Thursday, December 22, 2011

On turning 69

All Big-Un wants for Xmas is a belly rub.
(click for larger view)
Have I told you the story about Daddy and his roosters?

Lots of men are hard to buy gifts for and he was surely one of the hardest. One year, Mom used up about 85 books of Green Stamps and got him a big table lamp with a gigantic rooster as the base. Daddy laughed and said it was a great gift. Because of this pleasing reception, Mom started buying him roosters for every occasion. He got ceramic ones, glass ones, rooster salt and pepper shakers, vases, curtains and paintings. The rest of the family was thrilled as well. At long last the challenge of finding a gift for Daddy was solved. More roosters poured in. Over the years, he amassed a pretty impressive collection.

When he was in his final days of terminal lung cancer and mostly confined to his bed, Mom brought in the rooster lamp and set it up on his dresser to make the place look less like a sick room. Daddy stared at it while then said, “I always hated those damn roosters.”

I try not to collect things, with the exception of aphorisms and quotes. They don’t take up a lot of room, they make me laugh, or give me pause or reinforce a bias (good ones do all three). And like windfall fruit, they are everywhere, so it’s a cheap hobby to maintain.

Here’s a quote that set me off this morning as I considered my impending 69th birthday: “How we approach life is going to determine how we all manage aging, whether we have debilitating conditions or not.”*

Chipper, cheery people will tweet through their golden years thinking they actually are “golden years.” Complainers will complain (and get worse and more vocal as the going gets tougher). Tough minded folks will never admit, not even to themselves, the mental and physical deterioration that accompanies advancing years (80-year old marathoners). Control freaks will suffer a lot -- there being so many things about aging that cannot be controlled. I suspect there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other approaches: lusts of every sort, the careless, the caring, type A and B personalities, folks who trust in the hand of God and those who tilt against the tide.

What major personal characteristic of yours is taking you through life?

I’ve long identified with Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh fame. Here’s a passage from The House at Pooh Corner that, I think, rather captures the essence of Eeyore.

(Background: Eeyore is spotted eddying about in the river that runs on the edge of the Forest where Pooh, et al, live. Seems Eeyore was “surprised” by the ever-effervescent Tigger who managed to accidentally “bounce” him into the water…

            “That’s what I call bouncing,” said Eeyore. “Taking people by surprise. Very unpleasant habit. I don’t mind Tigger being in the Forest… because it’s a large Forest, and there’s plenty of room to bounce in it. But I don’t see why he should come into my little corner, and bounce there. It isn’t as if there was anything very wonderful about my little corner. Of course for people who like cold, wet, ugly bits it is rather special, but otherwise it’s just a corner, and if anybody feels bouncy-------“
            “I didn’t bounce, I coughed,” said Tigger crossly.
            “Bouncy or coffy, it’s all at the same at the bottom of the river.”

E-you in ‘12.
Aunt Rose

PS--Most of you know I am not a Xmas person (being born two days after and all) but to show you I do have some holiday spirit, here’s a gift – a sweet and amazing YouTube video that will change the way you think about …..Well, I’m not going to tell you what it is about or you might not look. (Special thanks to Jamie for sending it along.)

*The quote is by Katie Doucette from an article about former Today cohost Meredith Vieira and her husband, Richard Cohen, who suffers from MS. AARP Magazine, 12/11-01/12 issue.


  1. Hey:
    Love the new look and brighter style. Happy Birthday. A card is on the way; probably late as usual these days, but with good intensions. Sorry. No roosters or other collectibles included.

  2. Happy B-day! and I agree with Jean, good look!
    Love Winnie the Pooh! I am a follower of Pooh, I have Pooh's books: "Winnie the Pooh on Problem Solving", and "Pooh and the Philosophers"!

    I find Pooh a bit of a Taoist! -ha!
    Happy B-day!

  3. Hey, my aunt--
    Had to delete my email account and start over. Address book LOST. If you've sent anything recently, please try again. Am going through the box, slowly. The fierce lady is staring at my forehead as we speak... Love, A

    1. Just snail mail, telephone and the new post