It Takes a Village

I’m having to deviate from the premise of my blog because “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”  While I was getting a few of my chores done in preparation for going to my granddaughter’s 5th grade graduation, I happened to go on Facebook and see a friend’s posting that her husband had died that morning at 9:30.  He had been sick for about 9 months and it was a daily occurance for those of us who knew him to ask each other, “Any news on Chuck?”  Or, “How is Chuck doing today?”  He was the most loved and respected man I know.

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I live in a small, over 55 age group community.  My friend Jim refers to it as God’s waiting room. While we don’t have a death every week or even every month, we do have people who need back surgery, or who become unable to care for themselves, or who have to begin chemotherapy, etc.  We’ve become very aware of our own mortality.  Or at any rate, our physical decline.

Late last summer or early fall, Chuck and his wife Barb were in Florida on one of their vacations.  They came back early because Chuck wasn’t feeling well.  Some of us were planning a cruise and we were hoping they’d be able to come.  But Chuck was afraid to make any definite plans until he got a diagnosis and would be feeling better.  He ended up in the hospital while we were gone.  We were concerned, but felt he’d be treated and be back to his normal self.

His son got married in November, but Chuck and Barb weren’t able to make it back to New York.  They attended the wedding via Skype from Chuck’s hospital room.  We knew what that meant to Chuck. He loved that boy!  He was always posting on FB about Scott’s race car, etc. We all put ourselves in Chuck’s place and knew how we would have felt under the same circumstances.

He’d get released from the hospital, only to end up back there within a week or two.  We kept up a good front, Barb kept up a good front and Chuck kept up a good front.  You see, Chuck wasn’t just a friend and a resident of our community.  Chuck was a pillar.  But, not one who liked the accolades or credit for anything he did.  No, no.  He didn’t want any kind of praise.  He was so humble.  And so ready to help anyone. Or to do anything.

I took on the chore of doing our newsletter.  He was right there with some software he had that I could use.  If I needed to know who was in a picture I was using, I’d send it to him and he’d tell me who it was. He was the first one to send me an email after my first edition telling me I did a great job.

He was part of our Wii bowling group.  He’d so often be there with a crockpot of soup he made.  He would be manning the grill flipping those burgers at our cookouts at the pool. He was our tech guru … our DJ at our parties.  chuck1 He’d bechuck4 (522x640) there helping with our community yard sales. Any kind of work project that would be getting done, he’d be there.  One of the stories being told was the time he was on a ladder and Joe, who has Parkinson’s and shakes, was holding the ladder. Chuck told him, “Joe, stop holding my ladder.”  Or the time when I had my first strike in Wii bowling and then announced, “Every so often I have a perfect one in me.”  Chuck was the first to respond, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what he said.  And you’d probably be accurate.

He’d post the specials of the day on Facebook for various mom and pop restaurants around town.  I asked him why and he responded, “I try to help out any way I can.”  He was just that kind of man. He was always thoughtful and willing to do whatever he could to help anyone in need.  For his really close friends, there was nothing he wouldn’t do.  Just ask a few of them.

To say he was loved is putting it mildly.  In the age of being a success as defined as, He who dies with the most toys wins, Chuck could give them lessons on what being a success really is.  He was a success with a capital S.  And he wasn’t old .. just into his early 60’s.  He didn’t live nearly long enough.  Only the good die young … very true in his case.

We’ll have people step up and fill the void he left.  But, it will take people.  Not one man.  It will take a village.  Rest in peace, Chuck.

Team Trivia Champs — not!

Okay, so Joe and Carol and Jim and I went to Trivia again this past Tuesday night.  We are nothing, if not determined. Last week we went to King Street Grille at the Marsh, but found the music too loud for our ancient ears. They play a song while we come up with our answers.  How can a person think with the music that loud?  Well, we did okay in the first half and lost big time in the second half.

This time we decided to try another venue.  I said we were determined.  We went to Quigley’s Pint and Plate in Litchfield.  Turns out they were running a Tuesday special of some $10 dinners.  The place was mobbed!  We had to wait for a table.  Since Joe and Carol hadn’t eaten, they wanted dinner.  But I made a great meal of Salmon with an orzo, feta salad that I got from Epicurious.  It was fantastic!  So, Jim and I just drank — which later entered into our discussions.

The original table they gave us was once again — you guessed it — in front of the speaker, so we requested a different table which they agreed.  Once the game began, we found we couldn’t hear very well … we were too far from the speaker.  Hey, it’s tough being senior citizens!  We could have heard okay if it wasn’t for all the big groups talking so loud.  Am I adequately explaining how cranky we were?  Anyway, let the games begin.  We were not to be deterred.

First question — yes — we got it!

Second question — well not quite, but we still got points.

Third question — nailed it.  Here at the halfway point, we were third.  Way to go team!  Great first half.

Fourth question — at what ball park did some batter hit a home run in a stadium in one state and have it land in another state?  Huh?  Okay, let’s think about this guys.  Joe suggested Washington because VA and Maryland are right out of DC.  Okay … but maybe New York/New Jersey.  Or … Philadelphia?  Isn’t New Jersey and Maryland or Delaware right there?  Then I suggested Cincinnati, but you’d have to hit the ball all the way across the Ohio River. No can do.  So we settled on Washington.  The answer?  Cincinnati.  What?  Yeah, someone hit a home run out of the park and somewhere out in the Ohio River is the boundary with Kentucky.  You’re kidding us, right?  Then we realized that the free answer we looked up on the Internet before leaving home was … you guessed it … Cincinnati!  I think this is where the discussion turned to us maybe doing better if Jim and I weren’t drinking scotch.  NO!  That had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I don’t even remember the last two questions because I couldn’t believe we lost a question when I had written down the free answer and as a result,  no longer had my head in the game.

At the end, they have a special points question and it didn’t help us at all.  We had to name in order of oldest to youngest, the men who had been named sexiest men.  They gave us the four men’s names:  Matthew McConaughey,  Channing Someone, Bradley Someone, and Adam Levine.  Well, we knew Matthew had been around a while so we chose him as oldest.  And we’ve seen the Voice and Adam Levine looks kind of old, so he was second.  But the other two?  Channing seemed like a really young person’s name (I thought Channing was a girl’s name, actually), so we put him youngest and Brad between him and Adam. Wrong!  This Brad person was the youngest. Who knew?  Well, the other teams of course.  They were young.

So once again, we fell apart in the second half.  We’ve decided to try Vienna’s next week.  Maybe it will be quieter and we will hear better.  And maybe there won’t be any 12 member teams.  If Vienna’s doesn’t work, then Jim is going to have to join the Moose so we can go there for trivia with all the other old people.

Or maybe we can interview a few people to be on our team.  They would need to be strong in the areas we are lacking. Which would be most.  Who we really need is my friend, Paul  He knows everything!  But he doesn’t live around here.

Anyway, wish us luck next Tuesday!

This is it……the life, I mean

I’m sitting here on my porch….it’s 10:28 PM and I am at peace with the world.  Does it get any better than this?

View from my chair

View from my chair

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Last night, four of us went to a local pub to play TeamTrivia.  We kicked butt in the first half, but got our comeuppance in the second half. We’ll bring reinforcements next week.

Today I managed to do a few chores before heading out to Wii bowling.  I think because our season was over and we were playing for fun,  we all did well.  Jim and Joe even began to bowl sitting in their chairs!  We ended the evening rocking on the porch.  Are we old or what?  Okay … we’re old!

Friday, my much loved grandson, Shane, graduates from pre-school.  I spent most of last year driving four hours north on Monday morning and then four hours south on Friday taking care of him while my son worked.  I love that boy more than can I say. I can’t believe he’ll be starting kindergarten in July.

So, I sit here thinking my life could only be better if my son’s divorce would ever be over. But that too is winding up.  Next month he will finally move back into the house he’s been paying the mortgage on for the past 2.5 years.  Until then, I am enjoying the smaller joys in life … sitting on my porch enjoying the night with thoughts of good friends and family and  pre-school and elementary school graduations. Like I said, “Does it get any better than this?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Time Zimbabwe

For any of you adventurers and/or travelers, this is a very good blog about some very adventurous seniors.

The Long Road to Paris: Travel and Writing Adventures

It was Day 11: 010May 12, 2014

Our first night in Zimbabwe would be in a “tented camp” at Matopos National Park  046but before that we had to cross the border at Beitbridge into Zimbabwe. We were warned this  would be a very difficult border crossing. The rally organizers had arranged for us to be met by the Zimbabwe Tourist Authorities on the Zimbabwe side and we were only to answer to them. The crossing was long and tense. No photos here, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. This is a big border crossing with lots of trucks jamming the parking lot, pedestrians, beggars and con-men offering help-like to watch over your car while you completed the paper work. It was hard to know which was more important, protecting whatever you had with you, which had to include passports and car papers, or to protect whatever you left in…

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Day 47: Actions not words

I happened upon this blog by accident and absolutely love what she is writing and doing. I’m sharing this because I think some of you might enjoy it just as much as I do.

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Let me start with a warning….I’m not in a good mood today.  But I’m going to own it by writing about it in hopes that I can let whatever “it” is go.

For whatever reason I’ve been thinking a lot about people’s actions lately.  No, wait…it’s not for whatever reason…it’s because I’ve been paying attention to what people say and how they act.  And I’ve started to notice some discrepancies between the two that frankly has left me pissed….and disappointed.

I’ve always been an “action” gal.  It’s never really mattered to me what you say.  A lot of times, I’ll take your words with a grain of salt because they are just that….words.  I know words don’t come easy to everyone.  I know there are some people that are incredibly mindful and purposeful with the words they choose and I’ve noticed those people are usually just as mindful and purposeful…

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