Perhaps Love

Thirty-five years ago John Denver wrote a song dedicated to his wife Annie. They were separated at the time and headed for divorce.
As he prepared to record the song, someone decided it would be a good idea to pair a country singer with a Spanish tenor. So John Denver and Placido Domingo got together in a studio and recorded what I believe is one of the most beautiful love songs ever written.
Though it only had modest commercial success, rising to 59 on the billboard 100 and 22 on the on adult chart, it has sold over four million copies.

On this Sunday morning, following another difficult week in our world, I think we can all find time for a moment of love. What better way than through music.

When Did This Happen?

I turned 65 earlier this week.

Sixty-five.

Even when I write the number instead of entering digits the surreal feelings don’t change.

I remember when I turned 30, (just the other day), and I felt as if I wasn’t young anymore. My twenties were gone and thirty was the age of people I was told not to trust. At least that was the slogan in the mid sixties.
Turning forty never bothered me but fifty was very strange. I associated the age of fifty with my parents and aunts and uncles when I was younger. They were old. I wasn’t. This couldn’t be me.

Except it was.

Then the years just seem to add up. Sixty came and went and I accepted another decade, laughing at the absurdity of what I saw in the mirror. When did that happen? Where did that come from? Where did the hair get thinner? How does your body seem to change overnight? Really, overnight.
I always tried to stay active. I used to play basketball, baseball, softball, racquetball and tennis regularly along with an occasional bad game of golf. I still walk four miles most mornings, except when the cold weather kicks in. However, now when I play a game of basketball with my eighteen twenty-one year old nephews and sons-in-law, i find myself bent over more times than not searching for another breath of air as they make the usual jokes. Keeping up with my grandchildren is another challenge since seven and eight year old boys were born without a pause switch. Right now my  two five-year old and thirteen month old granddaughters are more in my league, though I’m guessing the art of negotiating some down time with them will end relatively soon.

The problem is my mind is not in sync with my body most of the time. My mind sees things that I should be able to do, my body reacts to the challenge and then speaks to me the next day in an angry tone reserved for the I told you so crowd. That’s okay. I can deal with the voices in my head as long as I can still maintain some semblance of competition. It’s better than having a sideline seat.

That’ll happen one day. Just not today.

But here’s the really strange thing for me about turning 65. I now carry a medicare card in my wallet.

That slapped me in the face more than turning 30 or 50, because now you have an identifying piece of paper that tells everyone you’re over a certain age. I can’t even sing “When I’m Sixty-four” with McCartney anymore.

Medicare.

That’s just crazy and I’m having trouble getting my arms around that one.

My mother-in-law is 90 and she has a medicare card. How can we be in the same category? When did that happen?

I associate medicare with older people. I know what you’re about to say. Don’t even go there.

My mind is usually stuck at twelve. I still love to play juvenile practical jokes.
I will go to a party and cut out and eat the middle of a cake before dessert is served and wait for the overreaction from my daughter when the cover is removed.
I teach or tell my grandson’s things my daughters wish I didn’t. Hey, it was their decision to leave me alone with them. Some people just don’t understand that who could burp the loudest at a meal is actually an athletic event.
I love limericks. The riskier the better.
Drawing with chalk on the driveway is so cool and walking in the rain, splashing in puddles, diving in piles of leaves and sitting on your front lawn waving to people in a bathing suit during a two foot blizzard snowstorm is what makes life fun.

And I have a medicare card?

In the words of Toby Keith…

“I ain’t as good as I once was
but I’m as good once as I ever was.”

I guess I can deal with that.

 

 

 

Elie Wiesel

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
Elie Wiesel, NIght

Elie Wiesel died yesterday at the age of 87.

I don’t remember how old I was when I first read the book, NIght, and these words about his first night in Auschwitz as a young boy. I only know that I have never read anything that has conveyed a moment in time as powerfully as this passage.

You don’t have to be of a certain faith or race to appreciate his life and words. You only have to be human.

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Elie Wiesel

Among Mr. Wiesel’s many awards are the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He helped establish the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and has campaigned for victims of oppression all over the world, including those in South Africa, Nicaragua and Sudan, among many others.

There may be times  we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Elie Wiesel

If you have never read the book, NIght, I encourage you to do so. It’s a very short book, but as we’ve learned, the most important lessons of life rarely require elaboration.

No human race is superior; no religious race is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.
Elie Wiesel

We should listen closely to his words today, because as much as the world has changed, nothing has really changed.

Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out, swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving; the child, too light, was still breathing…
And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes. And we were forced to look at him at close range. He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet extinguished.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking; For God’s sake, where is God? And from within me I heard a voice answer: Where is he? This is where–hanging from this gallows…

That night, the soup tasted of corpses.
Elie Wiesel, NIght

God rest his soul.

 

No Raw Cookie Dough?

So the FDA has announced that it’s no longer safe to eat raw cookie dough or batter. The FDA, that bastion of all things right. The organization that consistently allows things to come on the market and then pulls it after they find there may be a bit of a problem associated with it. These are the people  who are trying to mess with my ability to enjoy life. Because really, has anyone ever told you that it was safe to eat cookie dough? Of course not. We just did it anyway. We lived dangerously. We chose the wild side.

Unknown

It seems that it’s not just raw eggs that can cause you to get sick but flour can also harbor E. Coli. Okay, thanks for the heads up. FDA. I’ll take your warnings under advisement. By the way, when you found red coloring No. 3 caused cancer you banned it from cosmetics in 1990. Nice move. I’m just a little confused on why you allow it to remain in our foods. I’m sure there’s some logic you can provide for that along with other questionable decisions you’ve made in the past.

Apparently General Mills recalled all types of flour at the end of last year because of this contamination, however I can tell you without hesitation that since that time, cookie dough has passed my lips on several occasions with no problems.  The FDA claims that since December, 38 people in 20 states have become sick with diarrhea and stomach cramps that can last up to a week. That’s roughly five people a month. I don’t know about you, but I like my chances. It’s safer than getting in a car, that’s for sure. I wonder what would happen if I pushed the envelope and drove while eating cookie dough at the same time. Do you think it’s against the law? Do you think the FDA works with local law enforcement? Because if you cramp up while driving, well, that could create a messy situation.

images-1

Oh yeah, the FDA also suggested that we not give children cookie dough to play with. Come on, let’s get serious. Does the FDA  think we’re all savages without an ounce of common sense in our bodies? I mean, I love kids, but cookie dough should be revered and kept in a place of respect. We don’t play with cookie dough. We eat it. What was the FDA thinking?

images

So based on my findings, or should I say the FDA’s, the risk for getting sick because of this flour thing is very small. Heck, we all sometimes get a stomach virus without going near cookie dough or cake batter. If we do get it because of that, at least we derived an afternoon of enjoyment in the process. So I’ll take my chances.  Because anyone who has licked a cake batter bowl or enjoyed a taste of cookie dough understands that this is one of life’s great pleasures. But I know there are some of you out there who don’t condone this practice and I respect your opinion. Just do me one favor…

Please pass the cookie dough before you leave.

P.S. I wonder what’s going to happen to all that cookie dough ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Watermelon and Peach Caprese

We’re big fans of summer fruit so when my wife found this recipe we had to try it. It’s great for lunch or a light dinner and really simple to make. All you need is seedless watermelon, two large yellow peaches, a ball of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic glaze, kosher salt and fresh basil leafs.

IMG_3494

Slice the watermelon into wedges or circles, about a half-inch thick. Slice two peaches into rounds, and then thinly slice the mozzarella.
On a plate, arrange a slice of watermelon, peach, mozzarella and a basil leaf. Repeat to make a taller stack and add one more slice of watermelon on top. Drizzle the stack with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt and top it off with another piece of basil.
Prep time, 20 minutes. Makes four servings.

Enjoy!

 

 

Smile

With all that’s happened this past week, especially in Orlando, I have been singing this song to myself even though I haven’t heard it in years.

So with a little help from our friends in this video, let’s just try.

God Bless everyone who has lost someone.