father’s day


Bodies In Motion

One of the things my wife Trisha and I have tried to do since we retired is to stay active. If you’ve seen the commercial for one of the health care companies that talks about senior health, they use a physics metaphor by saying: “A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion stays in motion.”

Obviously, this is not a new revelation. But as Trisha and I caution in our book and public presentations, as a senior it’s very easy to get into a rut. That may feel comfortable for a while, but in the long run it’s detrimental for both the mind and the body. Besides, as has often been said, “this is not the dress rehearsal, this is your life.” There are things to do, people to see, knowledge and skills to learn, causes to champion – well, you get the idea. One of our favorite activities since we retired is visiting and reconnecting with old friends and family, and meeting as many new people as we can. I must say Trisha is much better at connecting with new people, but it’s something we both enjoy.

If we weren’t sold before on the idea of getting up and going, connecting with old and new friends and family, this last week was all we needed to remind us how it can benefit our lives. Let me share some highlights of our week:

On the first day of a road trip, we stopped in and took lunch to my aunt, the last living relative of my late father’s family in that generation. She is home-bound due to poor health and we had a very heart warming visit. We showed her pictures of new grandchildren and reminisced about favorite memories. It was a wonderful visit.

Next, we were off to Arizona. While driving through Phoenix, we decided to take in some of the local sites. As sports nuts, we wanted an upclose look at their beautiful sports stadiums. After that, we had heard there was a memorial for those who had died on the U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor, so we went looking for that site. Well, there was much more. We found the memorial in a park that honored veterans of several wars. It was very beautiful and dignified. The Arizona memorial actually had one of the ship’s anchors and the ship’s mast which is pictured below. In the other picture, Trisha is standing in front of their Korean War Memorial.

Probably because it was quite warm (O. K., downright hot), there was only one other couple at the memorial. He was wearing an Air Force hat, and being an Air Force veteran myself, we began to chat. It turns out this man makes memory bears for the families of fallen veterans. Trisha and I had only recently become acquainted with memory bears when hospice presented us with bears made from the clothing of my late mother and father. What a wonderful and lasting treasure. If anyone reading this would like to contact MSGT Charles R. Leon and his Fallen Warrior Bears/AZ Hearts for Heroes, his email is:

azheartsforheroes@yahoo.org  

I know how much our family memory bears mean to us, and I also know the families of these fallen heroes must truly appreciate the work Charles does on their behalf. I also know he operates solely on donations and hopefully some readers might be able to help his efforts.

As we continued our trip into Tucson, I had arranged to meet with my cousin Mary and her husband Rick. It had been several years since we had gotten together and our lunch turned into a couple of hours. Great memories of family were shared and we were able to give Mary a box of photos my mother had collected for her before she passed away in March. Wonderful people and we promised not to go so long without another visit.

Next, we made our way to visit friends Susan and Lee. Because they live in a scenic and crafts-filled area of Arizona, we definitely made the rounds. Spice shops, fabric shops, copper mine, historic missions, restaurants, dining on Susan’s great meals (this woman knows how to cook), swimming (actually, more cooling off and talking) in the pool, and pleasant conversations under the Arizona night sky. A relaxing and fun few days with good friends. 

On one of our excursions, we were about to visit the historic Mission Tumacacori, a National State Park, when Susan and Lee asked if we had our “Geezer Passes.” They then informed us that for $10, anyone 62 or over can obtain a senior lifetime pass that allows that senior and their party entrance into any National Park. What a deal. We signed up and got our passes. Here is a link for anyone interested:

 U.S. National Park ServiceAmerica the Beautiful – The National Parks and Feder

Below are Susan and Trisha enjoying the scenic and serene beauty of Mission Tumacacori.

 

 

As a former radio talk show host and recipient of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame, Lee now keeps very busy writing a very interesting and provocative political blog. For all you political types, don’t miss his daily commentary on:

www.radiorodgers.com 

Back on the road, we headed north again to Phoenix. We were in for another treat. My late mother had a life-long friend with whom she stayed in constant contact. This wonderful lady, who happened to be celebrating a birthday in another state on the day we arrived, has a daughter I had not seen since she was six years old. She and her  husband met us for lunch and it was a sensational afternoon. While Kathy and husband Bronson are much younger, we had many things in common. He is currently active Air Force, the same branch in which I served. They told us later they were looking at us thinking that would be them in the future, and Trisha and I admitted we could see ourselves in them when we were younger. Great couple and we hope to get together again soon. 

 

For those still reading (bless you), our next stop was Palm Desert. My cousin Bob and his wife Nancy are two of our favorite people in the world. We spent the night out at a great Italian restaurant, laughing and having a wonderful time. Back at their place, as always, they allowed us their guest room for the night. In the morning Nancy, one of the world’s best chefs, fixed a delicious breakfast and we were off again.

Once in Southern California, we connected with oldest son Michael and our three grandchildren there. After an afternoon at the best pizza place I’ve ever been, we went back to Mike’s for a fun night. On Father’s Day, we headed to Dodger Stadium for a sensational extra inning game in which our team won. The stadium was packed and it was little Charlie’s first game. Lot’s of high fives, cheering, and Dodger Dogs. Great kids and we loved every minute. I honored my dad by wearing the same jersey he wore when he threw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium two years ago.

We considered stopping for the night, but then decided to drive all the way home. We arrived around 11:00. The relationships of the week, some old and some new, were special. While Trisha and I know we will slow down as time passes, as long as we can we hope to be “bodies in motion.”

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

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With Father’s Day upon us, I thought I might indulge in a bit more personal commentary. As a senior, we all must deal with the issue of mortality. Whether it’s family members, friends, or our own. It was one year ago I lost my father. I still miss him terribly. He was my dad, teacher, confidant, and best friend. I could write forever about all I learned from him and our many experiences and adventures together. Perhaps someday, when the hurt lessens, I will put them all in a book. But if I learned one lesson from dad, it was to never take yourself or life too seriously. Watching over me now, I’m sure he’s troubled by how sad I get every time I think of him, but very pleased to know each of those times ends with a big smile.

Today I want to focus on Father’s Day from a father’s viewpoint. My viewpoint. I’ve told this tale many times. It begins with my beautiful and loving wife Trisha blessing our lives with three sons. The boys in turn have given us five precious grandchildren. I’m a lucky man. 

Here’s the story. When I was a young boy, I loved sports passionately, especially baseball. I practiced every day and just knew I would play professional baseball someday. Along the way, I also developed an interest for airplanes and flying. It created a dilemma. Then I set my life’s course. I would begin by playing professional baseball, and then launch my flying career. As time went on, I also got interested in communication and media. No problem. I would be a television sportscaster between flights.

Well, that was the plan. I would simply combine my three passions. Of course, somewhere along the line, I learned young teenage girls liked guys who played guitar, so I learned to play guitar and formed a band. I also discovered I liked to write, water skiing, fishing, boating, traveling, and teaching. Yes, I pretty much liked everything I tried.

In fairness, I did continue to play baseball, and was playing on a professional team when an arm injury ended that part of my plan. I then went full time into  flying, but the Viet Nam war came along. Then as they say, life happened. After a long stint in the Air Force, I went back to school and decided to become a college professor. Was I disappointed. A bit. But I enjoyed every day of my vocation and never ever considered it work. It was a great career.

So, what’s the point of this tangled biography. Well, one day after our boys had become adults, I was getting acquainted with a new friend who was asking me about my family. He asked what my boys did for a living. I said, “Well, when Michael graduated from college he became a sportscaster and is now a sports producer, David got a business degree and has now become a commercial pilot, and Daniel was drafted and played professional baseball and now owns his own sports complex.” As I said the words, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I realized the boys had done all the things I wanted to do when I was a kid. It was an incredible moment. On this Father’s Day, as a father, I want to salute my sons. Not so much because they chose professions I dreamed about, but because they each have a strong work ethic.  That makes me very proud. Thanks guys, I love you very much. 

Happy Father’s Day dad. We miss you.

I’m one of the lucky ones. As a senior myself, I still have my father. His health has severely declined lately and his care is an everyday concern. But as I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. As worrisome as the current situation can be, my dad still has the ability to make me smile and realize how lucky I’ve been to have a father who gave all he could give to his family. He is and has been what every father should be: a provider, a guidance couselor, and a role model of courage, character, and a loving life. It’s a bittersweet Father’s Day, but despite his current health problems, our entire family is blessed.

MEDIA ALERT:

On Wednesday, June 23, Trisha and I have been invited for a second appearance on the ABC television show, The View From The Bay. It’s a live show that airs at 3:00 p.m (PST). If you live within the viewing area, ABC is Channel 7. If you live outside the San Francisco viewing area, simply click on the link below to watch live.

The View From The Bay

Senior Health Tip:

A friend of ours recently complained of having a cold and sore throat. Trisha and I were talking later about our friend and then realized that neither of us had suffered from these common maladies for at least 10 or 12 years. Before then I used to get horrible sore throats that would last for days. What changed for us? Let me prefice my answer with the disclosure that I have no stock or financial interest that would benefit from this advice nor am I a medical doctor. For over a decade, every time one of us feels a cold or sore throat coming on, we simply pop in one or two GNC  Zinc Throat Logenzes. I have gone to bed with the glands in my throat  beginning to swell and in the morning I’m just fine. I know zinc has been shown to have this ability, but this particular product has been very effective for us. Let me know if it works for you.

Senior Travel Tip:

Before you leave on a trip, take all of your travel and identification documents such as driver’s license, passport, airline tickets, hotel confirmation numbers, health records, prescriptions, etc., and scan them. Send them to your own secure email address. In the event you should lose or have any or all of them stolen, simply find the nearest computer at a hotel, bank, etc., and print out your email for copies.

Have a Great Father’s Day!

John Parker  www.TheBestofOurLives.com