Friday memories

Since I am exhausted from talking about our modern day Voldemort, let me offer a few random memories on this Friday, Greenwich time. In no particular order:

When my father used to cook chicken on the grill, he would always return to the kitchen with a wingless chicken. When asked, he noted said chicken could not fly as it had no wings. Of course, he would eat the wings outside to make sure he got the basting right, at least that was his ultimate story.

When he smoked meat in his Cooking Cajun smoker, he would cook a ham on one rack and a turkey on another. The poor cook would start the large turkey around 2 am in the morning and then add the ham later. I wish I had his knack for smoking it right. He did say he basted the turkey with mayonnaise to keep it moist. Whatever he did, both were excellent.

My mother was a terrific cook as well, so these meals were accentuated with her casseroles, side dishes and desserts. One of her wonderful dishes was a layered salad, which must be served in a glass bowl to see the layers of lettuce, cheese, mostly thawed frozen green peas, mayonnaise (we southerners love our mayo), bacon and green onion. She also had a fruit pie made with fresh strawberries and bananas.

My mother was an Education and Home Economics major in college, so she would plan out our meals for two weeks between paychecks. Pot roast, fried chicken, cubed steak, spaghetti, lasagna, ham steaks with limas and cheese, etc. were usually in the mix. Back then, she went to the grocery store once in two weeks. Think about the planning behind that statement. We did not make runs to the grocer as we do now, with the exception of fresh milk which we got from a nearby dairy store you could actually drive up to.

With three kids who all played sports, we liked to eat and ate a lot. So, my mother keeping the refrigerator full shopping once every two weeks was a chore. One of the wisest things my high school did was, if you played sports, you automatically took PE in the last class of the day, so we could start practicing early. With a full load of classes in the preceding years, I found a free period for lunch in my Senior year, so I would eat at home and return for practice. So, more food was needed to fill this growing boy’s body. Did I mention I ate a lot?

When I got home, I would do my studying at night. So, my brother, sister and I would watch the reruns of Star Trek, Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, The Wild West, etc., before and just after dinner. With one TV, we all watched the same thing. I must confess, the love interests of Captain Kirk and James West were fascinating to this adolescent boy. And, it did not dawn on me, at first, the comedic genius of Don Knotts as Barney Fife and Lucille Ball as Lucy. I would get irritated with how silly they were, but realized later that was their gift.

Well, that is enough for memory lane. I had a good childhood, not perfect mind you, as I have left off my parents’ fighting, but it was largely good memories. I have written before about my father’s drinking problem (which I inherited), but he was still a good man, who just had a problem. He was sober the last twenty years of his life and I have been without a drink for over thirteen years.

I remember when

As I dressed for a long walk this morning, I was reminded of an old dressing habit. This prompted a reflective post (you can hum Nat King Cole’s “I remember you” as you read with me):

I remember when we used to cut the tops off athletic socks to make footies, as they did not make those when I was growing up, at least for boys and men.

I remember when phones were dialed and not keyed; if you did not complete the dial, the phone might call the wrong number.

I remember when there were three serious US news anchors whose words were gospel; Nixon once said when he lost Walter Cronkite, he lost the country.

I remember a time when we lived in blissful ignorance that all priests, pastors and evangelists were above board and not participating in criminal behavior.

I remember when both parties cared that the US President was exactly what he said he was not; Nixon said “I am not a crook,” but that was a lie.

I remember when Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were assasinated, but was too young to remember JFK’s,

I remember the moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s words of “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Sadly, I remember the Challenger blowing up with citizen astronauts aboard. It showed how difficult it is to leave and return to our planet.

I remember when the US celebrated its bicentennial and when we prepared for computers programmed in Cobol to recognize the new millennium.

On this last comment, my wife and I hosted a New Millennium Eve party. We got so interested in shooting fireworks with the kids, we forgot to put the lamb in the oven. That was the only time we cooked lamb, and almost did not then. We were eating at midnight when the year 2000 rolled in.

I hope I spawned some memories. Please share a few of yours. I remember when…

My boomer lane has been bumpy, but still worth the ride

Our friend Renee writes a consistently humorous blog called “Life in the Boomer Lane.” She ranges from “tongue-in-cheek” to “call them as she sees them” humor and her blog is very much worth the read, even if you are not living life in the boomer lane. She has a range of followers, including a number of men, who will actively wade in with comments, even when our gender is being scrutinized in a painful manner. An example of this is evidenced in a link to her latest post is below.

Beneath her humor, her posts cause genuine reflection, laughter and melancholy from her readers. As one of her constant readers, I find myself often in this boat as I look back on my life thus far, complete with great moments and a few which could have been better or I could have acted better. Being a guy, we are prone to do and have done foolish and, even, irresponsible things. Hopefully, I have learned the hard lessons and will avoid them in the future, but I do reserve the right to be a dumb ass on occasion. I think we all need a hall pass every once in a while. Now, though, I recognize my poor behavior and will sincerely regret and apologize for my deficiencies. I guess that is what being a grown-up is all about.

For the most part, I have lived a life of trying to do the right thing. That was ingrained in me early on by my parents, especially my mother. Also, since I was invited by a friend to begin helping people in need dating back to 1999, it has made me realize how fortunate I have been and how opportunities do not exist for many in our country. Or, how when people are down and out, the chances to climb out of the hole, sometimes can be challenging. They need to climb the ladder, but we need to make sure that ladder exists for them and that the steps are not greased.

Yet, I have hurt people’s feelings, as well, just as we all have done. A single guy in his early twenties is prone to shun involvement and I did some of that. As quid pro quo, I have had my heart broken a few times, as well. Fortunately, that ended when I met my wife and we eventually married when we were twenty-six. We have been together for going on 30 years, so she has been able to put up with my faults and help me improve the ones she can. I look back on some of my previous relationships noting where I was less than a gentleman or where I could have and should have tried harder. Again, I guess that is what being a grown-up is all about.

So, I have been a fixer upper all of my life. I have made mistakes, but for the most part have tried to stay on a good path forward. I wish I could re-write some of that history, but it may have changed the wonderful person I have been married to for these 30 years and the wonderful children and family we have together. It is not unlike my favorite Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever,” where Dr. McCoy goes back in time and his actions negate the existence of the Enterprise and change the future. So, my life in the boomer lane is a good one. It is an imperfect, but wonderful ride. And, we still have plenty of daylight to drive on some more and enjoy the view.

http://lifeintheboomerlane.com/2015/03/25/why-older-men-should-date-younger-women/