The Recliner

“It is better to give than lend, and it costs about the same.” – Phillip Gibbs

“We’re just waiting for you to get out of that chair.”

Those words were spoken to me last evening and caused me to laugh out loud.

Explanation.

The vast majority of us, as we age, slow down. We don’t admit it till we are forced. But alas, that day comes with inevitable certainty.

So I’m 76 and staring 77 in the eye. Ah yes baby, I am in the advanced aging process.

You should see me getting out of our 2012 Chevy Malibu. The procedure almost requires the Jaws of Life. Strength that I don’t have, agility, balance, time, space, and determination.

That is a rather long list of requirements just to exit a damn automobile. I should make a video of it and send it to AFV.

Anyway.

We have this thing where every night before I go to bed Gaby, Ann, and I engage in a group hug. Ends the day on a high note.

Last night, after a routine evening of TV, dinner, and general B.S., I ran out of gas and announced:

“Group Hug. Time for Daddy to call it a day.”

Several minutes into the extraction from my extremely comfortable recliner I notice the girls aren’t moving.

Hey ladies, I asked for a group hug.

Hey Dad, we’re just waiting for you to get out of that chair.

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.– Ernest Hemmingway

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Busted

“I mistrust total competence. I’ve always felt life is a series of small disasters we try to get through.” – Michael Palin

I awoke not feeling well. I’ve experienced these symptoms too often this year. Colds. Flu. Bronchitis. Pneumonia.

So I knew this was not going to be a good day. I should see a doctor.

But……I’m a guy. Sooooooooooooo. First I’ll try to lick this thing with aspirin.

Hmmmm. Temp 100. Not bad. Low grade fever. Pop a few pills and chill.

Several days later. No improvement. Bad cough complicating things.

2 a.m. – Fitful sleep. Very tired. Not doing well.

Suddenly I sense someone is whispering to me. Trying to wake me up.

It’s my wife. Bob. Wake up. I need to take your temp.

Somewhere in the periphery of my unconscious state, I sense the interruption. I stir but do not respond.

Cold steel on my forehead.

Again. Bob. Wake up. You’ve got a temp. You need to take some aspirin.

Ok. This is getting way too serious. I just want to lay here and sleep. Don’t have any energy.

I’ll just ignore her. She’ll go away. And leave me alone.

After several futile attempts to get me to sit up, she leaves.

Finally. I win. I enjoy a quiet chuckle. Yes.

At this point, I must point out that we have one of those adjustable beds.

Suddenly a noise. Immediately my head begins to rise.

Image result for funny pics adjustable bed

And there she is with a glass of water and two pills stuck in my face.

She had forced me to sit up. She wins.

In spite of myself, I laugh inside.

The moral of this story is: beware of French women with brunette hair.

They are clever, resourceful and determined.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.– Ernest Hemmingway

 

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Sherpa Guide

“It’s hard to be a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

6 P.M. St Francis.

Picked up a guy for a ride to the main entrance.

He was there to visit his 84-year-old mother.

She had fallen while getting out of bed and hurt her hip.

He said her bed is really high.

How high is it?

It is so high she needs a Sherpa guide to climb into it.

In spite of myself, I laughed.

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first– Mark Twain

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Jillian The Britt

“So many people are concerned with being the perfect something. I don’t want to be the perfect anything.” – Halsey

5 PM.

Late shift at St Francis. Main entrance. Rain. Fog. 47 degrees. Raw.

An elderly lady climbs in the shuttle.

Good evening.

Hi.

Where would you like to go?

To my car in P2.

We begin our journey.

I hear an accent. Mind if I ask where you’re from?

England originally.

Thought so. Never been there but I love much about England. Two of my favorite people in the world are English.

Really. Who might they be?

Winston Churchill and Sarah Brightman.

Yes. Winston was a great man. The world could use a man like that right now.

Yes he was and yes it could.

Who was the other person you mentioned?

Sarah Brightman. You know her?

No. Is she still alive?

Yes. She’s a vocalist. She was married to Andrew Lloyd Weber, one of the greatest composers who ever lived. In my humble opinion. He wrote Cats and Phantom of the Opera just to name a few.

He composed his musicals for her. Anyway, God blessed her with a beautiful voice and the ability to sing like no other.

She is my favorite of all time. She sings and I escape to a parallel world.

So how did you end up in Tulsa, OK?

It’s a long story.

I’m all ears.

Well….my father was an officer in the English Army and we’ve lived all over the world.

Cool. So have I. What countries have you lived in?

China. Germany. India. My earliest memory is of Singapore.

Wow. Singapore.

I was very young but I do remember we got on the last ship out as WWII began.

After America entered the war, I remember, as a little girl, we would watch the American G.I.s as they walked by. We would ask them for chocolate and they always had some to give us kids. One time I ran into our house and told my parents I was going to marry an American.

When I was eighteen I fell in love with an American Sergeant. When my Dad learned that we planned to marry my very proper English Officer Dad was horrified. But he’s only a Sergeant. And an American at that. You can’t.

But I could and I did. We honeymooned in Paris. How neat is that!

We migrated to Arkansas and eventually Tulsa.

Do you ever go back to visit?

Several times but I’m always glad to come back to America. I love this country.

So do I.

“I love to laugh. It’s the only way to live and enjoy each day.” – Doris Day

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People and Their Toys

“Be nice to jerks because we still don’t know the criteria for getting into heaven” – Maya Rudolph

I got a call from the main entrance to take a lady to her car.

Arrived at the entrance and an elderly lady with a big smile got in the shuttle.

Along the way, we made small talk. She was engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed the repartee.

The garage holds 800 automobiles. As we approached it I asked her the make and color of her car.

Silver Mercedes sedan she replied. It’s parked in the fourth row against the back wall.

I navigated the twists and turns and shortly arrived at a beautiful, silver, sparkling new Mercedes sedan.Image result for pics of 2019 mercedes benz

Wow. I love Mercedes cars and I’m sure I began to turn green with envy.

That is a beautiful car. How do you like it?

It’s OK.

Just OK I asked dumbfounded. Just OK? Are you kidding me?

It gets me around but I liked my BMW better. I should have bought another one.

And then there was Cindy from Arkansas. What a hoot she was.

As I was taking her to her car, she regaled me with tales of cruising the hills of Oklahoma in her Lexus hard top convertible.

 

Image result for lexus hardtop convertible 2018

I only have to push one button to lower the top. Then I crank up my Country music and hit the road.

Hope I run into her again. She was fun.

Oh yes……her husband was in the hospital recovering from a motorcycle accident.

I wonder….would these ladies be interested in tales of cruising Tulsa in my Chevy Malibu?

“If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” – Lao Tzo

 

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Call Security

“Sometimes you just need a break, in a beautiful place, alone, to figure everything out.”

I got a call to pick up this guy at the Emergency Center. This is a take them to their car 99% of the time.

This rough-looking man crawls into the shuttle. Looks to be in his late sixties or early seventies.

Where do you want to go my friend?

To the Children’s Hospital.

Whoops. OK. Because the Hospital is so huge, often people park in the wrong garage and end up leaving themselves a very long walk to their destination. In these situations it is best to have them follow me to the parking garage close to where they need to go.

So I ask him where he parked.

I didn’t. I don’t have a car. I walked to the hospital.

I ponder that for a minute.

Mind if I ask how far?

Five miles.

Five miles. Why?

I had a heart attack.

I’m beginning to suspect a line of B.S. is flowing my way. No one in their right mind has a heart attack and walks five miles to a hospital.

How do you know you had a heart attack?

I’ve had five of them. I know a heart attack.

Wow. My mind is racing. This guy had a heart attack and walked five miles to the Emergency Center. Now he wants to go to the Children’s Hospital.

Shouldn’t you be back at the Emergency Center? Why do you want to go to the Children’s Hospital?

I got tired of waiting. Besides, I want to see my grandson before he dies.

At this point I start to doubt my hearing. Did I just hear what I heard?

What? Wait a minute. How old is your Grandson?

Four years old.

Oh man. How to react to that. He seems so sincere. Either this guy is the world’s biggest B.S. artist or one of its most unfortunate souls.

I kind of meekly ask…what is he dying of?

Something to do with his stomach.

We arrive at the Children’s Hospital. As he disappears through the doors I don’t know whether to feel sadness or call Security.

As I continue to prowl the hospital grounds, in a garage near the main entry, five cops have a man in handcuffs.

Is this a hospital or a circus? Hey God……are you pranking me?

 

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson

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Hospital Food and Strange People

“Everybody’s a teacher if you listen.” – Doris Roberts

The following is true. It really happened.

Often, while driving the shuttle, I’ll park by the main entrance for a few minutes to offer anyone leaving a ride to their parked vehicle or other parts of the hospital.

Recently I chanced upon this lady. She appeared to be 70 ish, dressed to the nines, and in good health. We’ll call her Ruth. She emerged from the entrance with a big smile and holding a large plastic bag full of something.

Ma’am…do you need a ride today?

She gives me a big smile and says her car is just right there but thanks anyway as she walks away.

Suddenly she stops and comes back to my vehicle.

Have you ever tasted the Chicken N Dumplings and Carrot Cake they serve here?

No, I haven’t.

You should be arrested.

Laughing, I ask her why?

She sticks her head in my window…. She holds up the plastic bag and forcefully states, this is the best Chicken N Dumplings and Carrot Cake on the planet.

Taken aback I say I’ve always heard hospital food is horrible.

This is not hospital food. This is hospital Cafeteria food.

I pause. So you were not a patient or visiting one?

No. I drove 60 miles from Claremore to get this for my husband.

Where’s your husband?

He’s on the other side of town at St John’s hospital.

So you drove from Claremore just to get the Chicken N Dumplings and Carrot Cake here at St Francis hospital and now you’ll drive to St Johns, where your husband is a patient, just to deliver them to him.

Yes. And then I’m driving back to Claremore.

Wow. Your husband is a lucky man.

Yes, he is. And try the Chicken N Dumplings and Carrot Cake.

You are starting to scare me. I will surely try them. I promise.

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.– Ernest Hemmingway

 

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Between Jobs

“Age is something that doesn’t matter. Unless you are a cheese.”

 

Hello.

Morning Cliff. How are you doing?

Fine. You?

Concerned. Seems like friends and family are dying at an alarming rate.

I know what you mean. Have you noticed the trend?

Not sure what you mean. What trend?

At some point in life you look in the mirror and suddenly realize you are old. You look like your Dad.

Well………..yes. I suppose so.

Then you retire.

Then you die.

Ok.

Don’t you see it? The chain? Old…retire…die.

Ok. So what.

The secret to a long life is to break the chain.

How?

I’m now officially BETWEEN JOBS. Not retired. BETWEEN JOBS. That breaks the chain.

My brain hurts Cliff. Talk to you next week.

 

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

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First Rock N Roll music

“If I’m not working on something, I literally just sit and think, which I don’t think is productive.” – Adam Driver

During a conversation with my wife and daughter, the subject of the first Rock N Roll song came up.

What was it?

It was probably some obscure Black gospel type thing. Gaby recalls the first Rock n Roll song she remembers hearing was Rock Around the Clock.

I clearly remember the first time I heard Rock N Roll. It was 1956. I was 13. My brother and I were searching the air waves in rural South Carolina just out of curiosity. Just passing time.

Suddenly, a sound we’d never heard before. Did not know it then, but it proved to be the first Rock N Roll music we ever heard.

Our reaction was immediate. WOW. That was different. What is this?

Most of my generation were there at the beginning. Do you remember?

”Songs are a funny thing. I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history.” – Pete Seeger

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A Father’s Love

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”

Sitting on a park bench, enjoying the warmth of the noonday sun.

Shortly, a man and his young son sat on a bench close by.

The rhythm of their conversation was soothing and, while the words were lost in the wind, it was obvious they were discussing pleasant things. The scene and tones further soothed my soul.

And in a while, with tears in his eyes, the man lovingly hugged and kissed his young son.

I tried to turn away, not wanting to intrude on this private moment. I could not.

The son asked, “Daddy why are you crying”?

Son, there will come a time when you will not want me to kiss and hug you. I want you to have these good moments to remember. Someday you’ll remember this and know in your heart that your father loved you. This is the greatest gift I can give to you.

With a heavy heart, I turned away.

 “Music……it’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.” – Tom Petty

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