Thursday, February 28, 2013

Turning Down the Sun

  While filling out a survey, I was forced to check the box for my age.  I knew that I fell in to the 45 - 50 age group, but suddenly I could not remember if I was 46 or 48. I realized this was ridiculous as everyone knows their age, but for the life of me, I could not remember mine. I began doing the math and employed the use of counting on fingers and using a little chisanbop (you're my age if you know what that is) and quickly concluded that I was indeed 48.  I aged two years in two minutes.  It's simply not right.

  I don't know if it is the fact that I'm in the 45 - 50 box or if I'm just distracted, but I find myself doing odd things without realizing it.  Last week, while driving into a blinding sun, my children watched with great concern as I repeatedly tried to turn down the sun with the volume knob on my car radio.   Needless to say, I was unsuccessful, but I did discover that punching all the buttons on the radio was a useful coping mechanism and calmed me until the sun was out of my eyes.

  I'm keenly aware that I may not actually be keenly aware and I believe there may be some kind of twisted irony in that.  My children are taking notes and remind me on a regular basis when I do strange things that simply don't make sense.  I remind them that one day I plan to be old and crazy and any inheritance will go to the one child that best takes care of me.  It's an idle threat, but seems to work for now.  Until that time arrives, I'll continue to do strange things for no explainable reason.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Bus is Leaving Soon

  While you cannot see it in this photo, this little boy is a magician, an entrepreneur, a child of God, a wizard, time traveler, globe trotter, hacker, Apple genius, cinematographer, singer, artist, stockbroker, friend, son, brother and more.  From the day this picture was taken, I have placed one photo a year in a school bus photo frame that has only one seat left.  I have the senior picture that goes in that last slot and I simply cannot place it on that bus.  That would  mean that he has grown up well and is ready to head out on his own.  He may be ready, but I am not.

   They say hindsight is twenty twenty and when I started filling the seats in his bus, I should have started a similar frame and put a picture of me in it each year.  The first year would have a young mom with a full head of hair taking her son to school for the first time.   As the years passed, my hair would be thinner, my hips a bit wider, my smile even larger and my memories even greater. The last picture can be one of me racing to the boarding gate at the airport to catch a plane to go visit my boy at college, my smile still wide.  Now that the bus is full, I know that it has been a fantastic ride.


My daughter has a similar bus and she still has five years or five seats worth of pictures before she drives off to college.   I imagine my hair will continue to fall onto the bus floor and while I enter an age of cholesterol awareness and walking for health, my hips are a little smaller.  The memories are just as great and I fear the day that both vehicles have left the garage. 

I'm toying with the idea of putting up another bus photo frame and filling it with pictures of each visit I make to see my children at college.  I realize that I may need more than the standard 12 seats, and may need to start planning for a fleet of vehicles.  My greatest joy would be leaving this world one day with a wall full of buses and every seat filled.  My neighbors would certainly think me crazy, but that's probably already crossed their minds before now.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Mink That Made Its Way Home


    When I was five years old, my grandmother would care for me before school each day.  She would turn the stereo console on and play big band music from the 40's.  I remember dressing up in her mink stole as we danced around the living room spinning and twirling to the classics.  She told me that one day the mink would be mine and I hoped that I would be as beautiful as she was wrapped in luxurious mink.

    Time, of course, came and went and my grandmother passed away many years ago.  I have often wondered what happened to her mink stole and wished that I could wear it just one more time.  Little did I know, my grandmother had given the stole to her daughter and sometime during the early 80's when fur was not fashionable and we were wearing hideous things like leather pants and spandex, my aunt tossed the mink into the Goodwill bin near her home. She did not know that anyone actually wanted the mink and donated it to charity.  She told me she remembers looking in the rear view mirror of her station wagon as she pulled away from the collection bin and saw a man climbing in to retrieve what treasures he could. And that was the last we saw of the mink.... or so we thought.

   Move the clock forward thirty years.  I am now 48 and find myself thinking more and more about the wonderful memories of my youth.  The same week I told my family about dancing in my grandmother's mink as a child, my aunt went shopping in downtown Indianapolis.  She entered an antique store and there, on a mannequin, was an age old mink needing to go home.  My aunt stopped in her tracks and told her friend, "That's my mother's mink!"  One would never believe this as there are certainly plenty of mink stoles in this world, and how would one ever really know if that was theirs from so many years ago.  But... she turned to her friend, knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was her mother's stole and placed on the table the one card that would clearly determine if this was indeed her mother's lost stole.  Her initials would be stitched inside the wrap.  As they lifted the mink from the mannequin, there in script embroidery were the letters T M P for Thelma Mae Pietrobon, my grandmother.
    After thirty years and a seventy five dollar purchase, the mink was back in the family and shipped directly to my door where I found a mystery box with my childhood memories tucked inside.  I carefully removed the wrap from the box and placed it around my shoulders once again.  Somewhere high above, I know that my grandmother has to be smiling down on me as she sits in Heaven spinning old tunes of Benny Goodman playing "How High the Moon."   The mink's return is proof that some things are just meant to be. 


Early Retirement and the Great Resignation

        At the age of 57, I stared at my 35 year career, whispered a polite thank you to the heavens and hit the send button on my retiremen...