Was in the yard last week cutting up a tree I’d cut down the week before.
I figured it was going to take me all day that day and probably all day the following day to clean up. Big job.
In this place, you have to cut up ‘yard debris’ into little pieces, put it into paper bags you get from Lowe’s, and the POA picks it up every other Thursday.
You have to hide the debris till then. No messing up the look of the place.
It takes forever to cut branches into little pieces.
Anyway, there I was, slaving away in the heat, my A-Fib heart pounding, and a pickup truck drives up with a trailer on the back and stops.
MIddle-aged  guy gets out of the pickup truck and says, “I’ll lend you a hand.”
He’s obviously taken pity on this too old guy who has a huge job in front of him.
Judging by the logo on his t-shirt, he must be in the landscape business.
I don’t know what to say.
Next thing I know he’s grabbed his chainsaw out of the trailer, cranked it up, and all of fifteen minutes later, he’s got the whole thing cut up, in his trailer, and ready to leave.
I offered to pay him and he refused to take money. I offered to hire him to do my landscaping [which is multiple thousands a year.]
Nope, he says. He can spare 15 minutes to help me, but doesn’t have room for any more customers.
Based on the logo on his t-shirt, and as luck would have it, I realize I’ve crossed paths with his mother. So I will drop some money off with her to spend on him [and congratulate her on on parenting.]
I have a 76 year old retired airplane pilot friend. Great guy. On his last legs. Anyway, he flew in the Vietnam War and, in fact, one of the planes he flew sits on the 'Enterprise' in the Hudson River today.
Yesterday, he told me the following story; He said he’d heard that during the second World War some big American plane flew over Germany and was attacked by a small German fighter planes, as well as by shots from the ground.
The big plane got hit in the gas tank but, somehow, the bullets didn’t explode and the Americans made it back to friendly ground. During repairs, the mechanics found 12 unexploded identical big bullets in the gas tank.
Based on their entry points, it appeared all 12 came from the ground.
The twelve bullets seemed to be light.
So, they took the risk to open one up. Inside, there was a note from the Jewish concentration camp prisoners who had made the bullet.
There was no gunpowder in the bullet, just the note.
Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you know who you think might like to read it.
Don’t send me birthday wishes. I know you wish me well.
I admit I have a hard time seeing me as 70. Wait a second – 16 was yesterday.
And it seems like – in many ways – I’m just getting started.
But I know the runway is getting very short for me.
I like to play with golf with strangers. The pro’s here hook me up with a threesome who has an opening for a fourth. When they introduce me before the round, I often think “Look at that old bas**rd.” Then – we ride and talk around the course – and it turns out the “old bas**rd” is younger than I am!!
Other than having endless aches that come and go – a different one every day – I don’t feel 70. My mind thinks I’m still in high school. My body tells me I’m not.
While I’m in-and-out of doctors offices and hospitals a lot, I don’t have anything I know of that’s going to kill me imminently.
I’ve outlived many of my friends, I don’t know why I’m still alive. I should’ve been dead long ago. [You don’t want to know.] But, for some reason, whoever is upstairs decided to keep me around.
And I’m very glad to be here.
I haven’t really changed that much since I was a kid growing up in Westport. I still expect the best from people [and am all too frequently disappointed.] I cherish my friends, love to play sports, and take great joy in the success of others. LIttle kids – anyone’s little kids – make me smile. And I still like old people. Their wisdom and strength in the face of old age impresses me no end.
It’s true I have my share of regrets. I’m sorry I wasted precious time along the way. I’m sorry I kept some people in my life far longer than I should have. I’m sorry I was never able to sustain a decent marriage. I’m sorry I let some people disappoint me for a second time when the first was more than enough.
I’m sorry I can’t play the piano. And I’m sorry I can’t draw a portrait. But I’m working on both.
I’m sorry that when my time comes I won’t be leaving any kind of post-mortem greatness. It will be a quiet goodbye. But I do hope I survive in the memories of friends.
I know I spend probably too much time thinking of those who were part of my life, and who are now gone. I miss a lot of friends. I miss my parents. My Aunts and Uncles. I of course miss my Evan, and I even miss my brother Nicholas. They were all important to me and I loved them in my simplistic, self-absorbed way.
The future looms. I’m fading. I know. I can’t remember too well. Each morning I wake up and put my eyes on and my ears in. I once could memorize 100 pages of 18 columns of numbers no problem. I once could read “The New York Times” and – without advance notice – recite back on request pretty much every article on every page on every column. For years, I took the Time Magazine annual quiz of events and scored 100.
At lot of phonies, manipulators, con artists, flying monkeys, hypocrites, and just plain mean, nasty people have come in-and-out of my life.
Too many were closest to me. The tide went out on them and I got to see they were swimming naked.
Fortunately, many more kind, decent, gentle, human beings who continue to amaze me and warm my little heart have also come along and more than compensated for the baddies. They are the people I look back on and smile. They enhanced my life. Without them, the bad guy’s would’ve won.
In ways I’m grateful for the bad guys. They’ve taught me how to spot them early so I can shuffle away before they do too much damage.
I’ve watched and listened to the pontificators, and I lived long enough to see how wrong they often are.
I run out of energy quickly. Have about three good hours every morning. If I would allow myself, I’d fall asleep in my chair every afternoon. That said, there’s never enough time in the day for me. The days fly by, and I’m pissed when they’re over. I never did, and still don’t, want to go to bed. There’s so much more I want to do.
I’m hoping my health holds out for at least another 10 years [but I might need a little help on the mental side.]
I know where I’m headed.
But I’m planning on making my 70’s the best years of my life. Despite all of my decaying, I still feel very alive and engaged. I enjoy watching ‘the younguns’ immensely as they struggle with the same things I once struggled with. If they only knew ...
I don’t see getting old as a depressing decline of mental and physical capacities. [Although I guess it’s part.] I see my age as giving me perspective, as freedom from nonsense of all kinds, and a time to do whatever I want. I’m in no hurry. Not stressed by unnecessary ridiculous drama. I’ll leave the drama outside the gates.
I see my 70’s as the time to savor life. To relish all the great things I’ve seen, experienced, and still have – my health, my daughter, my many great friends, my home, my freedom, and so on.
So tomorrow’s not going to be a bummer day for me. I’m looking forward to being 70.
"Regret is where you admit wrongdoing and say, 'It won't happen again' and then say, 'Can't we just move on?'
Remorse is where you look deeply into the eyes of the person you beat up, see the damage you did, let them see that you accept responsibility for it, and then say, 'I did that. I was wrong. I'm sorry.' No excuses, no explanations, no defenses."
I stopped by the beach club this afternoon and there was this guy doing electrical work around the pool.
So, having nothing else to do, I hung around and watched him work for a few minutes.
I don’t think I’ve in totality spent more than 15 minutes at the club but — given the beach club is right on a beautiful beach — I asked him if anybody ever used the pool.
He said they will be starting this weekend. I replied, “Oh … What’s this weekend?”
He looked at me with a crooked head and said, “It’s Memorial Day weekend.”
And I said to myself, “Oh yeah. It’s May. I know because my birthday was last week.”
Trying to get my bearings, I next asked him, “What day of the week is it?”
By then, I could tell he thought I was either pulling his leg or nuts.
But I’m not nuts. The truth is I really have to concentrate to tell what year it is.
When you are retired — no working — and behind the gates where the outside world never enters — it’s hard to keep track of things. There’s no real schedule. All you have to do is keep track of your tee times and tennis times.
And you don’t even have to do that because this reminder thing on your phone tells you when to start getting ready for your tee times.
When I was 15 or so — 1960 or 61 — I went as a guest to Lake Horace in Weare, NH for a summer week [or maybe it was two].
Anyway, there were about 10 families from Westport [CT] were I grew up who went there every summer. Each family rented their own cabin.
Had a great time.
A friend who was there as well and I later decided to start our own group when we were ‘grown-ups’. In 1971, we did just that. He rented a cabin and invited a high school friend. I did the same and invited another friend. We split up and continued inviting friends.
Over the years, we got married and had kids. And our kids grew up and got married. And they had kids. So, the group has grown considerably.
This year, I did a little video. You can see it by clicking here.