March 2012

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round


It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life


These beautiful lyrics, if you’ve never heard or read them before, are from the Lion King song The Circle of Life. One of the greatest challenges retired life thrusts upon many of us is the caring for aging parents and other relatives. It’s a time of weighty responsibility. It often also turns into a time of gut-wrenching life and death decisions.

We live at a point in time in which modern medicine can keep someone technically and mechanically alive forever. When one has the responsibility for making such a difficult decision, it is frought with tension, second-guessing, and tremendous guilt. There are no easy answers. You do the best you can to fulfill the wishes of your loved one.

If you’ve experienced this particular challenge, you know the feelings involved. I’ve now been involved in such decision-making four times, most recently with my father and mother. If we can learn anything from this experience, it’s that we need to sit down with our children and/or other family members to make clear our own wishes. Be precise. Don’t put them in a situation in which they have to guess what you wanted. Put it in writing. Fill out your Advance Health Care Directive. The forms are available from your health care provider and will make it so much easier for your loved ones. If you’ve done this already, bravo. You are a responsible retiree.  

If you are wondering why I began this blog with The Circle of Life lyrics, it’s because two days before my mother’s funeral service, our youngest son and his wife presented us with another grandbaby. A cute little fellow (well, not too little, 8 lbs. 6 oz. and 21 inches long) that has given everyone in the family that uplifted feeling we all needed. It is truly the circle of life. My mother is smiling from above.

Here is my wife and proud grandmother Trisha with her new little fellow.

Warning: This Blog Could Make You Rich

Are you lucky?


I’m always amazed by the number of retired people who spend so much of their time gambling and looking for a pot of gold. But it’s not my place to judge. Retired folks have earned the right to spend their time any way they want to spend it.


To answer my own question, I’m very lucky. Not in gambling, but life in general. I grew up in a wonderful family with great parents and my personal life and family has continued to bring me great joy. 


Years ago, sometime back in the last century, I asked a young lady to marry me. In a moment of obvious confusion, she said yes. The night before the ceremony, my fiance and her parents, my parents and me, all went to dinner at a small Chinese restaurant. When dinner was finished I opened up my fortune cookie and the message said: “Your upcoming marriage will bring you great wealth.” I stuck the fortune in my wallet where it remained for many years. One day while at work, I took out my wallet to look for something. There was a picture of my wife and three children, and out popped the fortune with those prophetic words. I was thinking money back when I first read it, but years later I realized what it truly meant.  


Today, I’m actually talking money. Or maybe property or some other form of riches. Each year, millions and millions of dollars, property, etc., goes unclaimed. Years ago it was almost impossible to find out if you had a claim on such riches. In most states today, laws have been passed requiring businesses and financial institutions to submit their records to the state. Through the magic of computers we can easily determine if we have a pot of gold waiting for us.


Because most of my readers reside in California, I’m going to provide a link that will take only seconds to find out if you have any riches coming your way. Other readers should go to their state’s home page and look for the link to “unclaimed property.” It’s that easy. Although I wasn’t on the list, I did find a neighbor who was surprised when I told him he had about $500 coming.


By the way, if you do strike it rich, you know how to reach me. Good luck!

Click here: UCP Inquiry System


Martha Lucille Parker 



I’m a lucky man. One of the reasons I consider myself so fortunate is I’ve had two wonderful people as parents. I lost my father Frank in 2010, and on Friday, March 2, I lost my mother Martha.  

Known to most as Marty, mom was much different from my father in many ways. She was shy and inward, whereas my father was outgoing and always the life of the party. But they were exactly the same in some important ways. They both loved their family more than anything in the world. 

Even in my mother’s last days, she never once asked about her own condition. The few words she could speak she used to ask about others, especially wondering if her two new expected great grand babies had been born yet.  

Mom always stayed in the background, never one to call attention to herself. But she had very, very strong values. She was completely devoted to my father in every way. When he became blind the last several years, she showered him and dressed him every day, not once complaining. From the time I was born, though we didn’t have a lot of money, my sister and I never went without. We were well fed and always groomed quite nicely. We were taught manners, honestly, and respect for all others. We were encouraged to have a strong work ethic and everything we ever did, everything, was met with adoring praise.

Mom may have been in the background, but she was the tent post of the family, always there to support her loved ones. My wife Trisha, our entire family and her friends will miss mom more than we can ever express. Through the years, she had become my wife’s best friend and mentor. I don’t think she ever gave herself credit for all she did for everyone, but that was typical of mom. If you praised her she would get embarrassed and tried to change the subject. 

I would go on, but mom would disapprove. She was such a warm and loving person, and completely selfless. In such a selfish world, she never asked for anything but gave everything. 

Thank you mom, I love you and will miss you always. 

With love and respect forever, 

Your son, John