"To be too certain of anything is the beginning of bigotry." -- Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

Sunday, May 5, 2024

What Happened to Tom?

     I haven't posted for a long time. But I'm inspired by Confessions of a Grandma. Like me, she hasn't been blogging lately. But recently she brought us up-to-date on her life and times. Spoiler alert: She seems very active and happy in Florida.

     As for me, I've been doing the things that retired people normally do. 

     This past winter my wife and I spent several weeks in South Carolina visiting family -- well, mostly for the grandchildren. We played games, read books to the kids, went to the playground. We attended a 5th birthday party. Now we're heading to Wisconsin at the end of May to see other grandchildren. Yes, we are old. But we're not stupid. South Carolina in February. Wisconsin in June.

     Like everyone else, we're spending more time at the doctor's office these days. Don't ya' love those colonoscopies!?! I just got a shot of Cortisone in my knees. The orthopedic surgeon wants to replace my left knee. He says it's easy. In and out the same day. I'm walking the next day. But I know there's some heavy physical therapy that goes along with a knee replacement, and I also know one or two people who have had complications. So I'm not rushing into anything. Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment. Oh, cheers!

     The golf season has started up where I live. I've played three times so far. And I'm glad to report that I've gotten better each time. Of course, now I play from the senior tees, which makes it easier, but still . . . it's satisfying to know I can still improve at this age. I also know that golf is a diabolical game, so I can get worse at any moment, with the single swing of a club.

     I used to play Ping Pong (properly known as table tennis). Then I switched over to Pickleball. But recently I've gone back to Ping Pong. It's easier on the knees. We have a club that plays every Monday night.

     I continue volunteering at our local senior learning center. I taught a course on the history of the 1960s. I found it, well, simply amazing to relive those historic times of Kennedy and Nixon, Johnson and Humphrey, King and all the sometimes-misguided but always courageous people who protested about civil rights, student rights, the Vietnam war, and other deeply felt issues.

     My wife and I also do a course on current foreign policy. And I'm taking an oceanography course which is kind of fun, but sometimes scientifically over my head (so to speak).

     I'm in a book group. This spring we've read: The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann. It's a harrowing true story of an 18th century shipwreck off the coast of South America. I highly recommend.

     The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard. Another true story. Roosevelt, after he lost his comeback bid for the presidency, traverses an unknown tributary to the Amazon. Candice Millard has written several historical narratives, and they are all good.

     Chenneville by Paulette Jiles, a novel about a Civil War veteran tracking down a murderer in Texas. It didn't do that much for me.

     And North Woods by Daniel Mason, a novel about a house in New England. The book gets great reviews. But I found it uneven -- some of the stories are interesting, others not so much.

     I've read some other books I could recommend. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is kind of weird, but fun. The Hunter is the latest Tana French novel, and I am definitely a Tana French fan. And I'm now deep into An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960s by Doris Kearns Goodwin who is not only a great historian but an engaging writer as well.

     We've also watched our share of Netflix and Amazon prime. But I won't get into any specific recommendations. It's relaxing to sit down and watch something at the end of the day, but there was nothing spectacular. After all, it's just TV.

     Anyhow, that's what I've been up to lately. I hope everyone is healthy, and engaged with family and friends, and doing something interesting every once in a while.