Lovin’ the Library ©

A couple months ago one of our dinner guests recommended a book he had read a few years ago: American Caesar, the biography of General Douglas McArthur by William Manchester. I tucked it away in my mind for a “Rainy day” as they say.

Well, we’ve certainly had our share of rainy days lately so a couple weeks ago I decided to act on Charlie’s recommendation and went to the library for the book. I was a in a hurry for some reason or another and because of that I asked the librarian for assistance in finding the book; bingo she went right to it and I was out of the library and on my way within minutes.

Now here’s a true confession that I’m so embarrassed to make but I will anyway: I cannot remember reading any unassigned book all through high school and even through college for that matter. There must have been some, but I sure don’t remember them. Lots of engineering books though! Well, now that I’ve got that off my conscience I feel better.

But now things are different. Being retired without the pressures of corporate life, the time consuming chores of raising a family, and without a cable TV subscription, it’s the perfect time to indulge in reading for pleasure. And the library is the perfect place to make it happen……and for FREE, can you imagine that in this day and age. What could be better for a senior’s budget?

Why McArthur?

  • Having been born in 1943 I was too young for WW II and Korea
  • Deferred from Vietnam while working for a defense contractor
  • Woefully ignorant of the price we paid in the Philippines for our freedom there
  • Intrigued by stories of the colorful but controversial General.

And now that I’m a third of the way through the book (It’s a slow, engaging read of 700+pages), he sure was colorful and controversial. One of the things I never knew about was how close he was to his mother throughout his entire career; he moved her to the Philippines with him. And what an incredible role she played in his career: she even moved to West Point when he was a student there and later when he was the superintendent in charge of the academy!

There is so much to learn, especially by reading biographies of great men and women. One of the common threads about great leaders seems to be their idiosyncratic habits; my thoughts go to Churchill here, another of William Manchester’s biographies (The Last Lion).

So I’m wondering, are there any other late blooming readers out there who are just waiting to discover the joys of reading in these sunset years? I sure hope so. Why not get yourself a library card and check out some great books before these wintry, rainy days are over? I’m sure you’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors….see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

Hands on Helpers ©

One of the fondest memories I have as a child is helping my grandfather, “Milby the Plumber”. Oh, what I would do today if I only had that proud sign of his that hung in his back yard. He was a self-employed master plumber way back in the days before PVC pipe. He took the greatest pride in his beautifully “Sweated” (soldered) copper joints. And before that, he even taught me how to cut threads on black iron and galvanized pipe. I learned so much just watching him and handing him his tools.  And although none of us is supposed to have favorites, I believe I became his favorite grandson, but please don’t tell anyone I said that!

I was laying awake in bed about 4:30 Monday wondering about two things: what should I write for the AAS column this morning and what should I do to keep my two grandsons occupied today until my wife returns to take up her regular “Nanny Duties”. All of a sudden it hit me how to combine these by involving my grandsons in a project my wife has on her “Honey-do” list; I’ll have them help me build a table.

We recently renovated a guest house kitchen and used butcher block for the counter tops; they turned out beautifully. Now we need a kitchen table. After my wife scoured through her large trove of magazines and we kicked around lots of ideas, we settled on me building a 30″ round table using butcher block for the table top to match the counter tops. Should be relatively simple, fun and certainly unique. 

So that’s what Luke and Josh, 8 and 4 years old respectively, are going to help me do today. Of course, they don’t even know it yet…..they’re still sound asleep in our bed (It’s still only 5:30). Yep, all three of us were there until I got up and cranked up the computer to put this idea on paper.

So, in just a little while, after I feed them a good ‘ole farm breakfast of grits, biscuits, and fresh eggs that they’ll gather from the hen house, they’re going to learn how to build a table. In the process they’ll learn what butcher block is, how to use a tape measure, scribe a circle with a compass, handle a jig saw, carpenter’s glue, an orbital sander and a power nailer. I wonder what grand pop Milby would have done with all those fancy power tools? We are so spoiled today with every tool imaginable just a few clicks away on our computers and delivered to our doorsteps in just a day or so; what a world we live in !!!

So, here’s a word for all you grand pops out there: Why not pry your grandsons, and granddaughters too, away from their iPhones and iPads and let them help you with a project in your shop. Preferably it should be one on your wife’s “Honey-do List”; that way you can kill two birds with one stone as the saying goes. But if you decide to take the challenge, remember to make it fun; after all they are kids. Hot chocolate and marshmallows, anyone?

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

PS: Have a Very Merry, Christ-Centered Christmas!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com 

Bethlehem in the Pitts, 2019 ©

Have you ever wondered what Bethlehem was like that special night a couple thousand years ago when our savior was born? It must have been incredible. On the one hand it was the most important event in all human history, with the birth of the savior of all mankind happening in Bethlehem as foretold by the prophets hundreds of years before. And on that special night, it was announced to some shepherds by an angel who was then joined by “A vast host of others –the armies of heaven–praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased”.

On the other hand it was an incredibly humble event. Mary, a young Jewish girl, being basically at full term in her pregnancy, had to travel about 80 miles by foot, or perhaps on a donkey, with Joseph because a census had been ordered, and there was no exception for young girls about to deliver their first baby! When they arrived in Bethlehem there was no lodging available for them so they had to sleep in a manger. Can you imagine Prince William and Kate spending the night before her first baby delivery in a stable?! What a contrast from what happened to Mary and Joseph to what we would expect today for the birth of a Royal baby.

At any rate, it’s a story that deserves telling each year at this time, especially to our grandchildren, and if we can get a little help in telling the story, that would be a good thing.

And that’s exactly what the folks at Pleasant View Baptist Church in Pitts , GA decided a few years go when they started a live Nativity display at an old donkey barn owned by one of their members. It went over so well that they’ve outgrown the old barn and this year decided to build a new one to host the Nativity.

My neighbor’s wife has been teasing us the last month or so with Facebook posts re the barn’s progress. Last night, curiosity got the best of me so my wife and I went to see for ourselves where this Bethlehem re-enactment is going to be this Sunday, Dec. 15th at 5 PM. It’s on a perfect little triangular plot of ground across from the church building which has been set aside just for this purpose. In talking with Mike Holiday, one of the chief architects and builders of this project, I was told last night there would be live animals, music, and a cast of actors from the church to re-enact that special night.

Mike said they even looked into renting a camel for the occasion but it didn’t quite fit in this year’s budget. But he did say that hot dogs, and drinks did fit in the budget and that all were welcome to join them this coming Sunday at 5 PM.

We’ve invited all of our grandchildren that live nearby to come celebrate with us at Bethlehem in the Pitts. *Will you join us at:

Pleasant View Baptist Church

74 Spruce Lane,

Pitts, GA, 31072

PS Bring your lawn chairs!

*This event has already happened, but you can add it to your calendar for 2020

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

Care Giver appreciation Logs ©

I just came in from the woods where I was asked to slice up some logs to serve as center piece bases for candles and decorations for the tables at our Giver Appreciation banquet at Visiting Angels.

This is our 5th annual CG appreciation event and each year we try to make it a bit more special than the last. It was a perfect fall morning for it but my chain saw wouldn’t crank so I decided to take a break from pulling the rope and come write about it before I needed a Care Giver to rescue me from the woods.

The banquet, which we plan for, and save for all year long, is a very special event where we recognize Care Givers not only for their years of service but for out of the ordinary acts of service as well. Often times these special acts of service, as they’re introduced by my sons, come with lots of laughs and sometimes with lots of tears for the most sacrificial service you can imagine. It is a great time of celebration that we all work on and look forward to not only for our Care Givers but also for their clients as well, if they’re able to attend. I wish all of you readers could attend sometime too so you could experience it firsthand.

But, that’s the business side of Care Giving. What about the personal side? Who is your Care Giver? You might be tempted to say “I don’t have one” or maybe even, “I don’t need one”. If you’re in a position to even let those thoughts cross your mind, you are fortunate indeed but I’d still disagree with you.

Why? Because none of us lives this life alone without Care Givers ministering life and love into our lives. I know I’m writhing to a very mixed audience of readers right now; some are still happily married, some just barely married , some widowed , some never having been married and a whole continuum of situations that run the gamete of life.

I am one of the most fortunate of all; my Care Giver is still my wife. 601 months ago today (50 years and one month) we stood before an alter together and pledged to care for each other “For better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part”. So far, we’ve experienced some of all the above and we’ve managed to keep that pledge to each other through it all. I cannot even imagine doing life without her.

Whoever is your Cage Giver, whether your spouse, one of our Visiting Angels, or the waitress at Cracker Barrel, I hope you’ll appreciate them for the way they serve you and make your life more comfortable each and every day.

I’ve got to run now and get that chainsaw cranked up to cut those centerpiece logs for the banquet before I get in trouble with the boss.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

Saying Grace ©

“Saying Grace” is the title of a Norman Rockwell painting that appeared on the November 24, 1951 Thanksgiving issue of the Saturday Evening Post. In 1955 it was voted as “Everyone’s Favorite” in a poll taken by The Saturday Evening Post® which had paid Rockwell $3500 for the original (equivalent to about $34,000 in 2018 dollars). 

That was quite a tidy sum in those days but nothing compared to the $46 million dollars it sold for in 2013 at a Sotheby’s art auction after a nasty legal battle among Rockwell’s estate. The buyer’s name was not identified.  

I subscribed to the rejuvenated Saturday Evening Post® a couple years ago primarily because it advertised that it would feature Rockwell’s art and because I felt the stories it featured would be of interest to the readers of this column; and that’s exactly where this story originated. Supplemental facts are from Wikipedia. 

Norman Rockwell was one of America’s most prolific well known artists (he called himself and illustrator) with more than 4000 original works, 321 or 323 (depending on what you read) were covers for The Saturday Evening Post spanning a period of five decades! That is so humbling to me; I have a hard time doing a weekly AAS column! It was both inspiring and humbling to read his accomplishments in Wikipedia as I was preparing for this column.

But what intrigues me about “Saying Grace” (take a minute or two to Google it so you get a visual image of what a $46 million painting looks like) is the subject matter: a grandmother and grandson bowing to say grace over lunch in a crowded, rather modest restaurant while two other patrons at their shared table look on with intense interest.

The painting was done in 1951, a wonderful time in American life during which many of you readers grew up. I was eight at the time. I had a stay-at-home mom who looked after our VERY modest home and made sure we all had clean clothes from her wringer washer in the basement that were dried on the clothes line in summer and in the basement in the winter. Materially, life was lean but I didn’t even know it. Spiritually and emotionally, it was rich; we even walked to church together as a family for several years before we got a car.

“Saying Grace” depicts that time in our national culture where saying grace at the table before meals was a very common expression of faith, whether in private or in public. Today, not so much. In fact, more and more our public demonstrations of faith are scorned by popular culture which causes me grave concern for the future of my grandchildren and our nation.

But no matter what our culture says, to paraphrase a quote from Joshua 24:15, as for me and my house, we will continue to “say grace” (I prefer “Give Thanks”) before meals because  I know they are a gift from God and I never want to take them for granted. Let us always remember we are blessed beyond measure to be born and raised in this country where most of us have three meals a day and we’re free to “say grace” over them if we wish.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!   

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com 

Wars and Rumors of Wars ©

I woke up each morning last weekend to very troubling headlines…..

  • Saturday from the Saudi Gazette: “BARBARIC ATTACK”
  • Sunday from Joel Rosenberg’s Blog: “Vital American-Saudi ARAMCO oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were severely damaged on Saturday by upwards of ten sophisticated attacks
  • Monday morning on Drudge: “Drone attack on Saudi oil seen as ‘Pearl Harbor’ moment”

The one from Joel Rosenberg, my favorite geo-political/prophetic novelist was particularly poignant because just a couple days before the attack he had led a group of evangelical leaders to meet with the Saudi Crown Prince. His conclusion from that meeting was: “Having just been in Saudi Arabia discussing the gravity of the Iran threat with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and other senior Saudi officials and military commanders, I would say MBS is fiercely determined to work closely with the US and his allies in the region to counter the Mullahs in Tehran.”

I was discussing these headlines with my 26 year old son over lunch and he asked me a very pointed question: “Dad, could I be drafted into a war”? His question really took me a bit by surprise but I had to admit, it is not without merit. After all, our boys were asking the same question of their dads on December 8th, 1941 after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor after a similar surprise attack.

I’m sure many of the readers of this column remember the draft notices they received, as I did, during the Vietnam war in the 60’s and early 70’s.

And who could have foreseen an 18 year-long war with Afghanistan on September the 10th, 2001. My other son is already a combat vet from that war. And now he’s in Germany working with NATO troops to insure their preparedness for whatever Russia and Turkey have in mind in that theater.

In our safe and peaceful middle Georgia world, it is easy to lull ourselves into thinking all is okay in the world. But the reality is that we could be one missile strike away from WW III. Will Saudi Arabia retaliate against Iran without the USA’s support? I don’t think so. And would Iran come back against us without calling in her ally, Russia? I doubt it. That scenario, as I sit here and type this paragraph is a real one.

Should any of this surprise us? Not really if we have a basic understanding of biblical prophecy. In fact, here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 24:6: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.”

My favorite commentator on these types of issues is an Ohio attorney, John Haler, who gives a weekly update for about 90 minutes on You Tube every Sunday. He gives a summary of the global news as seen through the lens of bible prophecy; just type in “YouTube, John Haler”, and it will pop up with the current date.

I truly hope that nothing will come off it. But if it does, it surely helps to be able to see it all in light of what the bible says. In the meantime meditate on Philippians 4:6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

American Bandstand ©

Sunday night we were having a discussion around the dinner table about dance with my granddaughters and son, Max. Somehow the conversation went from “Dance” to “American Bandstand”, a TV show that I suspect many of you senior readers grew up with just like my wife and I. She said “I think I hear an AAS column percolating”; I hadn’t yet thought of it but I guess she was right; here we go.

We looked up “American Bandstand” right there on our smart phones and here are some of the interesting factoids that we learned.

  • It aired in various versions from 1952 to 1989,[1] and was hosted from 1956 until its final season by Dick Clark, who also served as the program’s producer. The original host from 1952 to ’56 was fired after being arrested for DUI charges while the co-owners of the show were campaigning against DUI!
  • Freddy Cannon holds the record for most appearances, at 110
  • Production of the show moved from Philadelphia to the ABC Television Center in Los Angeles on February 8, 1964, which coincidentally was the day before the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • The program was permanently shot in color starting on September 9, 1967. So for fifteen years it was black and white.
  • Bandstand moved to cable on USA Network on April 8, 1989, with comedian David Hirsch taking over hosting duties. Clark remained as executive producer. The final show aired on October 7, 1989, thus ending the show’s 37-year run.

Due to his perennially youthful appearance and his largely teenaged audience of American Bandstand, Clark was often referred to as “America’s oldest teenager”.In his off-stage roles, Clark served as Chief Executive Officer of Dick Clark Productions. He also founded the American Bandstand Diner, a restaurant chain modeled after the Hard Rock Cafe.

The show was “close to home” to me in more ways than one. First, the studio where it originated on Market St in Philadelphia was right across the Delaware river from where I grew up, about ten miles due west. I was a young teen-ager in Jr. Hi when Dick Clark took over the show and then while I was in High school I was playing in a Rock n Roll band called “The Dunes”. Our first (and only) recording was “Lonely Sands” on the Madison label. Russell Faith recorded it for us in a studio very close to The American Bandstand studio. Russell was Percy Faith’s brother (think of the huge instrumental hit from the early 60’s called “Theme From A Summer Place”). If you’re interested, you can go to Youtube.com , type in “Lonely Sands” and listen to our record from 1960. I couldn’t believe it myself until my son showed me…..what a world we live in! Or just click here ….. https://youtu.be/ln73jakF_YI

While we never made an appearance on American Bandstand, we did have a lot of fun playing local dances, weddings and Frat parties. I even made some spending money to put gas in my 1952 Mercury!

I hope this little walk down memory lane triggers some warm teen age memories for you as it did for me on this Labor Day Weekend at the end of summer, 2019. (I was just listening to “Theme From A Summer Place” which took me back 60 years. Try it, works like magic.

Thanks for reading All About Seniors……see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

Happy Senior Citizens’ Day ©

Back in August 1988, before many of us graduated to the Senior Citizen class, in a show of bipartisanship that is increasingly rare these days, this is what came out of Washington:

The Congress, by House Joint Resolution 138, has designated August 21, 1988, as “National Senior Citizens Day” and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim August 21, 1988, as National Senior Citizens Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

At the time he was sworn in as our 40th President, Ronald Reagan himself was less than a month from his 70th birthday and at the time he signed the Senior Citizen proclamation he was 77 years old, and had already secured his legacy as one of America’s most revered senior citizens.

And while the current occupant of the White House might not have the endearing charm of Ronald Reagan, he is without doubt, one of the most energetic senior citizens to ever hold that office, and in that respect should be an example to all of us.

In this youth-oriented culture of ours where wrinkle free skin is almost worshipped (A USA Today article said that An American Society of Plastic Surgeons report found Americans spent more than $16 billion on cosmetic plastic surgeries and minimally invasive procedures in 2016), it is appropriate to set aside some time to appreciate our Senior Citizens, for what they have already and continue to contribute to our nation, our culture and our economy.

There are endless examples of famous senior citizens who made major accomplishments to the world after they were already seniors; here are just a few I found inspiring:

  • At the age of 52, despite battles with diabetes and arthritis, Ray Kroc set out to build the McDonald’s brand after working 17 years of his adult life as a paper cup salesman, and another 17 peddling a machine that could craft five milkshakes at once. Seven years after he convinced the McDonald brothers to sell out their shares, he became the owner of a franchise that would sell more than a billion hamburgers by 1963. Kroc continued to be involved in McDonald’s operations until his death in 1984.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder’s best-selling series of books began with “Little House in the Big Woods,” which chronicled her pioneering childhood in the late 1800s. The books were so well-loved that NBC adapted one into a pilot and then a TV series (“Little House on the Prairie”) that aired from 1974 to 1982. However, Wilder didn’t publish her first book until she was 64. She published “Little House in the Big Woods” in 1932 and continued the series about herself and her family, ending with “These Happy Golden Years” in 1943, at age 76.
  • Who was the woman who captivated U.S. presidents and art audiences at home and abroad? Anna Mary Robertson Moses was better known to the world as “Grandma Moses”, a woman who didn’t begin to paint until the age of 76, when her hands became too crippled by arthritis to hold an embroidery needle. She found herself unable to sit around and do nothing after a long life spent working on farms. When Anna Mary Robertson Moses died in 1961 at age 101, then-President John F. Kennedy released a statement praising her paintings for inspiring a nation, noting, “All Americans mourn her loss” [

My point in highlighting these inspiring senior citizen accomplishments is to inspire those of you who have already retired to your rocking chair. What will YOU accomplish today? This year? It’s never too late!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week.

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

Photo credit: Ray Kroc, right, with McDonald’s executive Fred Turner in 1975. Photograph: Everett/Rex/Shutterstock

#mcdonalds #nationalseniorcitizensday #VisitingAngels #inspiring #youngatheart

I saw Mama kissing Oreo! ©

Buckle your seatbelts, you’re not going to believe this one!

Within a few weeks after we bought this old farm in 2012, my son, David, bought a couple goats that he wanted for his daughters; I was to keep and care for them, of course! He named them “Oreo” (the black and white mother) and “Babe” (Oreo’s baby). They’ve been beloved (most of the time) fixtures around the farm ever since. To see them running, chewing or just being, always together, is to love them.

Early on, both had a penchant for getting their horns stuck in the old fencing we inherited. It’s because they were afflicted with a human-like syndrome called “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence”! Ever hear of it? For awhile we had a third goat, “Snickers” who would come to get our attention if Oreo or Babe got their heads stuck in the fence until one of us came to the rescue. Snickers’ story will have to wait for another column.

We’ve replaced most of that old fencing but we still have a couple steel cattle panels on the west side of the farm. The cattle love to lay in the shade of a big old pecan tree along that fence and the goats like to graze on whatever is along that fence and occasionally on the other side of it. If they go down too low they can get their horns stuck in the narrower spaces.

That’s why my wife took note of Oreo along the west fence last Thursday as she was doing her chores. And it’s exactly why she went running out to Oreo’s rescue when she saw her in the same location and position a couple hours later. She called for help but I was in town and no one else was within earshot.

What she found when she got to the fence was not pretty. Oreo’s head and horns caught hopelessly in the fence. She wrestled with all her might to free her for quite some time to no avail. Finally, I guess enough adrenaline kicked in for her to pull Oreo’s head and horns with enough force to get her head back through the fence. But by then, Oreo was dehydrated and fell to the ground. Her eyes rolled back in her head, legs out stiff and not breathing!

That’s when Bess went from wife to “Wonder Woman”! Instincts pushed caution aside as she bent over Oreo and began mouth to nose CPR. At first it wasn’t working because all her breath was coming right out Oreo’s mouth. So, again by instinct, she clamped Oreo’s mouth shut with her hand and began mouth to nose CPR again. She kept it up for 4-5 minutes. Finally, Oreo began to breathe just a bit on her own. By that time, my son Max joined her to comfort Oreo long enough for Wonder Woman to run back to the kitchen to rescue an about-to-burn dinner that she left to rescue Oreo. Meanwhile I returned from town to a lot of commotion and got hurried instructions to carry a bucket of water out to Oreo.

As I knelt beside her with a bucket of water I had to hold her head so she could sip some of it. She didn’t even smell, let alone eat, the handful of cattle cubes I brought her that she loves so much.

When we got her stabilized, we went in to gather with our guest family to enjoy the dinner that was rescued from the oven and raised our glasses in a toast: “A breath of fresh air” to my wife; she had surely earned that one!

So, ladies, here’s a question for you. If that husband of yours that you fondly refer to as “Your old goat” stopped breathing, could you give him CPR? Would you? Just a thought!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

PS It was especially gratifying to see Oreo affectionately hovering over Babe Saturday afternoon as we returned to the farm. Life is good. Celebrate it whenever you can!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

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