Category Archives: Family

Blog Posts vs Writing in a Personal Journal

Almost ten years ago, in early 2006, I started writing in blogs on the Internet. In some ways this was a mistake, as one’s writing changes when he knows it is being read by strangers. Also, the topics change as well. When keeping journals, I wrote a lot about my private problems, hopes and accomplishments, things that would not be interesting to strangers. So a lot of personal writing never happened. Most of my blog writing is utterly forgettable and irrelevant. In hindsight, it was a mistake.

I will be 71 years old next month, and that seems indeed quite old to me, and yet I don’t feel that old. I am retired, but still work occasionally. My major goal and focus at this stage of my life is to greatly enhance my skill and ability as a bassist for jazz. I have a fully carved string bass, as well as three bass guitars, and practice regularly with the Cats Swing Band of Los Gatos, a project of adult education there. In the past year I have learned to read notes and expand my knowledge of music theory. I am currently immersed in bass study, with the intent to bring myself up to a professional level as quickly as possible.

I am now in the last stage of life. Tess (my wife) has several physical illnesses, including a heart problems, diabetes and asthma. I suspect she will precede me into whatever comes after this life, and that will be hell for me. I have no desire to live without her.

I have no great fear of death, no remorse or sorrow at its approach. I see it as the inevitable way of all flesh, and rather than face it with dread, I am merely observing to see what happens.

Giving Thanks

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I have a mixture of thoughts and feelings on Thanksgiving 2007.  It is my first Thanksgiving without my mom, who passed away on January 2nd.  I am thankful, however, that I had her until she was 85 years of age.  I am thankful that she died peacefully and without pain. 

I am thankful that I am in very good health and that I have been able to shed 34 pounds.  I have another 20 to go to reach my ideal weight, but I am in no hurry.  I suspect today will be a slight setback towards that goal, but not a serious one.

I am thankful that I am not blinded by some passion that distracts me from real life, whether it be religion, politics, the pursuit of status or some weird hobby.  I accept the universe as it is and trust God to know what he’s doing.  I accept my talents and my faults, being a human being and imperfect, but I will try my best to use the former and control and improve the latter.

I am thankful that I have a professional career and a body of training and knowledge that allows me to make a decent living and to care for my family.   I am thankful for the education that made such things possible.  I am thankful for the many great friends and associates I have met through my career who have inspired me with their examples of successful and courageous living.

I am thankful for my nice home.  I am thankful that, when it comes to food, my biggest worry is not to get enough, but to avoid eating too much.   I am thankful for my eccentric, weird and unpredictable older brother Ted, who has always made life for me both colorful and fun.  I am thankful for my eldest son Gary Jr., who understands me better than any other human and who is always there to talk to.  And of course, I am grateful for many other relatives, both cousins, offspring, nephews and nieces, grandchildren and in-laws.

Finally, I am thankful that I live in the United States of America, amongst the freest people on earth, amidst peace and prosperity.  When I consider all of the people who have lived on the earth, and the difficulties they have faced, it is obvious to me that I am among the luckiest of human beings who have ever lived.

Farewell to a Brother

brothers1949.jpgI am feeling blue because my older brother Ted is moving to Nevada. We have been sidekicks since my first conscious memories of life. I remember when he was about four and I was about two. For his birthday, my parents gave him a toy wooden train that you pulled around the floor with a string. There were several cars attached to an engine. It made a squawking noise and rang bells, I think, when you pulled it. My memory may be a little fuzzy after sixty years. Anyway, I wanted to play with it and Ted didn’t want me to, so we had a fight about it. I bawled my eyes out and he got in trouble.  Mom made Ted let me play with his train and I enjoyed doing so, but had to live with the guilt later.

In a couple of years Ted and I were wearing red cowboy hats and patrolling our neighborhood with our trusty six-shooter cap guns, ready to do battle with any Indians or bandits who made the mistake of stumbling into our street in Clovis, New Mexico. However, the cowardly curs always stayed away. A wise decision.

A couple more years passed and we moved to Joplin, Missouri. Ted started first grade while I stayed home with my mom. I really hated that. The world had grabbed my brother by the butt and carried him off into a fearful unknown. He came home in the afternoons with wonderful stories to tell, tales of lunchrooms, playgrounds and obnoxious girls. There was also a corner store near school where you could buy colorful rings that turned your finger green. To me, Ted had become Marco Polo.

In the great events of life, Ted always took the lead. He was the older brother, so it was natural. I always wanted to follow him wherever he went, and that continued into adulthood. Once he moved to Arizona to be near our parents and I followed as soon as I could. The night I pulled up to my parents’ house trailer in Mesa with all my belongings packed in my VW bug, I immediately noticed a big yellow Ryder truck. I knew it was Ted’s. He left the next morning for California, moving back to San Jose with his family. I, however, had a very career-important job in Phoenix and had to stay there another two years before I could move back too.

More years passed. Ted moved to Texas. Before I could figure out a way to convince my wife to move, Ted moved back to San Jose.

Now Ted has sold his house in San Jose and is moving to Nevada to retire. I won’t follow him this time, as he has his family obligations and I have mine. But I don’t like it.