All the legendary Hopkinsville High School stories of Bobo Cravens, known only by Mrs. Ledford as Alfred Cravens, would fill a nine-pound hardback book, and I expect that he might have by now forgotten some of them himself. This one had slipped my mind until it came back to me in a pleasant reverie of long ago days.
I am profoundly moved by Walt Whitman’s goodbye to Abraham Lincoln through his poem “O Captain! My Captain!” The poem starts, “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won …”
Most of us do not want a reoccurrence of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but we also want to live in a nation that is not made up of barbaric savages. In many college classrooms today, students are fed a strong message that we are a bunch of brutes who practice (and seem to enjoy) torturing our enemies.
My beloved grandson took his own life the Sunday before Thanksgiving, right after my revered son-in-law had a heart valve operation in which his heart was taken out of his body to make repairs. Reeling under this double hit, I was hit again when my grandson’s gay companion last week took his life also.
Unless subsidized by a church or a charity, an assisted living facility is a business that must make a profit to stay open. We who buy into assisted living are fortunate that we have a choice in where we spend our money. We consider the quality of the food, cleanliness, convenience and services, but we are strongly influenced by some emotional factors that are beyond the realm of efficiency.
I have a very hard time keeping up with my piddling little bank accounts because I am asked so many questions to prove I am who I am. I often have to produce a driver’s license, give my Social Security number, give a 16-digit account number for a certificate of deposit and give my date of birth and place of birth before someone who has known me for years will permit me to cash out money that is mine.
The balance between ability and need has been a guiding principle throughout my life, but it needs a considerable element of commonsense to make it meaningful.
I surely applaud the stirring Kentucky New Era editorial against the cowards who acted with such malice and meanness against the family of Ronald McGee. I have a suggestion to make, however. I propose that we do a lot of talking about the matter and then try to go one step beyond talking by taking some kind of positive action. I intend to send some money to that family to let them know I care about them in a substantive manner. I suggest that others who have the means might consider a similar action, but I have even more grandiose suggestions.
Old age hits us with lots of problems, but it does offer us a few privileges that are denied to the young. We oldies are largely exempt from the standardized system of lying, which we call political correctness.
I taught English for only a very brief time, but I became infected with a mania for pinning down the meaning of a word as much as possible. If we know that a missile from an enemy country is headed our way, that is clearly an exigent circumstance that does not allow time for consultation with Congress on what to do.
I enjoy life, but with just a small sense of guilt that I am putting a burden on my retirement system, Social Security and Medicare. I sense that I lack the grace to fold my tent and leave without further burden to society. It is a bit like those who go through a war without injury and feel guilty about those who were wounded or lost their lives. Old age is a time for much pondering as there is not much else we are capable of doing.
Reader friends of the Kentucky New Era have been very faithful to keep in touch with me during my recent retreat into the Medicare system. After eight weeks of hospital and rehab service, I feel quite competent to make a few remarks about Medicare. On the whole, I have upgraded my opinion of Medicare, but I have one outrageous exception. Here is the tale as I remember it.
First, I wish to state that anyone who takes this essay seriously will be prosecuted to the full limit of the law or maybe even awarded a Nobel Prize — whichever seems most appropriate to the interpretation.
Looking back over a long life, I see the stages that we go through in highly predictable ways. In our youth and teen years, we think that we are breaking free of old practices that have no sense to them, and that we are a new generation of free-thinkers.
For a short time, I knew a couple who were deemed insane until you knew the full story of their lives. They had raised a couple of twin sons to age 16 and been proud of many achievements of the boys. Good students, good athletes and good citizens, the twins had brought great joy to them until disaster struck. In a swimming adventure, one of the twins was caught up in a current and about to go under when the other twin went to his rescue. Both of them drowned.
The seeming invariability of the laws of chemistry and physics always reassured me, but in my lifetime some of the things once deemed immutable have been changed. With absolute certainty, my first college chemistry book asserted that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but in our lifetime matter has been changed into energy to enlarge this concept considerably.
In many ways, the Democrats want to solve one half of the problems we face and the Republicans want to solve the other half.
I think maybe we have milked about the last drop of outrage from the Martin/Zimmerman case, and I am willing to leave it up to the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton to carry on the cause. I have been looking for an issue that both races can see as a common cause for concern, and I think I may have found it in the Detroit bankruptcy case. I may be wrong and this too may wind up as a totally racist issue, but at the moment it seems a little like a common cause for blacks and whites and maybe a few other groups. Many of us think we know how we got into this problem, but we lack sound fair ideas of how we get out of it.
I am not a fast enough thinker to find agreement or disagreement with President Obama and his administration. By the time I have considered his proposals and formed an opinion, he has usually changed his mind.