As most of my readers know by now, I am a caregiver to my husband, who is afflicted with Alzheimers/Parkinsonism Disease.  What is means is that he will eventually not remember his past or his family.  He has Parkinson’s symptoms with it.  It includes motor skill deterioration with increasing rigidity of body movements.  Swallowing becomes a problem, as well as getting signals to the body for all functions needed to survive.  His brain has atrophied, as brain cells are dying.  It is difficult to watch as well as care for a loved one in this state.

Recently, I watched a movie called, “AWAY FROM HER”.  It is about a couple, Julie Christie & Gordon Pinsent, experiencing the very trials & tribulations, that all families are facing in this situation.  Fiona & Grant have been married almost 50 yrs.  Her forgetfulness has become a problem, to the extent that she wanders away one day & cannot find her way home.  She has forgotten where the frying pan goes, etc.  I relate to this, as my husband had put things away in the most unusual places, with no memory of ever doing it.  Cold stuff often ended up in the cupboard, only to find it days later, spoiled! 

The decision is made by both to institutionalize her.  The separation is painful, especially for Grant, who must wait a month to visit Fiona.  Those were the rules for patient to acclimate themselves to their surroundings.  When he finally returns, she does not recognize him & finds her involved with a fellow patient.  I will not indulge anymore of the story.  It is a powerful, profound story with Oscar winning performances.

The movie was adapted from the story,”THE BEAR CAME OVER THE MOUNTAIN”, by Alice Munro.

“IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BECOME WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN,” has been one of the most memorable lines from the story.  It has particular meaning to everyone who has come to a glitch in the road of life!







                  By Thomas Gray (1716-1771)1


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share,

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the Poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault
If Memory o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton

here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Yet e’en these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
E’en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, —

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

“There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high.
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

“One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

“The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.” 


An elegy is a somber poem or song that praises or laments the dead.  I was particularly drawn to some of its’ text, which does pertain to the purpose of the genealogists’.  It is our duty to give life & meaning to the families lives, that we embrace in memory.  I often called the idea, as giving a face to our ancestors or even getting on touch with our genes.  In everyone of us, we are a compilation of our past, their gifts, their intellect, & their sorrows.  As I would approach a cemetery plot & observe the dates on the tombstones, I can almost hear the mourning of pure grief over the loss of many children or one in their prime, like my uncle, Paul.  He was training for the Bobsled event in the Olympics.  The day before he was to be ordained as a minister, he was killed as he slid into a tree.


The 22nd stanza:

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, 
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d, 
 Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, 
Nor cast one longing, ling’ring look behind? 


These poor humble people were doomed to be forgotten. Perhaps, they looked back longing with regret, that they could not stay a little longer.


The 23rd stanza:


“On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires;

Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,

Ev’n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires”.


“These lines speak of the universal need on the part of the dead to be mourned and remembered. The dying rely on the living to keep their memory alive; the “closing eye” of the person at the point of death has a fundamental need for the “pious drops”, or tears, of those left behind who mourn their passing.  The longing of the dead to be remembered reaches from beyond the grave, “ev’n from the tomb”.  Some translators have interpreted the last line of the stanza to mean that the memory of the dead, along with their yearnings, actually live on in those of us who remain in tangible form on earth.”



The Epitaph

Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,
A youth, to fortune and to fame unknown;
Fair science frown’d not on his humble birth,
And melancholy mark’d him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
Heav’n did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to mis’ry all he had, a tear,
He gain’d from heav’n (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his father, and his God.

So let’s begin the NOW with an awareness & purpose of who we are, And have a purposeful direction with a decent respect for our history.  Each day lived is another day in YOUR HISTORY.  HOW WILL YOU LIVE EACH CHAPTER?  Will your future revere your life?  What will your epitaph read?









Sonnet XLIII

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning




 Humorous Retirement Story came thru the e-mail system.  I myself am going to forgo the nursing home & head for the nearest cruise line.  It will be a lot cheaper & stimulating!  Everything at my fingertips!  Service, entertainment, diversity of people, great food, & all the amenities of home with no clean-up!   Who knows WHAT ELSE may be beyond the horizon!


Retiring to Florida

For those of you contemplating retirement, I would like to share my retirement experiences with you, which I hope will be helpful.

Fifteen years ago my wife and I moved into a retirement development on Florida‘s Southeast coast. We are living in the Delray/Boca/Boynton Golf, Spa, Bath and Tennis Club on Lake Fake-a-hachee. There are 3000 lakes in Florida, only three are real.

Our biggest retirement concern was time management. What were we going to do all day? Let me assure you, passing the time is not a problem. Your days will be eaten up by simple, daily activities.. Just getting out of your car takes 15 minutes. Trying to find where you parked takes 20 minutes. It takes 1/2 hour on the check-out line in Wal-Mart and 1 hour to return the item the next day. 

Let me take you through a typical day. We get up at 5:00 AM, have a quick breakfast and join the early morning Walk and Talk Club. There are about 30 of us and rain or shine we walk around the streets, all talking at once. Every development has some late risers who stay in bed until 6 AM. After a nimble walk avoiding irate drivers out to make us road kill, we go back home, shower and change for the next activity.

My wife goes directly to the pool for her under water Pilates class, followed by gasping for breath and CPR. I put on my ‘Ask me about my Grandchildren’ T-shirt, my plaid mid-calf shorts, my black socks and sandals and go to the club house lobby for a nice nap.

Before you know it, it’s time for lunch. We go to Costco to partake of the many tasty samples dispensed by ladies in white hair nets. All free! After a filling lunch, if we don’t have any doctor appointments, we might go to the flea market to see if any new white belts have come in or to buy a Rolex watch for $2.00..

We’re usually back home by 2 PM to get ready for dinner. People start lining up for the early bird about 3 PM, but we get there by 3:45 because we’re late eaters. The dinners are very popular because of the large portions they serve. You can take home enough food for the next day’s lunch and dinner, including extra bread, crackers, packets of mustard, relish, ketchup and Sweet-and-Low along with mints.

At 5:30 we’re home ready to watch the 6 o’clock news. By 6:30 we’re fast asleep. Then we get up and make 5 or 6 trips to the bathroom during the night and it’s time to get up and start a new day all over again.

Doctor related activities eat up most of your retirement time. I enjoy reading old magazines in sub zero temperatures in the waiting room, so I don’t mind. Calling for test results also help the days fly by. It takes at least half an hour just getting through the doctor’s phone menu. Then there’s the hold time until you’re connected to the right party. Sometimes they forget you’re holding, and the whole office goes off to lunch.

Should you find you still have time on your hands, volunteering provides a rewarding opportunity to help the less fortunate. Florida has the largest concentration of seniors under five feet and they need our help. I myself am a volunteer for ‘The Vertically Challenged Over 80.’ I coach their basketball team, The Arthritic Avengers. The hoop is only 4 1/2 feet from the floor. You should see the look of confidence on their faces when they make a slam dunk.

Food shopping is a problem for short seniors or ‘bottom feeders’ as we call them because they can’t reach the items on the upper shelves. There are many foods they’ve never tasted. After shopping, most seniors can’t remember where they parked their cars and wander the parking lot for hours while their food defrosts.

Lastly, it’s important to choose a development with an impressive name. Italian names are very popular in Florida . They convey world traveler, uppity sophistication and wealth. Where would you rather live… Murray‘s Condos or the Lakes Of Venice ? There’s no difference. They’re both owned by Murray who happens to be a cheap bastard.

I hope this material has been of help to you future retirees. If I can be of any further assistance, please look me up when you’re in Florida . I live in

The Leaning Condos of Pisa in Boynton Beach





February 2 is Groundhog Day. 

Punxsutawney Phil, our resident

 & only authentic groundhog has been

making predictions for over 120 years. 

 A lot of hoop-la goes on, but the long

 & short is that if the groundhog sees his

 shadow, there will be six more

 weeks of bad weather, and if he doesn’t,

that spring will be here

 soon. I think the weather may be iffy

where Phil lives in Gobbler’s Knob,

somewhere in Punxsutawney, Berks Co., PA.

Well, shadow or no shadow, I have a feeling

that we are in for a long winter yet!

But enjoy the fun!

 INCIDENTALLY,  groundhog is

also called a woodchuck or a

 whistle pig.