My title is taken from Walter Wangerin’s epilogue (“Walt at Seventy-three”) in his little book called “Wounds are where light enters” (Zondervan, 2017). (By the way, it is a delightful book of short stories.)
Often when I meet someone for the first time they will ask: “And what do you do,” despite knowing that I am retired and rather old. “Oh, I do some writing; a bit of consulting, I paint a bit…,” and I let it go at that. I can see the “deer in the headlights” spacey look on their face, so I don’t tell them that I spend a lot of time thinking.
First some background: we have an abandoned alarm system in our house, one that was installed when the house was built some 20 odd years ago. Although the alarm system is no longer in use, it does have functions that suddenly appear, like mushrooms in your lawn.
We had been living in the house about two years when the alarm suddenly went off. It was the first time I had taken much interest in it, supposing it to be dormant, like a lawn waiting for mushrooms. It was a high pitched whine and even I, with poor hearing, was annoyed by it. But I couldn’t figure out how to get it stopped. Finally I called Mike, our son-in-law, who with his wife purchased the unit, and he gave me four numbers to punch into the alarm keypad. It worked—the alarm went quiet. There were, however, certain lights that indicated sensors for doors and windows and sometimes, to my horror, they blinked. I would quickly punch in the four digit solution to all whining and the lights would go out—for a while. There were clearly gremlins at work somewhere in the unit—or perhaps nearby—and eventually I would be introduced to them.
This is the time of year when you are probably receiving information about your taxes. I have been researching the matter and it would be impudent of me not to pass on some of the things that I have “learned.” I should warn you, however, that I have had to condense approximately 387 pages and 1,202 emails from various sources in the process. This includes materials from AARP, Micro and Macro Finance Ptd., Ltd., Help Age International, Senior Care for You, Oldies in Need, and others that I will not take time to mention. All of them have similar resources—lots, in fact bales, of facts, figures and data.
First of all you should “Rollover” anything that will roll, but especially big and fat IRAs. You will need lots of help for the bigger ones. Remember, an IRA is an “Individual Retirement Account” and contrasts with “Group Non-retirement or Working Accounts,” ones that our government will not allow to be rolled over. Over time they will accumulate bed sores and must be treated but, for the present, keep them well oiled.
“My husband makes our breakfast,” has a nice ring to it, but it may be a “noisy cymbal” kind of noise. On the one hand it is a fine compliment and one that should encourage other husbands to take note and do the same. But, on the other hand, it may indicate that he has not always made our breakfast. I don’t mean that my wife would mean it that way—it is my clarification because it is true.
I have not always made our breakfast and, indeed, our breakfasts have not always needed much making. They have generally—at least for years—consisted of pouring out some dry cereal with some slicked banana and milk on top. “Making breakfast” was not a time-consuming job requiring nothing but a basic knowledge of where the utensils were.
It is the fall semester and our Bible Study Group—a cabal of 15 or so mostly old and retired men—have begun to study Genesis. It is led by our pastor, Eric, who is not old and comes with no notes, only his Bible. That is all he needs, for within his cerebral cortex are four roundish and flattish kinds of something, each with specific functions: Old Testament and Hebrew exegesis, New Testament and Greek exegesis, church history and the church fathers (and mothers), and a region consisting of what most people call the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. Well, probably not most people, but those like Dave who have a medical background.