The months are “floating” by – August 3, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

There are many songs with time in their theme.

“It’s 3 o’clock In the Morning,” “Didn’t Know What Time it Was,” “As Time Goes By,” to mention a few.

In old movies, between scenes, they sometimes depicted the passage of time by showing the wind flipping rapidly through a calendar. I liken time passing as though I’m viewing a parade with floats bearing the names of the months disappearing all too quickly.

The June float, with its verdant decorations and robins chirping, is a distant memory. Before we knew it, the July float came along, with a marching band playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and cannons and bells emphasizing the multicolored fireworks display.

The dog days of summer in August are upon us. This float is not as beautiful as the first two floats. This one is occupied with glum-faced youngsters, clutching pencils and notebooks. School bells may be heard in the distance.

Where did summer go?

The September float’s nostalgic September song and its so-very-true lyrics, “And the days dwindle down to a precious few,” is another reminder that time is fleeting.

Bright orange pumpkins with carved smiling faces amid the gold, russet and brown floral background is next on the October float. That one will pass just ahead of November.

But not to worry. Floats are like street cars – another one will come along shortly.

November with pilgrims feasting on stuffed turkeys, followed by pumpkin pie for dessert is next. Anxious December jumps ahead in the line with Santa ho-ho-ing to wish us a Merry Christmas. What’s the big rush?

When the winter float comes along, do not fret. Remember, the spring float will soon follow.

Motifs for January, February, March, April and May floats are in the planning stages.

How will they look? Maybe we can all pitch in and think of different designs. How about if we skip the floral and holiday motifs and instead use as our motifs, kindness for January. fellowship for February, goodwill in March, friendship in April and charity for May.

I’d vote for a float for peace and happiness, and an end to violence and cruelty toward our fellow men.

But hasten with your ideas.  As the old song says, time waits for no one.”

Early Campaigning – July, 22, 2016 — Chicago Tribune On-Line

When I think of the grueling political campaigns that are beginning earlier and earlier each year, I wonder how the candidates have the stamina to handle them.

I’m already exhausted.  There will be tiresome articles in our nation’s newspapers, the television interviews, debates and the commentary after it for the media to tell us what the candidates meant.

The presidential election is still a year and several months away.  Who will remember what a candidate said by that time?

Who remembers the man who gave such a lengthy speech or what he said before Lincoln’s short Gettysburg address?  Yet we all remember Lincoln and what he said.  If brevity is the soul of wit, it’s also a good quality to remember when speaking.

We should be informed but the brain’s capacity is finite and who can absorb all we will hear in the months ahead?

The following quote from a book I read seems appropriate:  An excess of information resists analysis and comprehension in much the same way a lack of it does.

I hope the candidates will remember to count their words, as well as make their words count.

Patriotism’s Resurgence Good for America — July 14, 2015 — Daily Chronicle

Now that the hoopla and fireworks are over, I did a bit of quiet reflection about our country.

In my mellow years, I am even more patriotic than ever.

I can’t sing “God Bless America” without a giant lump the size of a grapefruit in my throat.

It is hard to believe that the rebels (as they were called) could have succeeded against the mighty British Army. All the statistics were against their success and yet we just celebrated our independence once again.

The late President Ronald Reagan is credited with returning patriotism to the heart of America.

The snobs in the media at times referred to him as a lovable dunce. How dare they? It’s because of our freedom of speech that they could do so without fear of reprisal.

Loyalty to country had gone out of style for a time, but I believe it is returning. Personally, years ago during coffee breaks, I was once chided for my loyalty to the corporation where I worked. These were usually gripe sessions. I’d chime in with something positive like being loyal to a firm that was providing us a means to earn a living. A young secretary said to me, “It’s too bad we don’t have a company flag. Then you could pin it on your back and march around the office to show your stupid loyalty.”

Isn’t that pretty much the way it is today, when people find fault with everything? They live in the best country in the world and yet complain?

I agree that for a peace-loving nation, there was and is a lot of bloodshed. If each of us try to change that, it might be a better world if we live up to the message in the hymn, Let there be peace on earth, let it begin with me.  If you don’t know the words, you can look it on the Internet. It has a wonderful message.

They say immigration is the sincerest form of flattery. What other country has so many people trying to become citizens as ours?

I am so fortunate and blessed to be born in this country.

God Bless America.

Alexander Graham Bell, what have you wrought? – June 28, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

I recently tried to call a local business for which there was no listing in my phone book. So I found an 800 number online.

My call was answered with a recorded voice and the usual message that my call will be monitored for quality control. I have no quarrel with that. I want them to keep tabs on how I am treated. Before I reached a live person, a recording consisted of a series of commercials for other products in which I was not interested. I soon hung up and called a firm that is not so snooty and are listed in my phone book.

I recalled a comedian years ago joking about Beverly Hills, California, being so exclusive that the police had an unlisted phone number. Was this the case with this firm? “What a way to run a business,” was all I could think.

Excuse me for being trivial and griping about minor inconveniences considering all the more serious issues in the world. I try to look for the sunny side in most cases and maintain a positive outlook, but what has happened to our society? Is it too much to expect a live person at the other end any more?

Back in the 1950s, Margaret Mead, the late anthropologist, during a TV interview, said that people often told her they were not worried about the population explosion because there would always be plenty of land on earth for all.

That was not the concern, she said. She pointed out that there would be a breakdown in services that will occur.

Now, here we are a little over 50 years later, and it’s come true.

Remember when we used to dial a number on the old rotary dial phone and not press buttons, and if the line was busy, we’d hang up and try again, until a person answered? We were not given a menu of options, or a recorded message saying, if this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911, as in the case when calling for medical assistance.

I guess it still beats the good old days, however, when we’d hitch a horse to a wagon and go into town in order to talk to a live person.

But it seems to take about as long to get anything done now by phone

Giddyap, Nell.

We’re Not Old, We’re Mellow — June 8, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

The following is a saying that was going around some years ago:

“We too soon get oldt und too late shmart.”  Today, I’d change “shmart” to mellow.

A mellow person has a thick skin and a sense of self-worth. One has to be mature (or mellow) and not let be bothered by things that might have bothered us when we were younger. A cutting remark directed at us is not nearly as bad as being cut on the streets by a knife-wielding thug.

A mellow person shrugs off the slings and arrows that life deals us.

When it comes to aging, we used to think 40 was old, but once you reach the other side of 40, it seems youthful.  There are all sorts of euphemisms now, too, about the older generation.

They are not old, but elderly. They don’t die, but pass on, go to their reward, or get their just desserts, depending on destination.

Mellow-aged people have endured many changes.  How one adapts is part of the mellowing process.

The sad thing about getting older is that for many it means the loss of a spouse and living alone. It would be easy to seclude oneself and have a pity party.

But most of the elderly people I know do not sit in their rocking chairs regretting things they did or did not do, but are busy writing, reading, doing handicrafts, doing volunteer work, etc.

A friend of mine, whom I admire very much, still knits although her eyesight is failing and she cannot see her own handiwork too well. She also has a wonderful outlook on life and still has a great memory on which to draw when we are trying to recall an event or movie.  Did I mention she is 106 years old?

Being mellow means you know you can’t change what happened long ago and you deal with it. I like Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way.”

Being able to live with yourself in your dotage is a great adjustment and part of the mellowing process.

If you sit around fretting about what people think of you, forget it. They aren’t thinking of you at all. This applies to everyone, not just us mellow persons.

It’s true, some people are mellower than others. I’d say if you don’t mellow, you become old.

To what category do you belong?

Miscellaneous Characters in our Lives — May 13, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

Don’t you just love that word “miscellaneous”?  My dictionary describes it as made up of a variety of parts or ingredients.

As I was attempting to organize my copious files, I realized that without that category, I would not get very far. I also thought that we do that in filing people into categories, too.

We might think of one as fun to be with, another may complain a lot, so we’d file them under whiner. There are some people who are merely acquaintances, and they’d go into our mental miscellaneous folder.

That made me think, just what is a friend? I like what I read a long time ago, i.e., a friend is not necessarily someone we like for what they are, but what they make us see in ourselves.

Where do you think you’d be filed among your various acquaintances and friends?

Would you be filed under boring, helpful, or obnoxious, etc.? We might be surprised to learn that we may not find our name under the category we’d like.

Reading about the responders to the tornado victims, I felt such warmth toward them and can only imagine how the recipients of that kindness must have felt. Although they had not known them prior to this event, I am sure they ended up considering them friends.

Friendships often take years to solidify.  There is a bonding that occurs through sharing a tragedy as well as a happy event.

A group of young children were once asked to give their definition of a friend.

This is my favorite: A friend is someone who sticks up for you even when you are not there.

To me the gift of friendship tops all other gifts, and I treasure each and every one, even the ones who are just acquaintances.

Just as steel must be tempered by going through the fire, sometimes a good friendship has to be forged by going through turmoil or a misunderstanding.

Probably the best definition of a friend is this one: It is someone who knows all about you and still likes you.

Have you laughed yet today? – April 27, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

Does your dog ever laugh out loud?  Has your cat ever smiled at you?

Animals don’t have a sense of humor as we humans do. Oh sure, the dog wags its tail when it’s happy to see you and your cat purrs when it’s content and full of milk. But try telling either one of them a joke and neither will laugh.

What makes you laugh? Is it a pie in the face? Seeing someone slip on ice or a banana peel?

Personally, I enjoy the droll, dry wit of the British, like Winston Churchill. He once was quoted as saying ”There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at and missed.”

The late, great Robert Benchley is another favorite. When sent to Venice, Italy, on assignment, he was reported to have sent a telegram to his editor here in the U.S., saying “City under water, wire instructions.”

Through the years I have amassed a collection of jokes and anecdotes like that. They still provide a laugh for me even after hearing them often.

Granted, there is not much to laugh about these days with all the tragedies in the world. Certainly a terminally ill patient lying in a hospital bed won’t find much to laugh about. Doctors and nurses are known to have a good sense of humor, even though they face tragedy every day. A nurse once told me that you have to laugh to keep from crying at times.

A laugh or a smile is a wonderful day brightener. What is the first thing you do when encountering a baby? You try to make him or her smile, don’t you? And doesn’t it make you feel wonderful when they reward you with one?

I live by the old adage, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone. For this sad old earth has need of your mirth, It has tears enough of its own.”

If you have not laughed yet today, make a funny face in front of a mirror and have a good laugh at yourself. It’s not nice to laugh about others, but OK to laugh at ourselves, for we will never run out of material.

I love to laugh and make others do the same.  In my archives I found this:

“He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh.”

A Disposable Society? I Think Not! – April 9, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

Reading Alvin Toffler’s book, “Future Shock,” circa 1970, I found some of the facts the author brought up were pretty mind-boggling and hard to believe they would actually occur.  The author suggested that we would become a “Throw-away Society.”

One only has to look at today’s trash barrels and see that he was correct as you view the styrofoam containers that once held take-away food items from restaurants and fast food drive-ins.  Use-it and-lose-it is the by-word these days.  When will we reach saturation at our garbage dumps when non-bio-degradable  items do not decompose or rot away?

Remember when milk came in re-usable glass bottles?  I know that some milk still does but it’s not the norm now.

The disposal of “things,” is also true of homes.  Is your parental home still in existence or has it been razed to make way for newer homes or road construction?

Historical buildings become too expensive to maintain and convert into useful museums or other uses.  No room for sentiment when progress rears its ugly head.

I also read years ago that hospitals were experimenting with paper gowns for doctors and nurses as well as bed linens for patients rather than cloth necessitating laundering and sterilization.    This, evidently was not practical because I don’t think it happened.

Toffler cited a boutique that featured a paper wedding gown.   After the honeymoon, the bride could make lace curtains out of what she wore down the church aisle.  I don’t think so.

I decry the disappearance of one particular paper product.  That is the personal hand written or typed letter that has been replaced with electronic mail. (Even though I am an e-mail addict.)

Thumbing through my high school year book, I enjoyed reading the sentiments expressed by my classmates as we bid adieu in our senior year.  (No, it was not a stone tablet or written on parchment.)   It was, however, pre-computer age and electronic wizardry.  I’m happy it pre-dated our “disposable age.”

Otherwise, another piece of Americana would be gone and I would not remember the boy who sat behind me in History class and constantly kicked my seat!

Every time you gain something, you lose something.  When the gain becomes less than the loss, will we revert back to the old ways?  I hope so.  At least in some instances.

Can Spring be Far Away? – February 22, 2015 – Daily Chronicle

The talk about the plight of Brian Williams has subsided while we moan about how cold it is and how much snow keeps falling in other parts of the country.

When I was growing up, we had no central heating.  A parlor furnace in the living room and a wood-burning range in the kitchen were our sources of heat.

We slept in upstairs bedrooms that were unheated except for the little heat that rose up through a register in the bedroom floor. The fire did not last the night, so in the morning we dressed very quickly, sometimes behind the parlor furnace that our fathers lit before we arose.

The kitchen was always the warmest room in the house and was the family room in those days. We played cards on the kitchen table, put jigsaw puzzles together there and popped corn on the kitchen range in an iron skillet over the open fire by removing the stove lid.

Someone once said that if it weren’t for the weather, 90 percent of the population could not start a conversation.

Those who pooh-pooh the thought of global warming are having a field day mocking the ones that believe we are heading to a warmer climate.

I checked my archives to see what more learned people than I had to say about the weather. Sinclair Lewis said Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.

That last quote reminded me of potholes and the work they provides for those who fill them and the people who drive the snow plows.

We kept wishing for February to arrive and hoped it would be better than mean old January and look what we have.

Here is a variation of an old poem we learned as children,

Thirty days hath September,

April, June and November

All the rest have 31

Except February – which has 80.

From an old Readers Digest:

No winter lasts forever and no spring skips its turn.

Another one said:

Laziness has many disguises. Soon winter doldrums will become spring fever.

Tale heart. We move our clocks forward March 8, at 2 a.m.  If only we could do the same with our calendars.

But then, can spring be far behind?

Soon the roar of riding lawn mowers will replace the cacophony of the snowplows.  Then we can gripe about how hot it is and those pesky mosquitoes.



How did we get through winter without continuous reports? – February 6, 2015 – Chicago Tribune

I am retired and no longer have to battle the elements to get to work when the weather is bad, so I don’t mean to trivialize winter weather. But this is nothing new. We had cold weather when I was growing up. But we did not have hourly reports about wind chill, polar vortex, etc. We just knew it was cold out there.

When I was growing up, we had no central heating. A “parlor” furnace in the living room and a wood-burning range in the kitchen were our sources of heat. The kitchen was always the warmest room in the house and was the “family” room in those days. We played cards on the kitchen table, put puzzles together there and popped corn on the kitchen range in an iron skillet over the open fire by removing the stove lid. The walk to school with a northwest wind blowing into our scarf-covered faces was no picnic. We had not heard of the wind-chill factor although we most certainly were experiencing it.

How did we survive in the old days without the hourly reports of how cold we were?


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