Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Magic Touch

They say that everything Midas touched turned to gold. Well, everything my grandfather touches may not have the same effect, but what a touch he has. Just this past Saturday up at Lake Muskoday, my father and I were attempting to get a four-wheeler ATV that hadn't been run in two years going. We tried and tried, be it charging the battery or adding some fuel additive. However, we were shit out of luck as they say until the arrival of my grandfather, the man with the magic touch. After telling him what we did, he proceeded to adjust the carburetor with a screwdriver and Whalla!, would you believe it, the darn thing proceeded to run. All my father and I could do was look at each other and laugh in utter amazement. God damn it, he's still got it! This member of the "Greatest Generation" is a jack-of-all trades as so many of his generation are or were. Growing up during the Great Depression, knowing how to fix things was a necessity, a matter of survival. As America got richer in the post-WWII era, I believe that fewer of us have that magic touch. It doesn't work, well, that's alright, I can always buy a new one! I feel that we'd all benefit if we took the the time to learn from them and appreciate them while we still can. Don't let that touch of gray fool you... hidden beneath you may just find a touch of magic.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Relativity of Age

Just take a leisurely stroll down Hallmark St. or Shoebox Blvd. and you will surely realize that we are a nation obsessed with age. Word on the street is that 1st birthdays have become the newest rage (we're so sorry 50). Forget that Johnny or Susy doesn't have the tiniest inkling about what is going on- who cares! Yes, you can leave your gift in the porch, and please have another hamburger Bill, I don't want to be stuck with frozen leftovers. For the brave and adventurous, a detour down Botox Alley will unveil some gruesome, grotesque sights as narcissistic, self-absorbed seekers in the spirit of Juan Ponce de Leon clamor after the ever elusive Fountain of Youth. No matter that it hasn't been found since 1513- keep looking, it's gotta be here somewhere! In the face of such madness, a side order of wisdom is wanting. Luckily, we can turn to wise ol' Abe Lincoln who once remarked, "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Yes, there was a time when presidents were talented writers and orators. I have only to look at my grandparents for the living embodiment of Abe's wisdom. My paternal grandparents just drove from Florida to Roscoe, New York nestled in the rolling green Catskill Mountains. For over 30 years they've made this 1,200 mile journey; the thought of doing it once makes me cringe. My grandfather is 3 months shy of 90, and a disabled WWII vet; my grandmother has had hip surgery, and yet the journey continues. My maternal grandmother, well into her 80s, continues to travel to her native island of Ikaria in the sunny southeastern Aegean Sea year after year. Odysseus would be proud. Their lives tell me to bypass Hallmark St., Shoebox Blvd., and Botox Alley. Just roll down your window, hurl your GPS, and keep driving down the freeway of life...and don't count the tolls along the way.