Thursday, November 27, 2008

WISE OLD MEN AND OWLS: Encouragement from old friends

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day of thanksgiving and I have many things for which to be thankful. Two that come to mind this morning are emails from two high school classmates of the Class of '48. Both were messages of encouragement which is just what I need as I struggle getting physically fit to ride my trike cross country in two months.

The first in the form of a cartoon came from a friend in California. Maude only lived one year in my hometown and I'm sure it was an arrangement made in heaven. No, it was not a romantic memory. It was far more important than a teenage fling. The Class of '48 was blessed with an 80 year old, as I remember, English teacher. Miss Mary McCullough who came from a family of early settlers in what was then Virginia. She had never married and she was an excellent teacher. Sadly, I was not her best student. But, I had a friend, Maude, who was an excellent student. Maude supplied me with my book reports in senior english.

As we reminisced last summer at our 60th high school reunion, Maude recalled the time she got a 'B' on a her report on Florence Nightingale, the Angel of the Crimea which I recopied and was awarded an 'A plus'. I am sure Miss Mary was very kind to me, as were all my teachers, but I suspect it had more to do with giving the oral report. Coming from a long line of Irish story tellers, who never let the truth get in the way of a good story, I may have "enhanced" the story a bit more than Maude.

Maude is still carrying me on her shoulders! She sent me an email with a report on O W L S! For all we poor students, O W L S stands for OLDER WISER LAUGHING SOULS. Good report, Maude. On Miss Mary's account I belatedly award you an A plus. Thanks! Maude lives within driving distance of my cross country trike departure point and will come to San Diego, along with her daughter Barbie and son-in-law Gary, to join others in giving me a proper send-off.

One of the truly lovely persons, in all ways, in the Class of '48 was Dottie Thomas, now Dottie Campbell. She is still a small and lovely person with a kind personality. She sent me two emails on Thanksgiving. My favorite said: I can choose. I can spend my day in bed enumerating all the difficulities that I have with all the parts of my body that no longer work well, or I can get up and give thanks to heaven for those parts that are still working.

How apropos! Striving to condition myself for my upcoming physical endeavor I am handicapped with a low back muscle strain. It is so simple to stay in bed, take a vicoden and feel sorry for myself. But, it is also as simple as "No Pain No Gain". Dottie's email reminds me that the choice is mine. I choose to give thanks to heaven and work at the problem!

Further, Dottie shared Five Simple Guide Lines for Happiness: 1) Free your mind from hate. 2) Free your mind from worry. 3) Live Simple. 4) Give more. 5) Expect less.

Phillippians 3:14 "I Press on towards the goal to win the prize............"

God Bless!

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