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Three score and ten or more

Sunday, February 28, 2010

movies teeth and stuff

It has been awhile.  I have repeated my trip to The Dalles where we spent four or five hours scanning books of ancestral pictures and running to the copy business where we copies (very inexpensively I might note) two or three books of genealogical data.

I spent some time with the local dentist getting impressions and stuff of my mouth.  After all was done they called and said that they would be ready to pull my teeth and install my bridge on March 8.  I had already informed everyone that I was leaving Washington by air on March 9, so, according to plan I would board a plane with six newly missing teeth and a new upper plate.  I calmly told them (of course I am always calm and diplomatic) that such was unacceptable, that they could bill me or my insurance for all that had been done, and I would go home and start afresh with a new dentist, new lab, etc.  I was careful not to tell them what they could do with the molds etc.

The next morning they called to say that they had discussed the matter with the lab, and the teeth would be ready Monday the first, and if I were still willing they would pull the teeth and install the bridge at 10:00 A. M. Tuesday.  I accepted.  I really didn’t want to do it on Tuesday either because it is my son’s birthday and we were planning to celebrate it at Todai’s (a wonderful oriental restaurant where we often celebrate important events)  I had made such an issue of getting the thing done that I was embarrassed at the idea of another change.  I probably will satisfy myself by tanking up on creme brule (it is wonderful at Todai’s).

In the meantime I have gone to a couple of movies.  I don’t get to as many as I would like any more but the two I saw were excellent.  The first was with Denzel Washington who combined the roles of action adventurer and serious thinker in The Book of Eli.  I enjoyed the movie enormously.  It was not preachy, but it was an example of commitment that many people at this time would not understand at all.   His sense of purpose led to a very satisfactory and somewhat unexpected ending.

The second was Sherlock Holmes.   It was a really welcome change from the endlessly cerebral Holmes played by Basil Rathbone and”whoever now plays him on  BBC.  Of all the Basil Rathbone versions the only one that completely reflected the Holmes of the books was the one (title now forgotten) that showed the duel to the death between Holmes and Moriarty at R********** Falls.  I found that this one showed the Holmes of my reading in a much more satisfactory form.   I recommend both movies highly. 

I won’t have an opportunity for another movie.  I have spent much of my time watching the lessons for my grandson in ballroom dancing, and I got to seen him and his partner in one performance.  He is very good.  They won honors at a competition in Seattle and qualified for Nationals this summer, though it looks like they may not go.  For the next week I will be watching as the high school Robotics team (of which he is captain and his brother one of the crew) compete in their first competition of the year on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  I then pack up my sore mouth and head home. 

I have some  remarkable progeny.  The ballroom dancing robot operator is in a math science magnet (mostly AP)  program focussing on engineering and shopping for colleges.  In the meantime he has performed in Oliver, Music Man, Pirates of Penzance (sp) Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and a variety of other plays.  His brother and sisters were in all of these where the eleven year old sister played Oliver in a wonderful  Oliver .  In the meantime his parents (he is an engineer with a degree in Korean,  her degree is in geology and she is a choir directory and excellent theatre director and actress) were Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado.   I would like to think it is genetic because of Janet’s and my work in theatre, but it isn’t true in engineering where, in high school, I passed Advanced Algebra by promising my teacher that I would not attempt Solid Geometry, Trigonometry, or Calculus.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Even Coots Have Elders, and Visiting Them is a Hoot.

I spent Monday traveling to and fro from Vancouver to The Dalles in Oregon, where we went to visit with Janet’s eighty eight year old Uncle Ken and eighty year old Aunt Vera.  Janet has been working on her Uncle for a couple of years to tell his life’s story (into a tape machine from which Janet will extract a life story.  She already did this for Ken’s younger brother, just finishing it before he passed away.)

Now, I am a self acknowledged Ole Coot (or Geezer, depending on my mood) and I worry a lot about not being able to remember much, especially about recent events, names (even of close friends), and I have even managed on one occasion to get lost on familiar streets.   Visiting with Ken (who remembers all kinds of stuff) gives me some hope that if I reach that age I too will be something more than a vegetable.

Ken spent much of his life building dams up and down the Snake and Columbia Rivers.  His children range from big league ball players to teachers of children with special needs and they keep track of him (or he them) pretty well.  His dear wife Vera spends much of her time in an electric scooter, and is a pistol.  Before I ever met Ken and Vera I had heard about them from my bride to be.  She said that one of her most vivid memories was Ken, returning from the war with his new bride who was (to a Shoshone, Idaho pre-teen) the epitome of glamour and fashion, with really beautiful well cut clothing (that showed her knees), stylish hair and high heeled shoes almost all the time. 

Ken was (and is) a really interesting man.   In WWII he was deferred from the draft because he was considered a very valuable employee of Boeing.  They told him he was deferred, so he got on his motorcycle, crossed the state line and enlisted.  After he had been in the military a couple of years they came and got him, informed him that he was no longer in the military and sent him back to Boeing where he worked on the first B29 aircraft.

Vera is a passionate genealogist, one of whose greatest frustrations is that she followed her family line into the Germany of a century or so ago and she never had the German Language to translate the records she traced down.  The two of them possess a great store of pictures, stories, and documents that are important in my wife’s family line, so we are going back in a week or so with scanner in hand to copy much of this stuff.

We are having to postpone the immediate urge to do this because I am engaged in another geezer operation.   I am going to have my upper teeth removed (I only have six left—all of them that show) and get an upper plate.  I look forward to this with all the enthusiasm of a worn out cow being led to the hamburger factory.   Just one more dang thing to forget.  I will probably spend as much time hunting my teeth in the future as  I now spend hunting my keys.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Obviously I am not talking about money or my blog would never have gaps in it, but payoffs can be big in other ways. Day before yesterday someone called my home in Georgia and left a number where he could be reached. My oldest son, who is chaperoning our home in Georgia while we loll about iin Washington immediately gave me a call and gave me the number.

I was riding around with my wife and daughter in law, on our way to Costco in Oregon (and a couple of Good Wills along the way) to get a line on some cheap stuff. The name associated with the number was Don, who was the close friend in Idaho in 1951 or 52 whose Ford I was driving when I learned to quit smoking a second and final time (back in the archives, I know not where). He was one of the closest friends I have ever had, though we lost contact when, after graduation, he went into the navy and I went to college.

I have googled his name, and otherwise tried to find him on and off the internet with no success at all. I had decided that I was unlikely to ever make contact because we are both over 75 years old and a lot of my other friends from that period have left this life for another. When I got the number, I called it immediately and locked on to one of the longest ‘bull sessions” of my life. The wife and daughter in law kept finding interesting place to go, but I was locked on the cell phone and statyed there interminably (in their opinion). A discovery like this can only be appreciated by a couple of coots. Somehow the friends of one’s youth are among the best friends ever, but often they are locked away by failing memories or failure to renew contact when the vigor of youth has expired. Their absence leave a hole which is like an ichy sore which is scratched but never appeased.

It turned out that “Don” had not been looking for me. Like me, he had given up, but he was trying to complete a journal of his 76 years, and was looking for pictures. He googled the name Sorenson which was the name of one of his relatives for which he and I had worked in the summer and fall of 1951. I had blogged (several years ago) about the time, while working for Sorenson, had backed a dump truck too close to they side of a basement we were digging, and the side had begun to cave in, so they got the shovel of a payloader under the side of the truck to keep it out of the hole, and the whole crew lost a day of work getting past my screw up. In looking for something about Sorenson Construction he had come upon my blog post (About which he muttered that I didn’t maintain my blog very well—a just critique) and from my blog, he found me.

I will have to say honestly that if no one else had ever looked at my blog, this renewal of acquaintance was worth all the effort I have ever put in it. (Even if it means that I shall now have to be much more thoughtful of the accuracy of any posts that include him. I do tend, occasionally to let my imagination fill in when my memory gets sloppy.)

It is a happy day, and now I have got to figure out a way to get together and introduce our wives (obviously wise women, both) to each other.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Well, it’s something.

It has been almost three weeks since we flew to Washington State to see our family there.  I thought that I had been clever in our scheduling to take an early morning flight out of Jacksonville to Portland  and a red-eye flight out of Portland to return home, because these two flights totalled about seven hours each in actual flying time.  I had failed to consider (I am good at that) the three hour drive to Jacksonville and the couple of hours lag time for security, so when we arrived in Portland about noon, Janet was in her customary state of agony.  I think any more trips west will be by car, driving about four hours a day and loafing in motel pools or watching TV in bed in the interim.  I am not sure how many weeks the 2000 mile trip will take, but Janet’s surgery ridden legs and back cannot cope with airplane seating.  (Maybe I will win the Publisher’s Clearing House Jackpot and be able to try First Class, but I won’t hold my breath.)

For the entire time, until yesterday my computer has slowed to about the speed of a one legged marathoner running backward in deep mud.  I did borrow my wife’s laptop to read some blogs and make a comment or two, but largely, my life, when not out visiting old friends, watching my grandson rehearse for ballroom dance competition, watching both grandsons working on the robot which they will enter (with many of their friends) in regional and national (they hope) robotics competition.  I did get to see my daughter in law in a quite wonderful performance of the play THE COMPLETE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE  -REVISED AND CONDENSED-   (or something like that)  It was a well performed hoot.  Most of the rest of the time was profanely talking to my computer.  I used spybot, and everything else I could think of.  Finally I just dug through the registry  and discovered that somewhere along the line I had downloaded (probably linked to something I wanted) Google Chrome, and a selection of other Google tiltled applications.  I love Google, but had never been aware of all this other stuff, so I uninstalled most of the things labeled Google.  I don’t know what, in my computer, really hated all the Google stuff, but now that it is gone the gizmo is almost back to normal.  There are still some applications in there that are fighting each other, but it seems to be minor now.

I had the very pleasant opportunity to judge the SW Washington Regional Finals for  Poetry Out Loud.   In my professional life I have judged play competitios, as well as other perfomance competitions but it was  a real pleasure to watch a well prepared group of ten or twelve talented young people  present rather difficult but excellent poetry from memory.  I was enriched as were they.

We’ll see what other wonderful things are happening here before we return home in mid march.