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Archive for the category “Buddies”

A LIFE STORY!

My great friend and golfing buddy sent this to me and I suppose as he is 80 and I am 85 it may have had a bigger impact as my father was also born in 1902 and also a newspaper man but he was different as he drove too long and I had to confiscate his car keys when he was just 77 for everyone’s safety. This brought back some great memories of growing up in this same era. I hope at least, but doubt that even my family will read this and someday tell my grandkids about my unusual life. So much is lost because we don’t take time to record family history except with pictures. The stories are the value of comparing eras and whether your life was better than your ancestors.

Humor used to be a way of life until the government started regulating our lives and reducing our freedoms. The current move to a Socialists Democracy will likely happen and future Americans will not even believe what freedom was/ Watching this transition including Progressive-Liberals in my own family have been the saddest memory of my life. Thanks ED Johnson for making my day. I hope it makes others remember how lucky we were to have lived during the best days in the history of America.  C Brewer

This nice piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large and small and president of NBC News. In 1997 he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading. A few good chuckles are guaranteed.

My father never drove a car. Well, that’s not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

“In those days,” he told me when he was in his 90s, “to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it.” At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:”Oh, baloney, he hit a horse!!” “Well,” my father said, “there was that, too.”

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars — the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford — but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we’d ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. “No one in the family drives,” my mother would explain, and that was that.
It was as if he wasn’t sure which one of us would turn 16 first. But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a ChevBut, sometimes, my father would say, “But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we’ll get one.”y dealership downtown. It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn’t drive, it more or less became my brother’s car. Having a car but not being able to drive didn’t bother my father, but it didn’t make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving. The cemetery probably was my father’s idea. “Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?” I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps — though they seldom left the city limits — and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work. Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn’t seem to bother either of them through their 75 years 
of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustine’s Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish’s two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he’d take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests “Father Fast” and “Father Slow.”

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he’d sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. 

In the evening, then, when I’d stop by, he’d explain: “The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored.”

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out — and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, “Do you want to know the secret of a long life?”

“I guess so,” I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

“No left turns,” he said.

“What?” I asked.

“No left turns,” he repeated. “Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn.”

“What?” I said again.

“No left turns,” he said. “Think about it.. Three rights are the same as a left, and that’s a lot safer. So we always make three rights..”


“You’re kidding!” I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

“No,” she said, “your father is right. We make three rights. It works.” But then she added: “Except when your father loses count.”

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing.

“Loses count?” I asked.

“Yes,” my father admitted, “that sometimes happens. But it’s not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you’re okay again.”

I couldn’t resist. “Do you ever go for 11?” I asked.

“No,” he said ” If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can’t be put off another day or another week.”
My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102. They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. 

(Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom — the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily — he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he’d fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising — and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, “You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred.” At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, “You know, I’m probably not going to live much longer.” “You’re probably right,” I said.

“Why would you say that?” He countered, somewhat irritated. “Because you’re 102 years old,” I said. “Yes,” he said, “you’re right.” He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night. He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: “I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet” An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

“I want you to know,” he said, clearly and lucidly, “that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have.” A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I’ve wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long. I can’t figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he quit taking left turns.” Life is too short to wake up with regrets. 

So love the people who treat you right. Forget about the one’s who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it & if it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.”

 

ENJOY LIFE NOW – IT HAS AN EXPIRATION DATE!

 

I can’t express my delight in reading this article as it made me remember some of the most unusual events of my life that I doubt my great grand children will ever know or really care. I am lucky to have lived longer than any male in both sides of my family buy I’ll never make 102 for sure. Please share this with as many Americans as possible. CB

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DO YOU LIKE GETTING OLDER???

I am posting this because it is so well written. Please share this with your senior friends and those who hope to be seniors someday.

I can hit the golf ball any way I can and now laugh if it goes in the lake. I’m just happy I can still hit that golf ball.

As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.

I have seen too many dear friends and ny own brother leave this world, far too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 & 70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

MAY OUR FRIENDSHIP NEVER COME APART, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART!

My thanks to Jay Pennington, a golfing buddy for some 20 years who is 87 for sending me this message. As I am only 83 I can tell people I am the baby in our twosome. A special thanks to whoever wrote this. C Brewer

MY NEWEST EXPERIENCE

My first fishing adventure was in 1939 when my dad took three of us nine year olds to spend the night and fish on Chambers Creek east of Corsicana Texas. We had lines hooks corks and made poles out of tree branches. He came back to pick us up the next day.

I have lived on Toledo Bend Lake for the past 20 years and have fished on the lake for 42 years. I can’t even remember all of the lakes I have fished in my 81 years. I have fished for marlin and/or sailfish in Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta and Cozumel Mexico, ST. Thomas in the US Virgin islands and my last trip was to Costa Rica where we fished in the pacific ocean. Since I retired Golf has replaced fishing as my number one pastime and I only fish occasionally.

I have a very close friend I do fish with here as he has a camp across the street and owns the last boat I had. For the past 15 years, John Sommers, has invited me to come to Baton Rouge, LA and go winter marsh fishing in the brackish waters off the coast of south Louisiana.

I finally accepted the annual invitation and last Friday Norma and I traveled to John and Patsy’s house for the weekend.

John had the boat outfitted and ready to go on a Saturday day of fishing. He woke me up at 2:15am and we were on the road by three. After a three and a half hour 150 mile drive we had breakfast at Mc Donald’s in Galliano Louisiana. You have heard the term “End of the road”, we were 20 miles short of Grand Isle, look on a map.

John launched the boat at 7:15am and we were off to fish for redfish and speckled trout in an old abandoned sulfur mine that was now submerged. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Well let me give you some more specifics to describe the torture. It was 42F with a 20 mile an hour wind gusting to 25mph. Our intended place to fish had whitecaps in water less than 6 feet deep. A small ships anchor would have possibly held the boat but John’s 25lb anchor was totally inadequate.

After sizing up the conditions, John decided we would fish in the canals around the old mine where there was some relief from the wind. For those, like me, who had never experienced marsh fishing, you have a large cork some 3 feet above the jig with a plastic fishlike lure covering the actual hook. Casting that day was definitely in a southerly direction as the wind was from the north. I made one slightly into the wind cast and it took me 30 minutes to untangle the backlash. After casting you make sudden jerks to make the cork pop like top water bass fishing with stick bait. The difference is you have to watch the cork constantly as when the fish bites there is no feeling in the rod and you have to set the hook when the cork disappears.

After about 20 minutes my bare hands were frozen. Fortunately John had a pair of cotton work glove liners that were flexible enough to fish. He had provided me with a coat to go over my turtleneck sweater and wind shirt and a pull over head cover that had a small opening for your eyes and even covered my neck. This cover was snow white and if it had had a pointed top, I would have resembled the Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan.

After some 5 hours of bouncing, trips to other canals via the rough water of the old mine, John said let’s call it a day. I would have never asked him to stop as I am a rather stubborn individual by nature. My wife calls it “Hard Headed”. I was eager to agree with his suggestion which proves my sanity.

We caught 19 rather large speckled trout and several too small to keep. John caught one small redfish. Considering my lack of knowledge and weather conditions this was a great trip. After John loaded the boat, rinsed off all of the salt water from the boat and trailer we headed back. I had a nap between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and watched John secure the boat and put everything away.

A hot shower, clean clothes, dinner and a warm house had me in bed by 9pm. When I got up the next morning all of the fish were cleaned and prepared.

After all of what I described and the time it took John to help me just get in and out of my seat on the boat 10 times at least, he invited me back next winter. Surprisingly I accepted his invitation under the following conditions; the temperature must be 50 degrees; little or no wind: we would spend the night in Galliano; and that I am able.

Thanks John and Patsy for another wonderful weekend with the Sommers family.     C Brewer  

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