Getting Better Every Day

Trisha Parker

Trisha Parker

Growing older, I’m sure most of us have heard the suggestion that one of our goals as we make our way through the trials and tribulations of life, is to try to become a better person each day? To be loving and respectful of others.

I’ve always considered myself a very fortunate person because I had parents who not only talked about the virtues of being loving and being respectful of others, but also lived that example. I’m also fortunate because I married a woman who lives according to the same principles.

This week, filled with tension and worry, I was witness to a real-life example of selfless behavior. My wife Trisha had surgery on Tuesday. She was scheduled for an early procedure that required us to rise at 4:00, get ready, drive an hour to the hospital, and check in at 5:45. We were right on schedule and she was taken to pre-op along with about 10 others. I was allowed to join her once the IV’s were in place and she was ready to go for a 7:45 procedure. As the time neared, there was a bit of commotion as a number of doctors gathered and then exited toward the operating rooms as a group. After a few minutes we were told there was an emergency and my wife’s surgery had been delayed. That was an understatement.

As we watched the other patients being rolled into surgery, we were told the operating room scheduled for my wife was being used for the emergency patient. As I sat next to her, experiencing the normal tension such a situation brings about, we waited for more than five and a half hours. Finally, my wife’s anesthesiologist came in to begin the final preparation. Now, I’m not sure how most people would have reacted, but let me tell you what transpired. After asking some mandatory questions, the doctor said, “We are very sorry we kept you waiting for so long.” My wife responded, “Were you able to save the person’s life?” The doctor, taken a bit by surprise said, “Why yes, it took a while, but we were able to save the patient’s life.” My wife said, “I’m very happy to be a part of that, let’s go.”

When I told my medical friends about this, they said not all patients would have reacted in such a positive manner. As I said, I’m a lucky man to have examples of selflessness like this on a daily basis. I’m very proud.

By the way, her surgery went well and she is recovering nicely.

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Love the Sports, Hate the Coverage

Excited_man_2

Well, it’s that time of year when sport’s fans go a little crazy. Football is already in its third week and baseball is about to begin the playoffs and World Series. Basketball won’t be far behind.

Now I love sports, but what has happened to the coverage of sports is very troubling. My late father would always say the coverage of football should begin with the kickoff. He was right. Currently we are treated to at least an hour of pregame analysis that is usually way off target. We get pop or rap artists before the game and at half-time, and a group of former players and coaches giving their opinion before, during, and after the game. That is interspersed with occasional trips back to the studio where another group can “break it down” for us. Did I leave out the female sideline reporters who spend the entire game waiting to ask a harried coach one or two insipid questions. It usually goes something like,”Coach, your team gave up a lot of points in the first half, what do you need to do in the second half?” “Play better defense.” “Thanks coach, back to you in the booth.”

This is by no means a criticism of the young ladies on the field. They are simply doing a job they are hired to do. But who needs it? Who needs five guys on the field and another five in the studio decribing what you just saw with your own eyes. Besides, isn’t it time for the Black Eyed Peas to do another number?

travel-Tips

Keep this number with you or in your cell phone:

U. S. State Department Emergency Assistance 

202 501- 4444.

 

Many airports and train stations now have water stations with purified water. Carry a light plastic water bottle with you to save money and stay hydrated.

 

Airlines have recently reported making billions from their ever-increasing baggage fees. Domestic flights are strict and foreign carriers weigh your carry-ons and have a zero tolerance overage policy. I would never advise anyone to cheat an airline, but you are certainly allowed to wear a coat, and on a recent trip to Europe, I was surprised at how many pairs of underwear, socks, and other necessities fit into the large pockets of my coat.

Thank You

In my last blog I wrote about my wife Trisha’s birthday. Thank you to all those who sent her a greeting. She had a great day and is just as beautiful as the day I met her.

Trisha Parker

Trisha Parker

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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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Happy Mother’s Day

Some say Mother’s Day originated in ancient Greece, still others contend it began in ancient Egypt. Regardless, this Sunday we honor moms and I wish you all a wonderful day.

For readers of this blog, you know I lost my mother two months ago. I’m still in that phase of disbelief. Just yesterday when my wife and I walked into a familiar store, she grabbed a cart in the parking lot. When I asked her why, she got teary-eyed because she realized it was something she’d always done for my mother. She would grab the first cart she saw because holding the cart helped mom walk more steadily. It’s going to take a while.

This will be my first Mother’s Day without mom. But to me, “special days” are just like any other day. It’s one of the lessons I learned from my mother. While it’s nice to celebrate certain occasions such as birthdays and other similar cultural conventions, my mother taught me to live each day with enthusiasm, love, and respect.

Growing up on a farm, life for mom was not complicated. No shrinks needed. If you encountered a problem, you dealt with it. In dealing with people, you were always to be honest, polite, and show good manners. You were to get up each day and groom yourself, whether you were going out or not. You worked hard, were loyal to family, friends, and co-workers. Mom expected the same behavior from others and truly could not understand why anyone would not follow these simple rules of life. Many times she would see or hear a story about something like someone stealing something. She could never understand why anyone would do such a thing. In recent times, she would see women wearing pajama bottoms in a store and would be embarrassed for them. She considered it to be very disrespectful and an affront to good manners.

Some might consider such a rigid approach to life as being snobbish or prudish. Quite the contrary. Mom simply lived the Golden Rule. If others did not exhibit the same sensibilities, while she didn’t understand, she still showed them courtesy and respect.

Both my mother and father lived relatively modest lives. Interestingly, through his business, my father was once offered an opportunity to make a fortune with a long-term state contract if he would secretly kick back money to a certain state official. I was a young teenager at the time, and I overheard my parent’s  conversation. Here was a man who worked two jobs for thirteen years and his wife who supported him by taking care of the kids and maintaining a wonderful household. It was their chance to grab the financial golden ring. The choice was easy. They were not going to do anything even slightly dishonest, no matter how wealthy it would have made them.

The lessons were simple, and by today’s standards, perhaps considered a bit old-fashioned and out of touch. I very lucky to have had parents like mine. 

Thanks Mom.   

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I was recently asked to write an article for a Florida newsletter in which they wanted a few ideas on making the transition to retired life. The article which I titled, “Retirement Rules,” included the following suggestions:

1. Develop and maintain a positive attitude about your retired life. Several studies, including one that monitored subjects for twenty years, have shown that a positive attiude can add up to 7.6 years to your life and slow the physical aging process. While developing and displaying a positive attitude may not have such dramatic results for every senior, at the very least it will annoy of lot of people.

2. Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. I’ve talked about our “Thirty Minute Rule” in a previous post, but it really is very important in maintaining mental and physical fitness for seniors. Walking, golfing, swimming are all great ways to stay in shape. Exercise with a mental component such as dancing is considered the best way to exercise. Even sex is a great way to burn calories, just make sure you get in the other 27 minutes.

3. Organize your retired life. Make sure you develop and maintain a lifestyle that works with your retired life resources. Organize your living environment so it’s functional, uncluttered, and safe. And last, but not least (no pun intended), make sure your personal affairs are in order. I’m always shocked by how many retired folks do not have the proper legal documents prepared for the inevitable.

Of course, my wife Trisha and I cover all these topics in great detail in our book, The Best of Our Lives, but you can download many of our planning forms and checklists for free on our website.

Personal Media Updates:

Trisha and I recently were guests on the syndicated radio program A Touch of Grey.

Wednesday, February 24, we will appear on ABC San Francisco televsion show The View From The Bay.

Saturday, March 6, we will be speaking and signing books at Barnes & Noble in Antioch, CA.

Keep the faith.

John Parker

www.TheBestofOurLives.com