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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Couple’s Day

Love, Trust. Appreciation, and Mutual Admiration

Imagine if you will what a normal day might be like in well-adjusted married couple’s life.  First allow me to set up some background.  We are not much different than any other couple, but how we live our partnership (married life) may well be as different as day and night from anyone else. 

As an example of love, trust and sharing, only one of us worked while the other raised the children (to middle school age).  This was a choice that included some unspoken sacrifices.  I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have our needs met (shelter, utilities, food, clothing, transportation, basic entertainment, etc.).  We even managed a getaway (budget) vacation.  While the kids were growing up we managed to treat them to a vacation in Southern California (Disney, Universal Studios, and Knott’s Berry Farm) every other year.  It wasn’t affordable, but we made it a priority because we the parents had been raised without vacations.  As a sacrifice we didn’t buy a new car as often as we might have liked.  As a couple we seldom ate out or went to a movie.  Besides the job, we operated a business that kept us busier than we wanted to be.  When we married and decided to raise a family we gave up “our life” attitude and exchanged it for the family’s life with emphasis on the children.  The children are all grown up, with children of their own.  They are all healthy and happy.

Back to the future, and a typical day.  The alarm goes off at 5:15 am.  We both start working by 7 am.  Breaks have to be purposely taken because the pace all day long is fast and furious (wouldn’t have it any other way).  My title is Grandpa, Activity Director numerous responsibilities fall under that title.  Since early retirement a few years back, I handle approximately 75 percent of the grandchildren’s oversight during the day.  Chauffeur, chef, nutritionist, wardrobe supervisor, Entertainment director, Summer school teacher, and Director of Purchasing (in charge of laundry and dish washing).  Whatever the children want, I’m the go to guy. 
Activity Center

With the time that’s left I operate the family business.  The family business pays handsomely, but the other job has a value of love and appreciation that couldn’t be matched with monetary compensation.  If I was forced to give up one of the things that I do, it wouldn’t be a contest at all.  I will assist with my grandchildren for as long as my participation adds value to their little lives.  My wife comes home from a fast paced corporate job, sometimes stressed most often not so much.  Her duties include over seeing personnel, policies, and budgets, and while she enjoys it, I know that she would trade with me in a minute.

She has done both jobs, the first, while raising our children, and now she is enjoying her career.  I have done the corporate gig most of my life, and now I do what she did only with the grandchildren.  I never for a minute thought she had the easier job back then, and now I know that to do it right requires many skills, and lots of patience.  Having shared the experiences gives us a better understanding and appreciation for each other.
Peace and quiet at last

I don’t mind being a kept man.  We both contribute on the financial front, but for now she is the designated bread winner, and I appreciate her and miss her during the day.  She often will text me during the day to tell me that I am the greatest grandpa in the world,  At the end of her day she will come home and invite me to go out for dinner, entertainment or just a drive.  She knows what a day is like at home with all those super energetic little granddaughters.

I’ve had numerous job offers to return to the workforce, but money won’t buy me away from my present position.  Besides, I’ve been as high as CEO of a corporation, how could they possibly top Grandpa, Activity Director?  The best is yet to come…………

Monday, June 29, 2015

Window Cleaning Time

How's your view?
Even at my point in life I still find myself at times having to slow down so I can digest the information before me.  It’s easy to jump to conclusions without having the whole picture or all the facts.  If a person has a conscience you will later find yourself agonizing over things you said or did that you can’t take back. 
When raising your own family you can almost always use the final argument “because I said so.”  Anytime I was addressing my children’s safety and/or health and unable to come up with an argument for why they couldn’t or shouldn’t do something, because I said so was the argument that ended all arguments on my side of the ledger. Whether I get the full picture are not health and safety are foremost and I tend to err on the side of safety.
At some time or another we probably all heard the old saying about seeing the world through “rose colored glasses.”

Meaning: If someone sees things through rose colored glasses, they see things as being better than they really are.
For example:
  • Tina
    sees things through rose-colored glasses, so when things aren't going very well, she won't do anything to improve the situation.

  • If you have the courage and maturity to see things as they really are, you'll no longer need to see things through rose-colored glasses. ~ English Club

Negativity on the other hand is the art of finding flaws in all things.  Negative people are not fun to be around.  Whenever you engage a negative person on purpose or accidentally they will almost always hijack a conversation and take it in a negative direction.  Eventually, you and your social gathering will try hard to avoid a known negative individual.
Make sure you are seeing any and all situations clearly.
·       A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. "That laundry is not very clean; she doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap. “Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: "Look, she's finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this. "
·       The husband replies, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows." And so it is with life... What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look. ~ Author unknown

Negativity almost always hinders people, it's just viscerally unpleasant to be around someone who's injecting unpleasant emotions and vibes into every conversation. It's not that their points are never valid, but it wears people down to always be subjected to that perspective. Let’s try to always look on the bright side of things.  Start with a good attitude and make sure that you looking through the right prism.  The best is yet to come……

Enough is Enough

Social Misfit

Unacceptable Public (Social) Behavior
  • Rudeness (also called impudence or effrontery) is a display of disrespect by not complying with the social norms or etiquette of a group or culture. These laws have been established as the essential boundaries of normally accepted behavior. To be unable or unwilling to align one's behavior with these laws known to the general population of what is socially acceptable is to be rude.
  • Rudeness "constituted by deviation from whatever counts as politic in a given social context, is inherently confrontational and disruptive to social equilibrium" (Kasper, 1990, p. 208). Rudeness, particularly with respect to speech, is necessarily confrontational at its core.
  • Forms of rudeness include acting inconsiderate, insensitive, deliberately offensive, and impolite, a faux pas, obscenity, profanity and violating taboos such as deviancy. In some cases, an act of rudeness can go so far as to be a crime, for example, the crime of hate speech.
There is no place for rudeness

This year unlike other recent years I have at least doubled the number of road trips that we have taken in only the first 6 months.  My wife and I have always made our home so enjoyable that even when we travel we can’t wait to get back home.  I know and few people will argue that our society is headed on a death spiral.  By that, I mean that the quality of manners in our society is quickly becoming almost non-existent.  Those of us that benefited by parents and grandparents that cared and gave us a proper upbringing usually ignore rude behavior because of our very own proper manners.

In a recent weekend my wife and I were on an unplanned road trip and surprise visit to relatives across the State.  Everything had been a happy and satisfying experience, until we decided to make an unscheduled stop at a fast food restaurant for a pit-stop (read restroom break).  Because I was brought up not to take something for nothing, we decided to buy something so as to be fair.  I was standing in line and there was what appeared to be a kindly white hair old gentleman behind me.

As I usually do with strangers, I turned around and asked him how his day was going, and he replied just fine thank you.  I remember thinking what a nice fella, but within minutes the real evil man that he was stepped out of the old carcass.  He ordered from the cash register next to the one I was placing my order, and I remember listening in on his order.  He ordered a basic sandwich with nothing to drink.  Yet when his order came he started yelling that the order didn’t include his chocolate milk.  The employee, explained that he (the customer) had not ordered anything to drink. 

The old man kept raising his voice and asking for the employee to get him his chocolate milk and to give him coupons for three free meals.  When the employee wouldn’t comply, the old man asked to talk to the manager, and get me my three free meal coupons.  The employee responded that he was the manager.  The old man started making racial slurs (the manager was a minority, and customer wasn’t), and saying he was going to call the district manager to complain.  By now the manager was really being accosted by this mean spirited customer who obviously had an agenda when he walked into the restaurant. 

While this confusing scene was developing, the customer took his order and a large bag that had just been placed on the counter filled with another customer’s order.  The horrible customer kept yelling as he made his way to the door.  I heard the manager say what are you doing? Now you are going to steal someone else’s food! The place was filled with traveler type customers that were obviously of parent and grandparent age.  The look of disbelief was on every single person’s face.  One customer finally yelled at the customer (crook), “way to go man, I suppose you are proud of yourself!”  As the customer/crook was almost out the door, he responded, “Shut up and mind your own business.”  I chimed in while he could still here me, “Way to go guy you should be ashamed of yourself!”
Life doesn't have to imitate art

Some positive outcomes are that: 1) no one joined the customer/crook in berating the manager, 2) The manager held his ground, 3) the customer/crook’s effort to be loud and try to embarrass the manager into some free food, actually backfired, 4) a couple of us participated so that the crowd could see that the crook didn’t have any support.  I actually relayed a message to the manager that if he needed a witness on his side, I would gladly be that person. Loss prevention is not only important to the big corporations, it’s also important to the consumer.  If allowed to get out of control we will be paying $12 for a McDonald’s 89 cent burger.

There is still hope for our society because only a small percentage of anti-social people are raising Cain in public.  If we stick together for what’s right we can make a difference.  I pledge not to stand by while our society bottoms out.  The best is yet to come….

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Karma and Me

Karma and Me
  • The relationship of karma to causality is a central motif in all schools of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist thought. The theory of karma as causality holds that (1) executed actions of an individual affects the individual and the life he or she lives, and (2) the intentions of an individual affects the individual and the life he or she lives. Disinterested actions, or unintentional actions do not have the same positive or negative karmic effect, as interested and intentional actions. In Buddhism, for example, actions that are performed, or arise, or originate without any bad intent such as covetousness, are considered non-existent in karmic impact or neutral in influence to the individual.
  • Another causality characteristic, shared by Karmic theories, is that like deeds lead to like effects. Thus good karma produces good effect on the actor, while bad karma produces bad effect. This effect may be material, moral or emotional — that is, one's karma affects one's happiness and unhappiness.[25] The effect of karma need not be immediate; the effect of karma can be later in one's current life, and in some schools it extends to future lives.[27]
Karma is a very strong principle supported (or believed) by a majority of people.  However, Karma is a principle that requires patience, an attitude (virtue) not in ample supply in most people.  One of the funniest things I remember seeing many years ago was a poster of a man looking up to the sky and the caption read: “God please give me patience, and I need it now!!”

During my early years as an adult like most people I had opportunities to be patient and allow karma to work its magic and right a wrong.  I would dare say that approximately 50 percent of the time justice to some degree was served.  Perhaps up to 100 percent would have been served but I wasn’t about to sit around and wait forever.  One of the things that most people don’t realize is that karma outcomes are not tit-for-tat.  In other words a wrong won’t come back to the individual exactly as he or she did.  As an example a person may cut in front of you while waiting in a line only to step on a banana peel and fall right in front of you while still in line.  Now, that would be karma perfection at work. 

Usually the real payback is that this individual may leave the store after cutting in line in front of you to find that somebody scratched his car in the parking lot or broke a window.  There were occasions in my early 20’s and 30’s when I found myself giving karma a helping hand.  The trick to this kind of activity is not to have the desire to be seen as the person that got even.  You take the action necessary to even the score without needing the credit or to be seen holding the smoking gun (no guns involved in actuality).  Self-satisfaction is the end goal here.

If your perpetrators are in your everyday life, you allow enough time to pass so you won’t be suspected.  I am talking about evening the score by exposing the individual for who they really are.  You may find yourself in a position to interview the individual for a job or promotion (vote accordingly).  You may see him/her by the side of the road with his car broke down (just keep going and act as if you didn’t see anything).  The possibilities are endless. 

On the other hand you may decide to rise above it all and just let karma work it’s magic.  Depending on your personal preference and personality you may just sleep better.  As for me I am getting to a place in life where I need patience and I need it now!  The best is yet to come…..

Friday, June 19, 2015

Selective Memory

Good Times

  • Noun:  (euphemistic) an ability to remember some facts while apparently forgetting others, especially when they are inconvenient    We seem to have a selective memory for the best bits of the past.
  • It appears that he has a selective boomers with selective memories about the sixties
If an experience in life is normal (whatever normal means) our brain will have a way of blocking the negative, and perhaps even glamorizing the positive aspects of the experience.  By the way this is not a bad thing unless you take it to the extreme of trying to duplicate the experience because of how you remember that it happened.

  • Example:  Your first marriage ended up in divorce after 8 years.  Twelve years later you run into your ex at a high school reunion, and he or she still looks nice.  Your brain starts to analyze the marriage experience. But only brings up the good times of that part in your life.  Next thing you know you are texting each other following the reunion.  Perhaps you even dare to go on dates.  As most people courting or being courted, both parties or putting their best foot forward, and being extra nice.
  • On the basis of the courting experience and positive memories you both agree to move in together and forsake all others or worst yet, you propose marriage. Within one to six months (a year at most), the same negatives that broke up the marriage before start to creep into the relationship.  It’s at this point that the brain reminds you of the negatives of the previous experience.
The same can be said about a business experience that worked well but you eventually got out of.  You will remember the positives, but if you push your brain it will remind you of the negatives that you most likely would rather forget.

Selective memory is all around us.  Job experiences, high school, college, friendships, misguided love infatuations, vacations, relatives, investments, growing up, even and perhaps especially relationship with our parents through the years.

I’ve met people that dislike their father or mother or both so much that they have nothing positive to say about the experience with them.  Yet a much larger percentage of people forgive their parent’s short comings because after all, they are or were human beings that had imperfect lives like everyone else. 

I am very much aware of human failings, but I am so grateful for my parents, that I would never disrespect their memories by focusing on the negatives in their lives.  Whatever shortcomings they may have had, I couldn’t have asked for better parents.  This, in my life, is the one place where I fully embrace selective memory.  The best is yet to come……….

Discretion vs Valor

Discretion vs Valor

  • Prov. It is good to be brave, but it is also good to be careful; if you are careful, you will not get into situations that require you to be brave. Son: Can I go hang gliding with my friends? 
  • Father: No Son: But they'll say I'm chicken if I don't go! Father: Discretion is the better part of  valor, and I'd rather have them call you chicken than risk your life.

Growing up I was involved in two physical altercations by the age of 17.  It seems that back in the 60 the era of peace rallys and “love ins” physical altercations were not the norm.  On both occasions I got involved because someone else was getting beat up.  The funny thing is that on both occasions younger brothers of friends were being picked on by school bullies.  Had the fights been fair, one against one, I might not have gotten involved, but we all know that bullies don’t get into fair fights.

It seems that I was born with a good supply of common sense, a quality further enhanced by the special attention and upbringing by my parents.  While getting into altercations was never my first option, how to survive one or a plan to come out victorious was always a consideration.

As an example I never wanted to scar someone’s face, because the last thing I wanted, was to have someone remember me every time he looked in the mirror.  My goal was to disable my opponent to take the fight out of him.  My discretion with honor was the following, I lettered in football, wrestling, and track and field.  I had a reputation for being gutsy, and also the ability to withstand pain. Any of you readers that participated in football “the first sport of the school year,” must remember the excruciating pain that went with football practice.  The temperature alone was a 106 or better experience in mid to late August.  I remember being so tired and sore that I would go to sleep without dinner.  By the end of the second week of practice the body adjusted.

Our Lettermen’s Club was a group made up of all accomplished (proven) bravery type individuals and the old “All for one and one for all,” was alive and well.  We were never alone as individuals especially in our own town.  I was fortunate to have two memberships: the lettermen’s club, and my cultural club.  During the agricultural growing season from March to October a big influx of seasonal working families came to the area and their children were enrolled in school.  The high school age kids enjoyed hanging out with my group, and those that didn’t seek me out, I purposely went after their friendship because I wanted them feel like they belonged.  They were not seen as outsiders if they were part of an accepted school group that hung out together during lunch and free periods.

The two groups that I belonged to kept me from being tested by anyone that might want to gain a reputation by challenging me.  You see if I acted tough, and hung out with tough people no one would dare to challenge me.  And that is exactly how it worked out. That is until I found myself alone and deciding to intervene on two occasions when someone was being pummeled by two bullies. 

The first time I was winning the fight but I knew that I couldn’t last much longer fending these two guys off.  You never want to show your weakness, so they had no clue that the tide was about to change in their favor.  Fortunately a member of the school board was driving by, and he broke up the fight and took us to the Principal’s office.  Our next class was PE, so the instructor had us settle it with the gloves on while everyone in class watched.  One on one wasn’t fair for the bullies so I dispatched the first one with four punches and one swift kick to the groin (the coach said “no rules”).  The second one chose not to participate,

The second time I intervened to help someone, I once again drew the attention of the two bullies for interfering and this fight didn’t last long because my strategy was to disable them.  Every time they took a swing at me I would side step it and hit them with my knuckles on the boney part of the wrist, two or three hits like that and they decided they didn’t hate me that much.  By the way as they walked away they were mumbling that I didn’t fight fair.  Go figure.

As I’ve gotten older, I still feel safe because I usually have my two bodyguards handy; Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson.  I am no longer likely to try to break up a fight, thank God for cell phones and 911.  The best is yet to come…………

Monday, June 8, 2015

Guilty Until Otherwise Proven 2

Guilty Until Otherwise Proven 2

This post is part 2 to: Guilty Until Otherwise Proven Posted 6/07/2015.

As I entered the principal’s office, I still had no clue for why I was there.  I must admit that my initial reaction was the relief that it wasn’t a uniformed police officer or a detective waiting to interview me.  Not that I was aware of any wrong doing on my part, but I suppose it’s human nature to think of the worst possible scenario. I instantly searched my mind for the connection between me and the Johnson family or their children.  The Johnsons had 4 children with Brandy being the oldest (a junior in high school), her brother Johnny was next in line (a sophomore in high school). The other children were still in elementary school (both girls).  Mr. Johnson owned a fairly large farm, approximately 4,000 acres give or take, their crops were beets, potatoes, and pepper mint, and a large herd of cattle. 

The town where I grew up had a population of under 5,000, and everybody knows everybody.  I was friends with Johnny Johnson and visited their farm not regularly but every once in a while, I didn’t have his sister in my sights because truth be told I didn’t think she was within my range.  She was the daughter of a wealthy farmer, and I was ambitious and a hard worker, but a worker just the same.  I had my admirers at school and in town, but I never felt that she was one of them, no reason, just didn’t think so. 

I don’t mind admitting that my visits to Johnny Johnson’s house in part might have been to catch a glimpse of his beautiful blonde blue eyed sister.  I used to pick up Johnny during hunting season and walk through some farm land looking for Pheasants.  Johnny’s father was always cordial to me and once asked me to come work for him during summer vacation from high school.  I told him that I would consider the offer, but I never gave it a second thought because my step-father was the general foreman at the 10,000 plus acre farm where I worked (and I got paid well with supervisory responsibilities).

Due to my friendship with the family it was natural that I shake their hand the minute I came into their presence in the principal’s office, especially not knowing the reason for the meeting.  The principal closed the door and broke the ice the minute he sat on his chair behind the desk.  I am glad to see that everyone is acquainted was his ice-breaker.

He next addressed me:  I am sure that you are wandering why you are here.  Brandy has explained to her mother that she is pregnant and you are the father!  Mixed emotions ran through my body and mind.  My mind was trying to intake the information, while attempting to formulate a proper responds without calling her a liar.  At the same time I could feel the weakness in my legs even though I was sitting down.  Confusion ran rampant in my mind, on the one hand I wanted to say “I wish!”  On the other hand I wasn’t raised to be disrespectful.  I had never in my wildest dreams even thought of stealing a kiss from her, but to be the father of her unborn child, “WOW!”
Mr. Johnson spoke up next and saved me the trouble of having to respond.  I don’t know why he said what he did next, but in retrospect they were a very religious family, and while I won’t mention the religion by name, this type of reaction was not unheard off.  To every one’s surprise especially Brandy’s and mine the following was his statement (I’m pretty sure, word for word): “The two of you have brought shame to our family, you are to immediately move out of State preferably to Oregon, and not return until the child is born and the two of you are married.  I have $3000.00 dollars for you, and a car that should give you a chance to get established.  We will cover your medical cost, but that is all.  You have 24 hours to say your goodbyes.”

Saved my crown and wings (but barely)

I didn’t even get a chance to react.  When Brandy heard what the punishment was, she confessed that the father of the unborn child was a 20 year old hired hand at her father’s farm.  She apologized to me with tears of regret in her eyes.  She had used me because she was afraid that her father would fire her boyfriend, and maybe even hurt him physically.  I hope she thought that her father had more consideration for me because of whatever reason, and not that she wanted me hurt.  As most of my life has gone so did this incident, within a matter of an hour both my nightmare and possible dream (money/car/good looking girl) all came to a sudden stop.

I remember asking Johnny about his sister on a couple of occasions during the summer, and he told me that his mother was working on mending the relationship, but than just like that I forgot about it.  My reputation and ego both recovered and even improved if that’s possible.  The man above had better plans for me: a gorgeous wife and large happy family!  The best is yet to come………..

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Guilty Until Otherwise Proven

Guilty Until Otherwise Proven

This is as close as I’ve come to a life sentence, but I must say, what a way to go.  I swear my life has had enough experience for at least 5 lifetimes.  What I am about to share was so scary at the time that many, many, many years later I’ve never told anyone.  When it happened, most everyone at the school became aware but because it was passed on mouth to ear it must have been distorted.  Like most drama in high school, it was shortly replaced with the next rumor or gossip.

During my years in high school I had the easiest and best time imaginable.  I lettered in 3 sports (Football, Wrestling and Track and Field), I carried a 4.0 GPA and I don’t remember spending much time studying.  My recollection is that I would wait until a couple of days before a test to review all the material that we were going be to be tested on.  My memory would retain all the information freshly reviewed (those were the days), and I would consciously command my mind to release it from storage out of the brain after the test.  Without knowing about the future and how computer memory would work, I assumed that by consciously releasing it, I could start from scratch remembering things that were useful as I went along (in other words “delete”).

Well, enough background for this post.  My experience was such that I would look forward to going to school, and enjoyed every little detail about the experience.  I was in good standing with all my teachers and the administration.  The school principal held me in high regard, and I often was called to assist teaching English to the Cuban Refugees.  Eventually I went on to have my own 30 minute daily class to work with the Cuban students.

Finally, for “the rest of the story.”  I remember the day like it was a month ago; my third period had just started (the class: Washington History, my teacher was Mr. Brown).  Mr. Brown had just assigned us to read a chapter in preparation for a quiz.  I was concentrating so intently as I read, that I didn’t notice when the principal walked into the room, and approached my sitting area from the rear of the room to call me out of the classroom.  When he leaned over to talk to me quietly, I was so surprised that I almost jump out of my seat.  Other students had a good laugh because they had been tracking the principal as he walked around looking for his target (me).

I remember his words to me as we walked to his office:  Without telling me what the meeting was about, he said; “son, I want you to know that I will be with you in the room to maintain control and to give you all the support you will need, I will help you get through this.”

When we arrived to the office area, I noticed that all the staff (all ladies except the assistant principal) were actually staring at me, and I couldn’t tell if it was a look of pity or disbelief.  I nodded at the staff as we walked by, the principal was holding his arm around my shoulder.  I am willing to bet that even the principal’s arm around my shoulder was a non-typical event.  It was almost as if the principal was trying to reassure me, but I still didn’t know about what, other than of his personal and professional support.

When we reached his office which seemed to take forever, he opened the door and showed me in.  As I walked through the door I was surprised to see one of the prettiest girls in the school accompanied by her mother and father.  I reached out to shake their hand and no surprise to me they reached out and shook my hand in return.  Please understand that I will change the names to protect the innocent.  The young lady shall be called Brandy Johnson. 

I have a personal policy about not making my posts too long, so please be patient, as I will quickly finish part 2, and post it.  The best is yet to come…………….

Saturday, June 6, 2015



From a very young age (5 years old in private school) I already knew that I wanted to be the best.  Not just at one thing but at everything.  I don’t think that you can have a chip on your shoulder at that young age, I simply wanted to excel and be the best that I could be all around.

Even at age 5 I already had a gift for gab.  My personality was very outgoing, and I received all the attention that I could possible desire from my parents and my maternal grandparents.  They instilled in me not only that I could be great, but that I already was.  I was an only child, and they heaped love and praise on me.

I remember that at the private school where I was enrolled, I would sneak away from the classroom before lunch (while lunch was being prepared in the kitchen for the students and faculty), and walk right into the kitchen, I would impress the food preparers (ladies), first by complimenting their culinary skills based on the aroma alone, and then I would share some poetry that my grandmother had taught me.  Within a matter of seconds one of the cooks would prepare something for me to eat (appetizer if you will) before lunch was served to everyone else.

It was that kind of experience and rewards that encouraged me to improve and sharpen my oratory skills (gift of gab).  My ability to properly respond to any situation is what got me ahead because the teachers felt that additional time spent working with me one on one, was time well spent.  As a result of this kind of privileged treatment I was a B+ student through sixth grand, and then starting with Junior High School and all the way through college I was a 4.0 GPA.

Much of the academic accomplishment can be attributed to consistency in study habits (if not good old fashion hard work) and clean living. I didn’t party or even drink or smoke.  While many of my peers did all that and more (weed, speed, LSD etc.), I participated in school sports and even worked a 30 hour week including after school and weekends.

I never wanted to admit it even to myself (perhaps especially to myself), that the reason I wanted to be better is because I was a minority (raised in South Texas); bias and racial discrimination was all around us.  Some of my friends either ignored it or were used to it and didn’t acknowledge it.  I on the other hand didn’t dwell on it but was constantly aware that the snake could rear its ugly head when you least expected it.

I never once thought of discriminating first as a preemptive strike, because I believe in the good in everyone’s heart, and I was willing to accept being the target of someone so compelled.  I am not aware of any incidences of racial discrimination (in the work place) in my life time probably because I am astute enough to recognize problem areas and stay out rather than test the waters.  I do know of one incidence of discrimination against me in the area of consumerism, but rather than feel bad for me, I felt bad for the merchant because of the hatred that he carried in his heart and the fact that he was stuck living with himself.  I was only 9 years old at the time, and unwittingly crossed over to the wrong side of the tracks (didn’t literally cross the tracks).  As life often does, and in retrospect my life turned out many times more successful in every way than the life that the merchant was already living in his late 50’s.

I pray early and I pray often, more often than not it’s to give thanks for the abundant blessings in my life and family.  I know that just as we begin to make progress on one social issue another one seems to get out of whack.  Despite all the technological progress that we make, we only seem to magnify the negatives in the world.  Don’t give up hope, and stay involved, the best is yet to come………..

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

May - December Romance

May - December Romance

I was recently reading some articles on romances where the couples, whether married or not are at least separated by 10 years in age.  I did get the logic of calling any romance separated by 10 years or more “May –December.”  However, since we are using months to show the age of the individuals in the relationship and life expectancy in Washington State for males is 77.77, and 82 years for females, for the sake of easy calculation lets average the two to 80 years of age.

Having setup the formula first, now we can say that if the male is the older in the relationship and 80 is the life expectancy that would make December 31st, equal to 80 years of age. So the young female at the May month would be somewhere approximately in her mid-30’s, that would take the romance out of the May – December Romance moniker. A couple where the bride is 36 and the groom is between 73 and 80 sounds more like a nurse – patient relationship.  I hate to say it because I grew up reading Playboy for the articles (of course), but it sounds like a marriage that could only take place (regularly) at the Playboy Mansion.
Pinky Promise

  • May-December relationships have at least an 11-year age span between the parties. The vast majority of May-December marriages take place between older men and younger women. According to the most recent U.S. census, 7.4 percent of husbands are 10 or more years older than their wives.
  • But that trend is starting to change. A 2003 AARP report, “Lifestyles, Dating and Romance,” found that 8 percent of women older than 39 were dating men at least 10 years younger.
  • Hollywood has long been a breeding ground for May-December romances. Charlie Chaplin famously wed Oona O’Neill when she was 18 and he was 54. Warren Beatty is 21 years older than his wife, Annette Bening. Harrison Ford, 70, is married to Calista Flockhart, 48. Clint Eastwood is 82; wife Dina Ruiz-Eastwood is 35 years younger (they’re getting a divorce).
  • Why choose a partner from a vastly different age group? Research conducted at University of Gothenburg and Oxford University and published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology found that women wanted older men because of their solid financial resources and high social status. Men have always sought younger female partners.The study also found that the majority of women older than 60 were looking for younger men.
  • While many May-December couples report they’ve found the love of their life, they’re likely to encounter certain challenges. They may grapple with an imbalance of power. When one party has more life experience, money and prestige, he or she may exert more authority over the other.
  • Partners age at different rates. No matter how youthful the older person feels or acts, the calendar inevitably catches up. ~ BY LINDA LEWIS GRIFFITH 

I can tell you from my fairy tale romance (life), that the first time I saw my wife I was struck by her physical beauty, the fact that she was in college said volumes about her intelligence, and the minute she spoke I was amazed at her maturity beyond her obvious youth.  The chance meeting took place at my office where I was a college counselor (not the same college where she was enrolled).  She had dropped by to take her brother to lunch, and her brother was in a meeting with me in my office, he was a co-worker and also a counselor (to this day we are related and great friends).

To make a very long and loving story short, that beautiful woman that walked into my life unexpectedly on her 18th birthday, and I married two weeks later.  We just celebrated our most recent anniversary last month (our youngest daughter is 30 years old and we have 3 other children together).  Today I am retired (early retirement), and she enjoys her career she plans to keep working a little longer.  Little did I know that I would go from being the more experience partner in the relationship to being a “kept man.”  I love my life and my present status and for the record I consider our romance a March – May Romance!  The best is yet to come……..