"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.


Anvilcloud said...

You're keeping active. Once upon a time I played ping pong at school (teaching) lot. I ran the kids club for a year and also joined the town club for a year. Then I got transferred to another school and never played much again. I'd love to play again, but rotator cuff injuries won't let me.

ApacheDug said...

Wow-- Tom I figured you were keeping busy, but I had no idea! This all sounded like good stuff, well except for the knee replacement. I actually know several people who have gotten one and it was not easy for any of them. I'll be very curious to hear what happens there. It's really good to hear from you Tom, and that first book The Wager sounds like a must read! I'm going to look that up at my library.

Miss Merry said...

I wasn't sure anyone was more busy than me in retirement, but I think you win! I just started taking a six week American History class taught to interested bi-partisan group of seniors who don't remember what they were taught in school, LOL. The professor is using her slides from an AP High School history class she also teaches and we just finished Section 3 of the Constitution. And interesting point she made last week was that we should remember when this was written, a man's honor was everything. So much is not spelled out in the constitution because the expectation was that elected officials would just naturally act in the best interests of the country in the most honest way possible.

Rian said...

Welcome Back Tom!

Ed said...

I've read both the non-fiction books listed above. David Grann is one of my favorite authors and when I learn he is writing a new book, I just preorder it on Amazon. All of his books are outstanding.

DJan said...

It is nice to hear from you again, and to find that you have been very busy indeed. I now only read books on my kindle app, using the "low vision" setting, since my eyes have continued to deteriorate with macular degeneration. Yes, aging is quite a challenge.

gigi-hawaii said...

Nice to see you again in Blogsville, Tom. You've been busy! Good for you. No signs of dementia, huh?

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hey Tom! Thanks for the update! Glad to hear that you and your BFF are staying active and healthy. And I thought I was busy these days! Whew! You definitely know how to keep moving and keep your brain active and alert. But don't put off that knee for too long. Thom's father had knee issues but never did get the surgery and in the end it contributed to his decline. Besides, I do believe that getting it while we are younger (and you're the youngest you'll be today than any day forward!) is better for healing. And I KNOW you plan to be around a while. Have a good rest of your summer and let us know when you post another update! ~Kathy

Tom said...

Ha ha. I don't feel all that busy since, when you think about it, aside from chasing grandchildren and the doctor appointments and a few sporting activities, most of the time I'm sitting around reading books, going on zoom and watching TV. Dementia? I said I read the books; I never said I remember what they're about!

Quality Second Innings said...

It's nice to know that you kept yourself active at this old age. Your activities inspired me to keep myself active at the old age. I wish for your good health. Please continue blogging. I am waiting for another post in your blog.

Linda Myers said...

I love that you're busy! Re your knee, I had mine replaced just about a year ago. It takes a while to get back almost to where you were, but there's no pain. There are mood swings - or there were for me - as I expected myself to recover like a 30 year old. I recommend it if the knee is affecting your quality of life.

Barbara said...

I was never any good at Ping Pong but I always loved it. A great spectator sport when the family gathers around. I provide plenty of laughs. I haven't been blogging much either. Just can't get any good ideas.

Laurie Stone said...

Good to hear from you, Tom!

Kay said...

Wow! You've really been busy.
Honolulu Aunty recommended The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix. We'll have to catch it once our lives settles down a bit.
Welcome back to blogging.