The difference sixty-two years made

It’s four twenty-nine pm, near the end of the first day after falling back into standard time. Supposedly, I recovered the hour I lost in the spring when we sprang forward into daylight savings time. Funny, I don’t feel like I gained an hour. I still had to take a nap this afternoon. I guess it’s just something we old timers must do, since sleeping a full night is something from long ago. It’s been cloudy all day, with light drizzles of rain off and on. The temperature has been in the low sixties (mid-teens for you Celsius users), perfect conditions for me to rewind my memory to a time sixty-two years ago. I was just thinking about the living conditions for me then compared to now.

During the fall of 1962, I was twelve years old. On an afternoon like this, I would’ve been in the house by now sitting by the fire of our wood-burning stove. The little yellow school bus would’ve delivered me to my home in the country a short while ago. Soon after arriving home, I had chores to do, the main among them would’ve been collecting firewood for the night and toting water from my grandparents’ place a couple of hundred yards behind us. Grandpa had a pump outside from which I would manually use the handle to pump water. We were poor folks, living without indoor plumbing, and any other creature comforts one takes for granted in suburban America today. We did have electricity though, which allowed us to have a 60-watt light hanging from the ceiling in each room, a radio, and a black and white television. We picked up television broadcasts from Memphis, Tennessee forty-five miles away with an antenna affixed to the roof. The antenna had to be positioned just right, or we would find ourselves looking at nothing but snow. If there were wood logs already cut to fit the stove, collecting them, and placing them in the corner behind the stove wasn’t too bad. However, if no logs had been cut for the stove, I had to split the wood blocks taken from the wood pile.

Fast forward to November 7, 2022. I’m sitting at a desk in my home office, pecking away at transferring my thoughts to a screen on my laptop computer. By the way, we have three working computers.  As I survey my surroundings, I’m aware of many items and amenities I have today that we didn’t in 1962. I’ve already mentioned the computers. Other things include living in a house in suburbia with central heat and air, hot and cold running water, a nicely manicured lawn, proximity to stores and shops for all our material needs, automobiles that operate dependably, and collection of other items we could only see in use by white folks on television sixty-two years ago. I’ve been blessed with travel to most of the states that comprise the United States, as well as some international travel.

I’m now experiencing a very satisfying retirement that was made possible by acquiring an education of which my parents couldn’t begin to dream. Chris and I both came from similar backgrounds, with similar opportunities afforded us to find ourselves in the blessed conditions under which we now live.

It may sound like a platitude of sorts; however, I can say without hesitation that life (God) has been good to me in countless ways. There have been no coincidences here.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

Make Others Feel Important

I felt compelled to reblog this. This post is authored by an eighteen-year-old, who exhibits the wisdom of someone way beyond her age. I hope she doesn’t mind me saying tht she has a n old soul.

I was at my favourite vegan café relishing my chocolate brownie when I witnessed two friends talking. Let’s call them Sarah and Angel. Sarah kept speaking away about her life and her problems, ranging from how her schedule is too hectic at school to how her roommate is too loud, leaving Angel with no opportunity to speak.

Similarly, yesterday I was at a dance party and I met a guy who wouldn’t stop boasting about how his family always spoilt him with luxury so he could live an opulent life. People who speak like that somehow imply that they are above and the other person is below. So I despised every moment of the time we spent with each other.

Though, it was interesting for me to witness these situations because it made me understand what makes some people more attractive than others and what makes us enjoy someone’s company…

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                                                                                Another funeral

I went to another funeral today. At seventy-two years old, being a member of a church, whose membership seems like a chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), funerals are becoming more frequent. I don’t attend a lot of funerals, unlike Chris who is much more attentive to the social and ceremonial importance of being there for people who’ve lost loved ones. I’ve had an uncomfortable relationship with funerals all my life. You might say that’s not unique; most people have that same sentiment about funerals. Maybe so, but my feeling about funerals is close in degree to how some people have a fear about dogs even when they’ve never spent any time around one.

You know how folk are known to say that funerals are the one event where only good things are said about an individual. This is said as if good things are falsely manufactured out of some obligation to social etiquette. This funeral I attended today wasn’t like that at all. It was for one of the deacons of our church. He was seventy-three. I won’t mention his name out of respect for his family. I can say without one bit of hesitation that every kind word that was spoken about this fellow was accurate. He was, as they say, the salt of the earth. His celebration of life was just that. There weren’t a lot of wet eyes from what I could see from a back pew, but there was an air of honor and respect. Everyone felt they were blessed to have known this fellow and that he would be sorely missed.

I find myself making comparisons to a lot of things these days. I’ve come to realize that’s probably something people do at a certain age. At seventy-two, I’ve had a wealth of experiences that have equipped me to make comparisons. One thing I’ve noticed is that funerals for older people don’t seem to be as emotionally devastating to those in attendance, outwardly anyway. I think it has to do with the fact that older people have been granted a good number of years to experience life. If they’ve been true to themselves and others, they’ve developed an inventory of wisdom that can be referred to by family and friends after they’re gone. It’s often said of older people that they have lived a good life. That’s not usually said of the young, whose passing is often viewed as tragic and untimely. We can’t escape the feeling that if they had been around a bit longer, they might have made untold contributions to society.

Yes, the older we get, the more opportunities to attend funerals come around. If I might be allowed to say it, the best funeral experiences are those that truly are celebrations of life, where laughter is heard in hush tones as words of commemoration are shared about the deceased. There were several moments of laughter at this funeral today. I left the sanctuary knowing more about this wonderful deacon, wonderful man, wonderful person of faith.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

                                                           Oh well

Recently, we received word by way of the news media that the rapper Takeoff had been killed. He had achieved a notable amount of popularity. He was popular without counting me in his throngs of fans. I have nothing negative to say about this young man. It’s just that I’ve never been able to down enough rap music to acquire a taste for it. But, enough about rap music. This piece is about murder, killing, the senseless taking of another human being’s life.

I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. Arkansas is a small state somewhere west of the Mississippi River and east of the state of Oklahoma. I was hopeful that Arkansas would become easier to locate on the map when our native son Bill Clinton became the 42nd president of the United States. Somehow, I still think we’re on that road that offers a pass through to other places. Little Rock, however, is gaining a reputation as being a violent city. Google the most violent cities in the country and see where Little Rock falls in the rankings. I don’t totally agree with these rankings. There are some parts of this 200,000-person village that see more violence than necessary, but I don’t live in those areas.

Yesterday, the local news media reported the 71st killing for the year in Little Rock. It looks like we’re on our way to setting a record. No doubt, most of us would prefer some other record-setting activities. I must be fair to my hometown and point out that there’s been an increase in violence in many areas of the United States. Guns are certainly a contributing factor to this. For the life of me, I’ll never understand this insane passion we have for guns in the United States. I would love to wake up one morning and hear news reports of the mysterious disappearance of all guns within the borders of our country. Unfortunately, that would be the only way we would ever be rid of guns, since our right to bear arms is incased in our constitution: “The Second Amendment: A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Since I’m a long way from being a constitutional scholar, I won’t debate exactly what this means. I’m also not a member of any militia. I would say that reasonable regulation of guns in my beloved country, would throw us into some form of outright societal civil conflict.

And so, our pre-occupation with guns and using them to kill each other, continues to place crimson stains in our schools, our places of worship, our homes, our neighborhoods, our public square, and even our sacred halls government. Like so many dynamics that result in loss of life in staggering numbers, drunk driving, smoking and several other dumb things, we’ve attained a state of numbness to reports of senseless shootings in America from the urban plains to pristine suburban patches and beyond. I can lower my head and scratch it in fruitless efforts to produce answers on how to reduce gun violence in my country. There will, no doubt, be news reports of others killed by some gun-toting person before I can raise my head to catch a breath.

Oh well…

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be to.

    The Big Dam Bridge

I had some time to kill yesterday, Ari, my trusty Shih Tzu and I decided to do a little roaming. We ended up at the Big Dam Bridge in West Little Rock. The name is attributed to the location of the bridge, which is at the location of the Murray Lock and Dam, part of the river navigation system. The following is a description of the bridge taken from the Big Dam Bridge website.

Originally intended to be called Murray Bridge, the Big Dam Bridge in Arkansas spans the Arkansas River and Murray Lock and Dam between Little Rock and North Little Rock and is open only to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. At 4,226 feet in length, it is the longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in North America that has never been used by trains or motor vehicles. It rises to 90 feet over the Arkansas River and 30 feet over the dam. The span over the river is 3,463 feet, with the ramps on either side of the river accounting for the rest of the length. The southern end of the bridge is near Little Rock’s Murray Park, while the northern end is at Cook’s Landing Park in North Little Rock.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.


Genesis 1:31a – And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…

Beauty is a wonderful thing. I’m not talking about the symmetrical arrangement of facial features, which can launch a short career in modeling, acting or some other public venture where shallowness is important. I’m talking about the kind of beauty one finds in letting your eyes focus on the colors of fall in areas on the globe where the four seasons make drastic changes in the flora. The beauty to which I’m referring is also present in the hearts of those of us who see immeasurable value in every human being who’s been granted space on our planet. This beauty is all around us; however, far too many of us are drawn away from it by voices that are telling us to turn our attention to other things. These other things usually consist of what’s in a bottle, the new and improved model of whatever or the radiance that comes with youthful, outward appearance.

You might find it weird, but I like the beauty I see in animals. I get a big kick out of watching animal videos on YouTube. There are videos that present animals in various scenarios where they interact with each other and with humans. I also find myself being highly entertained by baby videos where their laughing is the focus of the video. The cackling of a baby observing an animal or a human doing something funny gives me belly-aching laughs like none other. There’s nothing like the endorphins percolated from a good, deep belly-aching laugh. Whenever I have one of those, I walk away feeling good for quite some time. Can you think of anything more beautiful than that. I wonder what the world would be like if we all had at least one good bellyaching laugh a day.

It’s fall now and there’s beauty abounding everywhere I live. The early parts of all seasons always provide me an opportunity to feast all my senses on the beauty of nature. The early weeks of all seasons are like sliding into a new automobile. That fresh smell is there. Things have just begun to change. There’s no hint of the upcoming season yet. I find myself feeling as though I have a front row seat to a theatrical presentation being produced and performed by the Creator.

Beauty. It’s all around us, and it’s free to take in. I can’t help but wonder if peace would have a better chance of overtaking the planet, if we all would make efforts to observe and enjoy the beauty that emanates from the heart of creation. Just a few silly thoughts from: Old and blessed.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.