A Few of My Favorite Things ©

“A Few of My Favorite Things” as in:

…. whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things” from the iconic Julie Anderson song in The Sound of Music. But since my grade school teacher taught us that a “Few” had to be more than two, I have to cheat a bit because I only want to talk about two: a cabin and a book.

First, the cabin. That’s where we were last week and hence no All About Seniors column last week. It’s about a hundred years old and has been in my wife’s family for over 60 years. It’s just a mile, as the crow flies, from where Flight 93 went down on 911 in Pennsylvania coal country.

The cabin is my wife’s favorite place on the face of the earth so I try to take her there a couple times a year even though it’s an 800 mile trek; not exactly a weekend outing! Not that it has wonderful amenities as most people define them. No, exactly the opposite…..the only running water is the stream outside the kitchen window! But she does have a hand pump in the kitchen to pump some of that stream water into the sink. It’s full of wonderful childhood memories, not amenities. But since we’ve been going the last seven years that we’ve owned it, we have built some wonderful adult memories as well; enough said about that!

Second, the book: The Persian Gamble, another geo-political novel from our favorite author, Joel Rosenberg. We read the whole thing together while at the cabin; stayed up past midnight to finish it Saturday even though we had to get up early Sunday to catch a plane home. These are real “Page turners” that are hard to put down , especially as you get toward the ending crescendo.

This is the author’s latest of fourteen fiction novels and six non-fiction books. What makes the books so good is not only the author’s exceptional gift for writing but the breadth of experience he brings to the table and the resources he uses for his research.

Joel’s grandparents barely escaped from Russia by the skin of their teeth. Hs parents settled in NY, He attended Georgetown University, worked in Steve Forbes’ 2000 presidential bid and then Netanyahu’s 2000 Prime Minister bid in Israel. He’s a world traveler and speaker who now lives in Israel. But perhaps the thing that makes his work most unique is that he always incorporates his understanding of biblical eschatology to the political events he’s writing about. The results are so eerily accurate that he’s been summoned to address leaders at the highest levels of our government.

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Well, that’s where we were last week, enjoying “A few of our favorite things”. If you are so fortunate to still have a spouse to share life with, getting away somewhere with a book you can share together more than doubles the pleasure of reading!

But if you want to read The Persian Gable, you should read The Kremlin Connection first. Enjoy!

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

Who’d a thunk it? ©

Who’d a thunk it? That’s the title of a book I’m toying with writing. the subtitle might be “A contrary plan for retirement happiness”

I’ve been mulling this idea over for a while and wanted to bounce the idea off of you, the faithful readers of this All About Seniors column. So I’m looking for some feedback on this one.

Why would I consider such a project? Well certainly not for money, I’ll assure you of that up front! In fact, I expect it would probably be a money loser. No, it would be another adventure (I’ve never written a book…..yet!) that I think might be fun to pursue and share with others.

The basic idea of the book would be to share our experience of “Becoming farmers” at this stage of our lives: why we did it, what we learned, what not to do, the benefits, pitfalls and how much we’re enjoying it.

The crazy thing is we absolutely did not plan to do this…..it just kind of happened as we tried to seek God and follow His direction. So, why would we move from “Paradise” (Hilton Head Island, a beautiful resort destination) to “The Pitts”, a little farming community in south central Georgia? In fact, that’s exactly the question our cross-the-street neighbors asked us when we first met them seven years ago!

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That’s a great question and there are many angles to the answer:

  • First of all, it’s closer to six of our nine grandchildren so we get to see them far more now that we’re just 50 minutes away instead of five hours. Has that worked out the way we intended? Absolutely….. in fact, better! For most of them, all they’ve ever known of us is that we’re their old grandparents who live on the farm and they love to come visit and stay overnight whenever their parents allow them.

  • Second, we love being a bit more “Self sufficient” (although in truth, none of us is self sufficient at all). But, the idea of having a well, and being able to raise our own meat, eggs, fish and grow our own food is somewhat comforting, even though it is a lot of work. But mostly, a labor of love!

  • I get to walk our dogs around our own lake in the morning instead of on a public beach. Don’t get me wrong, I used to immensely enjoy walking our boxer, Ozzie, on the beach, especially to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic in the mornings. But the security patrolmen knew Ozzie by his first name because he loved to break out of the yard and go dog watching himself on the beach which was a big “No-No”. I don’t know how many times I had to bail him out of puppy prison!

  • Another reason is the economics of it all…..Is it profitable? Not really, until you consider the housing cost, taxes and insurance. Then, it makes a lot of economic sense.

I could go on and on about all the things we like about country living. And I do understand it is not for everyone; in fact, probably not for very many at all, especially seniors at this stage of life. It is definitely a contrary path to retirement happiness…… a path much less traveled!

 

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

PS So how about some feedback. Would you read it if I wrote it? Thanks in advance for responding to william.mercylink@gmail.com.

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

President’s Day, A Somber Senior Reflection

True confession: this is an update of a column I wrote in 2011 but the memories and the message are even more relevant today as we celebrate President’s Day, 2019.

I expect most of the people reading this column are seniors like me, and remember with fond recollection our elementary school days when we honored both Lincoln’s birthday on Feb 12th and Washington’s birthday on Feb 22nd. I still remember cutting out silhouettes of both of those great presidents and pasting them with that white paste that smelled so good and got smeared on everything within a few feet, onto colored “construction paper” and bringing them home to mom as my “artwork”.

Like a lot of other fond memories, that all changed in 1971 with the “Uniform Holidays Act” moving the federal holiday to the third Monday in February. Oddly enough, that insured that “President’s Day” could never again fall on Washington’s actual birthday of Feb 22. To me that was sort of a bad omen.

My earliest memories of presidents I actually lived under go back to Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. I remember them talking to us during our booming post war economies on our 10 inch black and white TV alongside Ozzie and Harriet.

Fast forward sixty plus years and I’m afraid those days are long gone because of our looming federal debt and lack of political will, leadership and common sense to have a balanced federal budget. During our lifetimes we have gone from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation because of this irresponsibility. While I was not a fan of Bill Clinton, I certainly respect the fact that during his second term in office the country ran a yearly budget surplus through 2001 and in his final State of the Union address, President Clinton said the United States should continue to balance its books and pay off the debt entirely. (Wikipedia).

The Bible has a lot to say about money, spending and borrowing. If we hadn’t thrown the Bible out of our public schools (I can still hear Miss Smith reading the Psalms to us in kindergarten every mooring) our political leaders might realize that Proverbs 22:7 says “….The borrower is servant to the lender” and because of that unshakable principle, we are now servants to the Chinese. We have borrowed ourselves into their servitude and it’s not a very comfortable feeling, let alone, politically or economically viable.

I am thankful for some of the political leaders we have in Washington and their zeal for correcting the economic course of our ship of state. I wish them well indeed. It is my sincere prayer for our nation on this President’s Day that we will gather our national will, courage and commonsense together to balance our federal budget so our grandkids can cut and paste the silhouette of a great US President who will lead us out of this bondage into financial prosperity once again.

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

Coffee and Waffles ©

I’d like to take this space today to tell you a heartwarming true story taking place in our Visiting Angels’ business.

A few years ago, my second oldest son and business partner, William, agreed to temporarily dog sit a Golden Retriever for a friend of his who was being transferred overseas. After a year or so, the friend’s circumstances changed and the temporary became permanent, and the retriever, named “Waffles”, became a permanent member of William’s family.

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Backup a few years even before Waffles was dropped off and we hired Eva, a care giver to seniors who herself was a senior. After eight years of faithfully serving seniors all over middle Georgia as a Visiting Angel care giver herself, Eva decided it was time for her to work on her retirement plan. So she went to her boss, my son, William and told him what she’d like to do: “I want to train a dog that I can take to my seniors and bring them comfort”; that was her retirement plan! William said “I think I have just the right dog for you: Waffles”.

That was the beginning of Waffles’ formal training as a therapy dog. Even tempered and gentle by nature, Waffles really only needed to be certified to take her sweetness out to the public. And that’s exactly what Eva did. On her own time, after work, Eva would go to William’s house, pick up Waffles in her car and take her to her training classes. I don’t know who enjoyed this more, Eva or Waffles; whoever it was, it worked and Waffles was pronounced ready for duty a couple months ago.

So what exactly is Waffles’ duty? She, along with Amber, our Community Relations Manager and Eva go to visit seniors in assisted living facilities and Nursing homes where senior residents aren’t able to care for pets for obvious reasons.

But when she visits her seniors, Waffles never goes “Empty Pawed”; she almost always dresses in her petite party hat and takes coffee and cupcakes or some other sweet treat to make her seniors feel loved while they enjoy petting her.

So how are these canine capers being received? Waffles already has bookings a couple months into the fall. Here’s how it works:

  • Amber makes prior arrangements with the senior facility

  • She takes Waffles to be groomed and dressed for the occasion

  • They go by the bakery for cupcakes and Starbucks for coffee

  • They visit the Senior facility for sweet treats and dog petting while all the seniors tell their dog and pet stories

  • Waffles gets an afternoon out

  • Eva gets to see her retirement plan blessing lots of seniors, and,

  • Maybe, just maybe, when a senior needs some extra help, they’ll call Visiting Angels®

It’s a win, win, win retirement plan. Thank you Eva for eight wonderful, unselfish years of service to our seniors!!!!

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

Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, 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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#pettherapy #goldenretriever #visitingangels #pawtytime #assitedliving #retirementplan #doglovers #coffeelovers #puppiesandcupcakes

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