December 2014


Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger)

Thomas Jefferson  wisely warned in the The Federalist Papers that a nation of sheep will soon have a government of wolves. More specifically he wrote:

“I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate.”

Decades later noted journalist Edward R. Murrow was quoted as saying, “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”

Recently, with the new year upon us, I found a page on the official U.S. Government website that lists the most popular New Year’s resolutions and posts a phone number that will get you the government help you need to achieve your goals.

Knowing this will make signing my tax form even more difficult this year.

Sexy Trisha Parker

I received some great responses to my “Sexy Trisha Parker” post in the last blog. For those who didn’t see it, I told the story of sitting with my wife one evening when I Googled her name. I then clicked on “images” and several appeared. I teasingly said I should have checked “sexy Trisha Parker.” When I did just that, several more pictures of her appeared under that label. While she was a bit embarrassed, she thought it was funny and fun that Google Images would have her listed that way. I told her if Google could do it, I could also do it.

Trisha and I wish you all a very, very Happy New Year!!!!!

Sexy Trisha Parker

Sexy Trisha Parker

John Parker

John Parker

 www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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Writing a blog about the joys and challenges of retired life is a very personal endeavor due to the fact I’m experiencing this phase of life contemporarily with the majority of my readers. While I try to vary the subject matter from practical matters of finance and wellness to travel and humor, there are aspects of retired life and aging that cannot be glossed over or made easier to accept.

Specifically, the loss of a loved one, at any phase of life is the most difficult reality of the human condition. As we become seniors, losing loved ones becomes more frequent but no less heart wrenching. These are times that try one’s faith and call upon the love of family and friends to navigate the storms of sorrow.

Each of the last few years has cost me deeply in the loss of loved ones. At times I have become sad, often angry, and then in time I  realize each of them has been a indispensable part of my life. I give in to acceptance they are no longer here in body, but forever in my mind and heart. To those loved ones I say “Thank you.” You have made my life richer and fuller.

Speaking of a richer and fuller life, more than a half century ago I met the love of my life. This week we will celebrate another anniversary together and each day I realize I am a very, very lucky man. For all of her wonderful qualities, I once Googled her name and then for fun while she was sitting beside me, I added the word “sexy.” Several pictures of her then appeared in the “images” section. I knew I’ve always thought she was sexy, but having Google picking up on it was very interesting, especially being a senior. Anyway, happy anniversary Trisha, I love you.

Sexy Trisha Parker

Sexy Trisha Parker

Merry Senior Christmas

With the holidays upon us and gift giving on our minds, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a list of those businesses that offer discounts to seniors. I’ve mentioned before my wife Trisha saves us countless dollars each year by shopping for bargains and frequenting those businesses that offer discounts. The list here is from a website called TheSeniorList.com.

If you save a few dollars this year by using the list, well, Merry Christmas!

Senior Discounts

Applebee’s: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby’s: 10% off (55+)
Backyard Burger: free drink with purchase
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan’s: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob’s Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+) plus additional discounts on coffee and soft drinks
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co: 10% off for AARP Members
Carrabba’s Italian Grill: 20% off on Wednesdays to AARP Members
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili’s: 10% off (55+)
CiCi’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny’s: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+)
Dunkin’ Donuts:  AARP members receive a free donut with the purchase of a large hot coffee (at participating restaurants)
Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off baker’s dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+)
Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)
Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off (55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)
KFC: Free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)
Long John Silver’s: Various discounts at locations (55+)
McDonald’s: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Outback Steakhouse: 15% off AARP members for meals Monday through Thursday (alcohol excluded)
Papa John’s: 25% off (55+) for online orders. Enter the code “AARP25″ when placing your order
Shoney’s: 10% off Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: 10% off (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Best Retail and Apparel Discounts For Seniors:

Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk’s: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks: 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kohl’s: 15% off (60+)
Modell’s Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: Up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55+)

Best Airline Discounts For Seniors:

American Airlines: Various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: No initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations
Southwest Airlines: Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
United Airlines: Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)
U.S. Airways: Various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Best Car Rental Discounts For Seniors:

Alamo Car Rental: Up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: Up to 25% off for AARP members Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Hertz: Up to 25% off for AARP members Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
National Rent-A-Car: Up to 30% off for AARP members

Best Activities & Entertainment Discounts For Seniors:

AMC Theaters: Up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: Up to $100 off memberships (62+)
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off Ripley’s Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
SeaWorld Orlando, FL: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)

Best Cell Phone Discounts For Seniors:

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $29.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service (50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+)

Best Hair Cut Discounts For Seniors:

Great Clips: $3 off hair cuts (65+)
Super Cuts: $2 off haircuts (60+)

 

John Parker

John Parker

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

CASU 11

I hope you all had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

I was very pleased with the numerous responses to my Veteran’s Day blog. I want to thank those of you who took the time to write me a personal response. Some of you even shared stories of your service or those of relatives. I enjoyed each and every one.

Let me share my personal favorite service story. It’s not about me, but it’s the story of my late father’s service. Dad was a Kansas farm boy who had moved to California as a teenager. Shortly after high school, while working at an aircraft plant, war broke out and he volunteered to join the Navy.

After basic training, he was sent to Idaho for additional technical training. He and twelve others were assigned to CASU 11, an acronym for Carrier Aircraft Service Unit. Most of the twelve just happened to be mid-western gentlemen.

After training they received their orders and were sent to San Francisco to ship out to Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. Most of the group had never seen the ocean before. Because they didn’t have quarters on the ship that was filled with trucks and other equipment, they built wooden quarters on the top deck. That’s all they had for the month-long cruise. Well, that and looking out for Japanese torpedoes.

Once in Guadalcanal, they searched for their unit to report. Unable to find it, they got hold of some tents, pieces of tire rubber to make hammocks, and other objects to set up their own living facility. Not exactly the Ritz, especially when the Japanese dive bombers visited at night, but it was their home for the next eighteen months. They never did find their unit which they later discovered had been relocated.

Dad and his friends worked out in the hot sun every day repairing aircraft shot up from their missions. My dad was a strapping guy with a 50” chest. While on the island, he never wore a shirt and cut up pants into comfortable shorts. Being a farm boy used to fresh fruits, eggs, meat, etc., he hated the powdered food they were served. Even the milk and eggs were powdered. Each of his buddies survived the war and when they returned home, Dad’s tan lasted over a year and he looked like Tarzan with his broad chest and 29” waist.

CASU 11 sailed under the Golden Gate and disembarked in San Francisco. Once off the ship, they all headed for the nearest coffee shop where Dad swears he ate two dozen eggs and drank several glasses of orange juice.

They were just average guys doing what their country asked in a terrible time. One more thing I’d like to share. The guys all went their separate ways and my Dad stayed in California after meeting and marrying the love of his life, my mom. More than forty years later, two weeks after retiring, Dad got a call from the DMV. They confirmed his name and asked him to stay near his phone. A few minutes later, one of his old buddies came on the line and asked, “Is this Frank?” When my dad said “yes” the man started crying. He had been searching for some time trying to find all the members of CASU 11 and had put together a reunion at the Lake of the Ozarks. My dad was the last member to be found and he and my mom caught a plane to meet the group.

Obviously, it was a great time for all of them. The bond was so strong; they continued to meet once and sometimes twice a year for the rest of their lives. They called each other weekly and made private visits to each other’s homes. When they slowed down, their children provided transportation and enjoyed the group’s visits and stories. They were humble men, but true patriots and heroes.

I’m often asked, “What does your license plate, CASU 11 stand for?” I always enjoy telling them the story.

 

John Parker

John Parker

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com