Death and New Life: Mary Ann and Harper Grace

One magnolia fading after a full bloom, another magnolia opening to the day

One magnolia fading after a full bloom, another magnolia opening to the day

Yesterday at 3:30 a.m. a dear friend in Alabama passed away from complications following surgery. We were neighbors for several years and our children grew up together. We shared many meals and laughs, helped each other when needed and worshipped together. We’ve lived apart for maybe 18 years now, but we have stayed in touch. Her loss is deeply felt by my wife and me. Rest in Peace, Mary Ann.

Mary Ann leaves her husband, Keith, and three sons, all of whom are grown and married. She and Keith were married for well over forty years, and he now faces a loss that will reverberate through his life for years to come.

Then at 6:30 a.m. in Vermont, one of our nieces bore her third daughter, Harper Grace, and everyone is doing well. We probably won’t see Harper Grace until late fall or early winter. She joins her two sisters who are full of curiosity, hope and love, and her parents, Marc and Amy who are in middle life, devoted to work and family, and spending their own energy as if it were boundless. Welcome to our family and the world, Harper Grace. Continue reading

Retirement with a New TV


“Barbara, c’mon, hurry up, I’m starting Longmire,” I said, settling into my chair. It was about 3:10 p.m. and we recorded Longmire the previous evening.

“I’m coming, just wait a minute,” she said. 

Soon we were both settled in front of the TV watching an episode that we recorded the evening before. Walt Longmire is an older sheriff who struggles against evil in Wyoming’s backcountry.

We watch TV on our schedule now, and we fast-forward through the commercials. 

It’s great! Continue reading

When Dementia Strikes Home, We All Need Help

A review of, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias, 101 stories, eds. Amy Newmark and Angela Timashenka Geiger, (Cos Cob, CT: Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, April 2014).  Available online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and perhaps your local bookstore.

Photo by Matt, Chicken Soup for the Soul,

Photo by Matt, Chicken Soup for the Soul,

The editors of this fine book have compiled 101 useful stories of living with dementia. I wish it had been available years ago.

Mary Jane (MJ), my mother-in-law, suffered from dementia for many years. My wife, Barbara, and I aren’t sure when it started; but MJ had been growing less capable, more dependent, since the late 1950s. Continue reading

Adventure: Friends on the Loose in the Woods

Uli and Otto Saur

Uli and Otto Saur

Otto and Uli are visiting for a week. We hosted one of their sons as a high-school exchange student about thirty years ago, and we’ve been friends ever since. Years ago we hiked with them in the Alps, and now they wanted to hike in the Appalachians. The Appalachians have vast areas of unpopulated wilderness with poorly marked trails, and hikers who make a small mistake may walk for miles in a wrong direction.

Continue reading

Seniors and Social Media

All of us reaching toward 70 years, all of us use Facebook

All of us reaching toward 70 years, all of us use Facebook

By Glenn Gillen, Senior Account Manager, S & A Cherokee, Cary NC

Seniors are now the fastest-growing social media adopters in the United States. In 2013, 43 percent of Americans over 65 used at least one social networking site, compared with 26 percent in 2010 and one percent in 2008.

Here’s an overview of the most popular social media:  Continue reading

Family and Friends at the Pond

Drew, Alex, Devon

Drew, Alex, Devon

A pond occupies the center of our neighborhood, and a goose and two ducks live there. They have become, well, friends. In most places, geese hang with geese and ducks with ducks, so our pond, with an inter-species friendship going on, is a little more interesting.  Continue reading

Cruising to the Bahamas: Photo Gallery


This gallery contains 30 photos.

Yesterday I described a cruise to the Bahamas. Today you can view some photos that show the experience. When this blog post loads in your browser, click on the first photo and you will enter a gallery where you can … Continue reading

Cruising to the Bahamas




Barbara and I parked our car and took a shuttle to the Miami docks where the Norwegian Sky, a small cruise ship awaited us. We were anxious. This was our first cruise and first time to the Bahamas. We were facing security, and I just remembered I had a Swiss army knife in my pocket.

We got through security (they let me keep the knife), and we headed up the gangway to see our room and explore the ship. We had booked a two-day, three-night cruise with one day at the Great Stirrup Cay, a small island owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, and one day in Nassau. We sailed at night. Continue reading