grandparents


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.  

zzzzz close

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

Advertisements

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

zzzzz close

http://www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

Leaning Ivory Tower

“If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart.  If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.”

We’ve probably all heard this famous quote before. It’s often falsely attributed to Winston Churchill. I’m not sure the originator of the quote is important, nor do I buy into it completely. I have many friends of each persuasion and I’m quite sure at the time this observation was first stated, both political orientations were quite different from today.

I do know for an absolute fact that our school systems, and especially our universities lean far, far to the left. This is probably an incredibly obvious statement to most people, but it’s the extent to which this statement is accurate that causes me concern.

My credibility on this subject is substantial. I spent way too many years as a student and an entire career teaching at several major universities. Trust me, the fix is in. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I retired sooner than I had planned. Personally a conservative, I always felt like I was part of some underground organization.

What brings up this subject today? Well, first of all, it’s been simmering in my brain for many years. Secondly, the Young American’s Foundation reported today only 1 in 7 commencement speakers invited to speak at the top 100 universities in the country is politically conservative. Shocking? Yes. I couldn’t believe there were any conservatives invited to speak.

How bad is the educational bias? Let me share my favorite, albeit somewhat dated example. One day near the end of my career while teaching at a very prestigious college, I began to notice the many pictures that had been posted all over campus. You could not walk ten feet inside or outside without seeing them. They were pictures of the communist, black panther, and former FBI top ten most wanted Angela Davis. She had been invited and was being paid a large sum of money to visit the campus and speak to the students. The build up went on for days. The students were excited, and the faculty (with at least one exception) was nearly orgasmic. On the day she arrived, classes were cancelled and professors made attendance at the event mandatory. O. K., but at least we were being fair and balanced, right? The next week I noticed Elizabeth Dole, a former cabinet member in the Reagan administration was coming to speak. When I walked into class, I asked if any students were planning to attend Ms. Dole’s presentation. There were crickets. Finally, one student asked, “Who’s Elizabeth Dole?”

Fact is, I’m more of an observer than a drum beater, but all parents and grandparents paying good money to these bastions of education should know this bias has only gotten worse through the years. Some time back, someone asked me why I stopped teaching when I did. After thinking for a moment, I responded, “Because I enjoyed teaching people how to think, not what to think.” Students today have very little choice. 

 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

  

 

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.

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. 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

www.TheBestofOurLives.com

 

What’s in a Name?

Many of us retired folks now have grandchildren. One of the fascinating rituals you observe as a grandparent is watching your kids go through the process of choosing names for their children. For whatever reason, naming a child now appears to be one of life’s heaviest burdens. It is an agonizing process that often takes months and is sometimes not resolved until the very last moment.

Don’t get me wrong. Naming a child is a very important responsibility and I’m glad the young parents of today take it seriously. Of course, certain recent celebrities must have had one too many when they named their children. They have presented us with Apple, Ocean, Kal-El, Audio Science, Moon Unit, Pilot Inspektor, and my personal favorite, Moxie Crimefighter. Why the topic of “What’s in a name?” Let me explain.

With all  the devastating news from around the world this week, it’s been difficult to keep a positive attitude. While I typically look to the future for inspiration and motivation, this week I found myself in a reflective mood. For whatever reason I was remembering the twenty-plus years I spent coaching young kids in baseball. Most of them would now be in their 30’s and 40’s, and it made me smile to think of all the joy and wonderful memories from those years.

One of those boys in particular came to mind. It was long ago and well before any of my own sons were old enough to play ball. A friend called me one day and said he had just been contacted by an official in a  baseball league in which all the fathers (coaches) had selected their teams. A number of boys were not selected, and not surprisingly, they were mostly boys from single mother families. He asked me if I would help him coach a team so these boys could play. I said I would be happy to help and we coached those boys for the next two years.

One of these young boys, whose name I have forgotten (you will soon understand why), could not stop talking and asked a continuing stream of questions. It was obvious he simply wanted attention. He was quite small for his age and his mother had purchased a very inexpensive but much too large fielder’s glove. When he bent down to field a ball, I taught him to keep the glove on the ground to make the play. He actually did quite well and I always complimented him to build his confidence. As time went on, I told the team he was like a vacuum cleaner and nothing could get by him. Then it happened. One day I began to call him “Scoop.” Kids being kids, the rest of the team picked up on it and he was “Scoop” from then on.

My friend and I had a team policy that made sure all the boys got to pitch at least once during the season. One day late in the season, at a practice before Saturday’s game, one of the mothers asked to speak to me. She explained that her  son was scheduled to pitch on Saturday and he was very worried. I assured her he would do fine. She said, “No, that’s not the problem. You see, everyone, all the boys on the team, the kids at school, family and teachers now call him “Scoop,” and he’s afraid if he pitches, they won’t call him that any more.”  She went on to tell me how much more confidence he had and how he had stopped trying to gain attention all the time. Scoop’s mom was almost in tears. So was I.

What’s in a name? I’m not sure. Gaining an identity you’re proud of and having people who care is clearly more  important. I hope Scoop went on to great things. I do know on a grey and dreary day, when the whole world seemed to be coming apart, his memory gave me a wonderful smile. Keep that glove on the ground Scoop.  

Worthy Cause

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I don’t use it to promote web sites or causes unless I know they are quite worthy of support. For the last couple of years, our son David has put together a team of runners who raise money for organ donations. I’ve seen recent stories highlighting the large and growing number of people in this country who are in desperate need of an organ transplant. It’s heartbreaking for them, and miraculous for those who receive help in time. One of the stories I recently watched was about the NFL player Chris Henry. Chris was killed in an accident and his mother had the courage to authorize donation of his organs. They went to four persons in need of transplants, and ironically, our son David’s wife Michelle is a nurse at the hospital where those procedures took place. Please take a look at David’s web site, and if you can help, I know you will be helping someone in need. Many of you have given your support to David’s team in past years and he is very grateful. Thank you for supporting such a worthy cause.

                                                             Click Here:  Team Dean Minus Dean Plus 12