July 2013


Moore, Oklahoma – Two Months Later

   On May 20 of this year, a two-mile wide Category 5 tornado struck the town of Moore, Oklahoma. It destroyed countless homes, dozens of businesses, a medical center, a large shopping complex, and an elementary school. Twenty-four people were killed including several children attending that school. Numerous others were injured, some of them so badly they remain hospitalized to this day.

   At the time of this tragedy, my wife and I had just returned from a trip abroad. We could not believe the devastation we saw on television and felt concerned for everyone involved. During that week, we attended services for my late aunt who had been born in the mid-west. With the approval of her family, Trisha and I made a donation in my aunt’s name to help the victims of the tornado.

   This week, after traveling to a family event in Kansas, we drove to Moore, Oklahoma. What we saw there was overwhelming and almost beyond comprehension. We both became emotional as we drove through the path of the tornado realizing in just moments homes that once stood on the cement foundations we were seeing had exploded and disappeared. As we drove to the site of the Plaza Towers Elementary School, we realized many of the damaged, but still standing homes we were passing, were those of the parents of children who attended that school. When we arrived at the site, now a makeshift memorial, the depth of this horrific event hit us with full force. It’s an emotional jolt we will never forget.

   As a senior, I remember the struggles of earning a living and raising a family. Experiencing an event like this during those years would have been devastating. Here are a few pictures we took, and if there is anyone reading this blog who would like to help the good folks of Moore, let me suggest the following website:

http://www.charitynavigator.org

Plaza Towers Elementary School

Plaza Towers Elementary School

School Memorial

School Memorial

Path of Tornado

Path of Tornado

Tornado Path

Tornado Path

Tornado Damage

Tornado Damage

Only Sign Left at Medical Center

Only Sign Left at Medical Center

Destruction

Destruction

Shopping Complex

Shopping Complex

Shopping Complex

Shopping Complex

School Memorial

School Memorial

Please visit:

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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A Senior’s Reflection on Race

I was born and raised in a suburb of Los Angeles that when I was young didn’t have one black resident. Some time later, I heard it was because the real estate association had been trying to “protect” property values. I’m not sure  the real reason because our town certainly had its share of minorities. I grew up with many Mexican and Asian friends. The fact is, minorities have outnumbered Caucasians in my former home town for many years.

Because my parents both taught and lived the Golden Rule, I never really thought much about race growing up. Interestingly, my first experience with young black teens came as a shock. I was with my two best friends as we left a sporting event. We were probably around eleven or twelve when we walked past the young black men. They circled around and asked, “What color are we?” We were so surprised and scared, we didn’t know what to say. At that point, one of them punched one of my friends in the face breaking off his front tooth. Realizing we were outnumbered, we ran off as fast as we could. I thought it was odd, but didn’t really understand.

Years later, as a teaching assistant at a state university, I met a young black man named Bobby. We clicked instantly and became fast friends. He was new to the area around the university and my wife and I would have him over to dinner regularly. One Monday he came into our shared office and looked depressed. It seems he had decided to walk to campus and attend a Saturday night concert and dance. As he walked across the parking lot, two security officers pulled up in their patrol car, grabbed him and threw him across the hood. They demanded to know what he was doing. When they realized he was a member of the faculty, they apologized and backed down quickly. He was upset and I was furious.

This was not the first time a black friend of mine had something like that happen to him. In the military I met and became friends with an interracial couple from the south. My friend told me he had made the military a career because he and his wife would not face the obstacles they would have if they had returned home in the South. It was that time in our country’s history.  I’ve also had a black friend lose all of his black friends because he had become friends with me and some of my friends. I’m sure we all have similar stories in our past.

At one point in time, I thought we had pretty much solved the more serious issues of race. But as I grow older, I’m not so sure.  The issue of race still frustrates and tires me. In light of the recent trial making the news, it seems there are people who appear to benefit from the turmoil and want to jump into the limelight by taking sides. For me, there are no winners here. A young man lost his life, a family lost a son, another man will lead a very troubled life and his family will never be the same. It’s very sad and there are not easy remedies. As with most things in life, all we can do is be responsible for our own behavior and treat others as we wish to be treated. I guess mom and dad got it right as usual.

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Seniors and the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to one and all.

On this grand day in our country’s history, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I, like most of you, get numerous forwards emailed to me from family and friends each week. Recently I received two that I’ve decided to share with readers of this blog. I hope you enjoy them as much I as did.

From my friend Dick:

Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much
older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic
bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green
thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your
generation did not care enough to save our environment for future
generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in
its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles
to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.
So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we
reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage
bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings.Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every
store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t
climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our
day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the
throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our
clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their
brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing”
back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in
every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
(remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In thekitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electricmachines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item tosend in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, notStyrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engineand burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a healthclub to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we
old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back
then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson
in conservation from a smart—- young
person…

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take
much to set us off…especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced dummy who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

Never Forget

And, from friend Mike, this great video – perfect for the 4th.

On Their Shoulders – YouTube

Tip of the Day

Some friends recently suggested to my wife an all-purpose cleaner called L.A.’s Totally Awesome. Well, she has been raving about it for all of our household tasks. A couple of days ago, I decided it was time to clean up our little boat, so I grabbed the spray bottle to give it a try. I was amazed at how well it cleaned everything, but was in for a shock. The stern of our boat has a padded area that people lay on or step on getting in and out of the water. Its a type of vinyl covering and has become discolored over time. When I sprayed on this cleaning product, it magically became like new. Actually, I think it looks better than new. My whole boat is sparkling.

I don’t have stock or sponsorship in this product, but had to pass it along. Even better news is you can buy it at Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1. And that’s in a spray bottle.

Happy 4th of July.