in my row
                                                               You can’t deny that my car is their preference
                                                               But, how they find it I will never know.

                                                              The only thing I can do is demeaning
                                                               I have to clean the “whitewash” from my car
                                                               It seems that I am constantly just cleaning
                                                               I guess I need to cover up my car.


                                                              
                                                              
                                                              

                                                                                                                                                

My Car's For The Birds


                             
                                                                I wonder why my car gets their attention
                                                                I’m not sure why they chose to pick on me
                                                                In case I have forgotten to inform them
                                                                I’ve never found a car wash that is free

                                                               I don’t know if they choose by make and model
                                                               And wondering if they see the color clear
                                                               There must be a good reason why they made it
                                                               The car that they most target every year

                                                               I can’t see how they notice any difference
                                                               There are so many cars parked in my row
                                                               You can’t deny that my car is their preference
                                                               But, how they find it I will never know.

                                                              The only thing I can do is demeaning
                                                               I have to clean the “whitewash” from my car
                                                               It seems that I am constantly just cleaning
                                                               I guess I need to cover up my car.


                                                              
                                                              
                                                              

                                                                                                                                                

My Car's For The Birds


                             
                                                                I wonder why my car gets their attention
                                                                I’m not sure why they chose to pick on me
                                                                In case I have forgotten to inform them
                                                                I’ve never found a car wash that is free

                                                                I don’t know if they choose by make and model
                                                               And wondering if they see the color clear
                                                               There must be a good reason why they made it
                                                               The car that they most target every year

                                                               I can’t see how they notice any difference
                                                               There are so many cars parked in a row
                                                              You can’t deny that my car is their preference
                                                              But, how they find it I will never know.

                                                              The only thing I can do is demeaning
                                                               I have to clean the “whitewash” from my car
                                                              It seems that I am constantly just cleaning
                                                              I guess I need to cover up my car.