With all the new cooking shows currently on TV, you’d think any person watching would be like ‘a child in a candy store.’ But, if that person happened to be me, you’d be sadly mistaken.
I was never a great cook but the meals I prepared were pretty good. I certainly never poisoned anyone. But I also, for instance, never learned how to make a turkey. Why should I? Mom always had that particular honor (still does) and, ‘if it ain’t broken, why fix it?’
My parents now get meals-on-wheels a few days a week because even Mom doesn’t feel like cooking anymore. And, when visiting friends, why bake a dessert to bring over when they make exceptional ones in your average, local supermarket? I just don’t see the point.
So, if I can get away with buying already-prepared food from any other source (as long as it’s reasonably priced), I’m doing it!*
*In full disclosure… I DID bake cookies and cupcakes for my kids’ bake sales and classroom celebrations for years.
Notice I didn’t say safe and ‘sound.’ That was deliberate because, at almost 86, my Dad isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. He knows it, we all know it – we just don’t put a label on it.
What constitutes being ‘sound’ really?
Ask a person, who has lived a long hard life, how they feel and they’re just as likely to answer, “fine,” as they are to actually attempt to describe how difficult their day was beginning with getting out of bed to completing a few everyday tasks. Or, as my Dad often answers the doctor when asked that question, “how much time do you have?”
Mom, on the other hand, seldom leaves her place at the breakfast table because even the slightest exertion gets her winded. She watches her programs, she reads, she does her crossword puzzles and she organizes my Dad’s meals and meds. Mom (who’s deaf in one ear and has perfected the art of ‘selective hearing’) has a unique way of filtering sound. When she sleeps, it’s on her ‘good’ ear so she doesn’t get bothered by outside noise.
Dad, like myself, not only hears every annoying beep and bang but involuntarily waits for the next one to disturb him. And, with nothing but time on his hands, that’s a lot of disturbance. As musicians, Dad and I are literally victims of the very sounds that we’ve spent our lives crafting for others’ enjoyment.
Is it healthier to face your demons head on or to ignore them in hopes that they’ll eventually go away? I guess that’s for each of us to discover!
As a small child I remember thinking the ‘old guy’ that always sat at his window, looking outside to make sure no one stepped on his perfectly manicured lawn, was a bit creepy. In his defense, neighborhood kids did make it a point to purposely throw balls onto his lawn and (before we were taught to pick up after our dogs) dogs regularly used his front lawn as their own public pooper-scooper.
Since living back with my parents I’ve noticed that they, too, spend an awful lot of time sitting in front of THEIR window. They watch for the mailman (they don’t get much more than medical bills); the meals-on-wheels delivery man (with whom they’re on a first name basis); the UPS truck (when I tell them I’m expecting a package but it probably won’t arrive for weeks); and their grandkids (as if wishing for it will actually make it happen).
I realize they have little to look forward to on a daily basis but it seems a bit paranoid of them to watch out for, say, impending snow when only an inch or two is predicted and they have nowhere to go in it anyway. But I suppose it does make the days go by faster and maybe, in their minds, it might even make them feel more a part of their surroundings now that they spend so much of their time indoors.
As I think back on that ‘old guy’ next door and remember how my Dad used to call him a busybody and a cranky old man, it feels as if time has come full circle only now it’s my Dad who has earned the title of ‘crotchety-old-dude.’
But, if truth be told and years of hard living give you some street cred, he’s truly earned it!
We’re in such a hurry all the time. We eat fast food, we get instant messages – we place too much emphasis on instant gratification… we do everything at top speeds from driving to speaking to shopping. Why can’t we slow down anymore?
Where’s the fire in our lives?
From the time we’re little we’re in this giant hurry to grow up. Then, when we’re grown, we wonder where all the time went. We have indigestion yet we eat some of our meals whiledriving to and from work or while standing in line waiting to catch a train.
My mother always used to say: “A watched pot never boils.” Sounds profound but, seriously, it ‘always’ boils. In truth, it only seems to take longer because we’re focused on it and, now that we’re all multi-taskers, who’s sitting around watching water boil?
So, give yourself a break. You don’t have to make every single moment count. Don’t go directly from one activity to another. When eating, don’t forget to chew and (maybe) even savor your meal… There will be plenty of time to rush when you’re done!
A is for arthritis B is for bad back C is for the chest pains – corned beef?cardiac? D is for dental decay and decline E is for eyesight – can’t read that top line F is for fissures and fluid retention G is for gas (which I’d rather not mention – and not to forget other gastrointestinal glitches) H is high blood pressure I is for itches and lots of incisions J is for joints, that now fail to flex L is libido – what happened to sex? Wait! I forgot about K! K is for my knees – that crack all the time (But forgive me, I get a few lapses in my Memory from time to time) N is for nerve (pinched) and neck (stiff)
and neurosis O is for osteo – for all the bones that crack P is for prescriptions, that cost a small fortune Q is for queasiness. Fatal or just the flu? Give me another pill and I’ll be good as new! R is for reflux – one meal turns into two S is for sleepless nights (counting fears on how to pay my medical bills) T is for tinnitus – I hear bells in my ears
And the word ‘terminal’ also rings too near U is for urinary and the difficulties that flow (or not) V is for vertigo, as life spins by W is worry, for pains yet unfound X is for x-ray and what one might find Y is for year (another one, I’m still alive) Z is for zest
For surviving the symptoms my body’s deployed
And keeping 26 doctors gainfully employed