It’s That Time…

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Last weekend I went out to dinner. My table was still set with the orange napkins they used for Halloween. On the windowsill next to me a gaudy, red and green Xmas decoration peeked over onto my place setting.

Considering it was the second week of November in New York and it was still in the 60’s, I can’t help but wonder why I couldn’t, instead, have enjoyed a little dressed-up Mr. Turkey or some cornucopia.

Is it too much to ask for a little equal time for Thanksgiving celebrating? Since when does Xmas begin right after Halloween? Doesn’t ‘Santa’ usually appear at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

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Make ‘Em Laugh

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Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96 year old draws a bath. She puts one foot in and pauses. She yells down the stairs, “was I getting in or out of the bath?”

The 94 year old yells back, “I don’t know, I’ll come up and see.” She starts up the stairs and pauses. Then she yells out, “was I going up the stairs or down?”

The 92 year old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea and listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, “I sure hope I never get that forgetful.” She ‘knocks on wood’ for good measure and then replies, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door!”

Safe And Healthy

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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!

Two Left Shoes

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English is a complicated language. Yet most people who learn it as their second language seem to be far more fluent than the rest of us who study, say, Spanish or French for a few years in high school. Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with all those double entendres, colloquialisms and oxymorons we spout both for comedic purposes and, let’s be honest, because we misuse them… Often.

Here are a few new expressions that have popped up since I’ve started living with my parents again:

Passenger-seat driver. That one’s pretty self explanatory… When I’m chauffeuring my Dad around town on various errands, he’s always pointing out every car that he thinks is in my way or every sign that he thinks he’s reading correctly or every imminently dangerous situation that’s about to occur (in his opinion) while sitting in the passenger seat instead of the back seat – where people usually sit when they want to annoy drivers.

Upside-down knife. Imagine cutting into a nice piece of steak… and cutting and cutting and you’re about to send it back because it’s like a piece of rubber. Then you’re told it’s not the meat, it’s the knife. Meaning, the knife is upside down. You’ve been painstakingly trying to cut something with the serrated edges up instead of down. My Dad, sadly, suffers from this anomaly. But, on the bright side, think how many calories he burns in the effort. 

Two-left shoes. We’ve all heard the expression ‘two left feet’ when referring to someone (hopefully not you) who couldn’t dance. But what about someone who can’t see or feel the difference when putting his shoes on the wrong feet… It seems like they’d notice that right away, doesn’t it? Only, my Dad keeps walking up to me with his shoes on the wrong feet and asking me if they’re right. It would be beyond cruel to not correct him or, worse, to wait and see if he eventually noticed (I’m no prankster but I know there are people who find great joy in tying someone’s shoe laces together under the table in hopes that, once they get up, they’ll immediately trip).

It’s a far better idea to just laugh it off and tell him, “you must have two left shoes!” 

All For One

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My parents and I are getting quite proficient at living together. I wouldn’t say we’re at that ‘finishing-each-others-sentences’ stage but we are becoming rather skillful at saving both time and money.

Case in point… the three of us can go out to dinner for less than $20 and still manage to take home enough food for another meal. Here’s how:

Mom and I usually split one meal so we fill up on the salad bar and add what’s leftover to our take-home container. Then we split the entree in half – she eats like a bird, anyway, so I just fill up on the fries (or rice or baked potato) and that leaves about half the main course for home.

Dad eats pretty much everything in sight – and that includes a few helpings from the salad bar, too. But he’s definitely part of the equation because we use a ‘buy-one-get-one-half-off’ deal. So he plays an integral part in our musings.

Now here’s where the time saved comes in. Mom’s really starting to hate cooking so, with a good enough deal on the table, she’s more than willing to go out to eat for two reasons:

1. No cooking today
2. No cooking (just reheating) tomorrow.

That’s because, as I previously mentioned, Mom eats like a bird – a featherlight bird – and can get by with a yogurt or some PB crackers for dinner. Dad’s the one that’ll inevitably scarf down the take-home meal. So… Win. Win. One for all and all for one!

Get Up, Go

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(Unknown Author)

How do I know that my youth is all spent?
Well, my get up and go has got up and went.
But in spite of it all I am able to grin
When I think of the places my get up has been.

Old age is golden, so I’ve heard said
But sometimes I wonder, as I get into bed.
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup
And my eyes on the table until I wake up.

Ere sleep dims my eyes I say to myself
“Is there anything else I can put on the shelf?”
And I’m happy to say as I close the door
“My friends are the same, perhaps even more.”

When I was a young thing my slippers were red
I could kick my heels high as my head.
Then when I was older, my slippers were blue
But still I could walk the whole day through.

Now I’m still older, my slippers are black
I walk to the store and puff my way back.
The reason I know my youth is all spent
My get up and go has got up and went.

But really, I don’t mind when I think with a grin
Of all the grand places my get up has been.
Since I have retired from life’s competition
I busy myself with complete repetition.

I get up each morning and dust off my wits
Pick up the paper and read the ‘obits.’
If my name is missing I know I’m not dead
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed.