Grandkids


Aging and Relationships

 

Hopefully, as we age, we all learn it’s our relationships with friends and family that are the most important components in our lives. Unfortunately, there are some out there who prefer to isolate themselves, but they are the exceptions. The important fact is, there’s a considerable amount of scientific research that shows people who continue to maintain and create new relationships tend to be much healthier and age more successfully than those who live in isolation.  

I’m not sure I needed the reminder, but over the last few weeks I’ve been very fortunate in the relationship category. First of all, traveling to the east coast, one of our sons and his wife blessed us with another grandchild, an incredibly beautiful little girl. Just as happened with all of our grandchildren, that first glimpse of this little angel took our breath and stole our hearts. Holding her tiny body in my hands was overwhelming and there is surely no greater feeling than that of pure love.

Additionally, on this trip we were fortunate to further reconnect with friends made back in my Air Force days. It’s amazing how much time has past, but how much time has stood still in our friendship. These are wonderful people with whom we share great memories, and hopefully we will have many more good times ahead.

As also happens when one travels, my wife Trisha and I were so pleased to make the acquaintance of several new people we look forward to getting to know better in the future. It seems the more you open yourself up to this kind of opportunity, the more people you can meet and share a relationship.

Finally, this week marks the birthday of my wonderful wife Trisha. I’ve now known her for over half a century and been married to her for nearly forty-four years. She is clearly the kindest and most considerate person I have ever known. She wakes each day with a smile and continues to brighten the day of everyone she encounters. For her, difficult situations are simply problems to be solved. She’s not petty, doesn’t complain, and is always positive. She’s warm and loving, and completely devoted to her family. She’s extraordinarily beautiful on both the outside and inside. I couldn’t ask for a better relationship. Happy Birthday Trisha!

One last but important note I want to share. One of my Air Force buddies is in need of a kidney transplant. If everyone who reads this would share this information, perhaps he could be helped. I know that as we age, this kind of decision is probably not one we nor our doctors would advise, but sometimes circumstances arise and the more people that know of this need, the greater the possibility he might be helped. Feel free to contact me.  

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Marto

Grandparents Day

 

     On September 8, our country will celebrate Grandparents Day. If you are lucky enough to be a grandparent, you might not want to hold your breath for the presents to roll in. The fact is, just being a grandparent is the reward in itself. My wife Trisha and I are very blessed and extremely excited we will soon be with one of our sons and his wife at the birth of their third child and our eighth grandchild. We could not be happier.

     If you have ever wondered where Grandparents Day came from, let me explain. The idea came from a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia by the name of Marian McQuade. She was very involved in working with the elderly in nursing homes and wanted them to get the attention they deserved. She also hoped grandchildren in the country would learn from their grandparents and see them as a source of wisdom and knowledge. In 1978, President Carter ushered in the first official Grandparents Day. It is now celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. Now you know.

     Here are a few quotes that better sum up being a grandparent:

“Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting.”

   Unknown

“Grandchildren don’t make a man feel old; it’s the knowledge he’s married to a grandmother.”

   G. Norman Collie

“Never have children, only grandchildren.”

Gore Vidal

“Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.”

Welsh Proverb

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.”

Rudy Giuliani

“Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old.”

Mary H. Waldrip

“Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love.”

Unknown

“It’s amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one.”

Unknown

“What a bargain grandchilden are. I give them my loose change and they give me a million dollars’ worth of pleasure.”

Gene Perret

“When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window.”

Ogden Nash

“One of the most powerful handclasps is that of a new grandbaby around the finger of a grandfather.”

Joy Hargrove

“Grandmas hold our tiny hands for just a little while, but our hearts forever.”

Unknown

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What is Love?

 

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.”

-Sophocles

 

As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, we may better be able to answer this eternal question. After the lust and attraction of youthful desire somewhat diminishes, the true meaning of love may be better understood.

 

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

-Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version

 

Before his marriage, our oldest son came to me and asked a question that momentarily caught me off guard. He wanted to know at what point I knew for certain I loved his mother. After a moment, and wanting to answer his serious question honestly, I said, “Sometime between our second and third year of marriage.”

 

“True love is rare, and it’s the only thing that gives life real meaning.”

-Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

 

As seniors, I’m sure most of us probably look back and believe the complexities of romantic love, especially at a young age cannot truly be understood. Emotions, hormones, peer and family pressures, and societal conventions all converge to confuse youthful decision-making. In fact, most of us probably believe romantic love does not conform to nor does it lend itself to logic and rationale decisions.

 

“The heart has reasons which reason knows not.”

-Blaise Pascal

 

Like most people, as I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that love is not the mystical and tingling feeling that one experiences at the mere sight or touch of another, but is the conscious desire and actions to be the best and do the best for another person with whom you share your life, interests and values. Long term romantic love such as marriage requires that each person in the relationship continue to have and demonstrate these desires and actions, as well as the capacity to change and age with their loved one.

 

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

In other words, romantic love is not the often expressed feeling of “being in love,” but is an active term that requires us to give rather than expecting something from another.

 

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to  give.”

-Katherine Hepburn: Me: Stories of My Life

 

 

Before his marriage, son number two came to me with a similar question as his older brother. I told him that we can never truly be sure, but try to imagine your life without her. Where romantic love is concerned, there are never any guarantees.

 

“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn your house down, you can never tell.”

-Joan Crawford

 

You might wonder what has put me in such a reflective and philosophical mood to be pondering the meaning of love. There are two reasons. First, this has been an equally wonderful and emotionally trying year. New lives and love have come to me in the form of new grandchildren and new friends. For this I’m blessed. I have also lost more friends and family this year than I’ve ever previously experienced. I suppose it’s part of the price of a long life, and I’m grateful for knowing and loving them all. 

 

“When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”

Mitch Albom, For One More Day

 

There is another reason for my reflective demeanor. In a few days my wife Trisha and I will share another wedding anniversary. Fifty years ago I met this young woman whose beauty and charm mesmerized everyone she met. But she was much more than a pretty face. She was smart, kind, and a genuinely warm person with  strong moral and spiritual values. She was, in a few words, too good to be true. Now, so many years later and to my daily amazement, we share a loving family and a wonderful life together. What is love? It’s all the things mentioned above and more. It’s mystical and tingly, risky and complex, challenging and rewarding. and the greatest single gift we can give and receive.  

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

Trisha Parker

Trisha Parker

 

 

 

Trisha Parker

Trisha Parker

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.”

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It’s All About Love

As those of the Jewish faith conclude their festival of freedom known as Passover, Christians around the world will observe their holiest time of Easter. I’m not a religious scholar by any means, but I do know that each of these religious observances is based upon love. They encompass love of God, love of self, love of family, and love of others.

For Jews, Passover celebrates the lessons of Moses who taught them they were created in the image of God and were worthy of self-love and worthy of freedom from slavery and the self-hatred that also imprisoned them. Christian teaching explains that God so loves, he gave his son to die for their sins and free them to live an eternal life. Two different religious views with one obvious similarity. Love.

I’m certainly not qualified to compare these two religions or their beliefs and traditions. For the record, I am a Christian. But in this time of world-wide brutality, strife, and terrorism, I believe these religions that share the values of love, family and peace should be honored and respected. 

At this time of year, having reached senior status, I’m reflecting on the concept of love and family, and feeling especially blessed. Those who read this blog know my wife and I were recently given the gift of another grandson. 

Well, eight days later, we were blessed with the birth of another grandson. This little fellow weighed in at 9 lbs. 2 oz. In an eight-day span we attended the funeral service for my mother, and received the blessings of our sixth and seventh grandchild. Throughout this time we have been showered with the love of friends and family. It is truly all about love.

On a personal note:

After three extraordinary months of highs, lows, loss, and two new family additions (one on each coast), my wife and I took a week for ourselves to rest and relax. We slept in, took long walks, went swimming, laid out by the pool, went out to dinner, reconnected with friends, went fishing, and had a great time. Some might questions taking a vacation when you are already retired. But we seniors know it doesn’t work that way. I believe most of us are just as busy, if not busier, now that we are retired. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Grandma Trisha and new grandson

My friend John with the catch of the day

                    Out for a romantic dinner

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Travel Suggestion

If you’re looking for an interesting place to visit right here in the good old U.S.A., I suggest you think about southern Arizona. Having made several visits to this part of the country in the last few years, my wife and I have come to love the area.

Southern Arizona has so many fascinating places to visit, I’m not sure any one person could visit them all. We try to take in one or two each time which gives us plenty of reasons to return. Here are just a few of the places we have recently enjoyed. For more information simply click on the links.

Kartchner Caverns State Park 

Arizona State Parks: Kartchner Caverns: Home

 This is one of the newest and most interesting attractions in the U. S. It was discovered in 1974 by two explorers. Only revealed in 1988, the state of Arizona spent millions of dollars and opened it to the public in 1999.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Titan Missle Museum

Titan Missle Museum

My wife Trisha and I visited this location and took the guided tour a few weeks ago and it was fantastic. As seniors, we all remember the days of our nuclear standoff with Russia. The U. S. maintained many Titan Missle sites during those years and they were all manned 24/7 by the military. The sites were eventually destroyed, but this one was left in tact for historical purposes. It is the only publicly accessible site remaining from that era. There is a museum, gift shop, video room, and a guided tour for your enjoyment. I was surprised to see an actual Titan II Missle in the silo and our guide took us through a simulated launch. Quite breathtaking.!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tubac

Tubac Arizona > Southern AZ Artist Colony & Travel Destination

Here is an all-in-one place to visit. This historic Spanish settlement has become a true resort. You can find art gallaries, gift stores, wonderful food, golf, spas, and much more. Most of all, the relaxed and peaceful environment is worth the visit by itself. We love the beautiful hand painted pots and other crafts. On our last visit we purchased three more for our outdoor area. Quite beautiful and unique. Whatever your pleasure, you will find it here. Below is Trisha with good friend Susan at the main entrance.

 

Vitamin Warning

This one is for the guys. We live in an era in which people take lots of vitamins. I admit to taking them myself. Unfortunately, we often think more is better. A new study warns that taking too much Vitamin E can increase a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer. Because there are vitamin products out there with very high units of Vitamin E, men are being warned. The new research results were published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The multi-million dollar study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  As with any medical information, check with your doctor.

Grandkids

A long time ago, when dinosaurs walked the earth, October was my special month. It is the month of my birth. The fact is, birthdays were never a big deal in my family. I mean, everyone has one, so what’s the big deal. Well, so far this October, four of our grandkids have had birthdays. It is my greatest gift and a wonderful blessing. Happy Birthday each and every one. 

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