How old were you when you first realized that no one wanted your advice?

If your children didn’t listen, you weren’t surprised when their children didn’t listen, either.

The best you can do is say, “You can do what you want, but the last time I tried it – well, see these teeth marks on my wrist?” Or, “spent the entire night walking home in my stocking feet.” It really doesn’t matter what happened to you, they are so smart that it won’t happen to them.

Hindsight is a great teacher. Those of us who have been there, done that, are usually glad that things happened as they did. You know that if you are 19 and madly in love with someone who won’t even give you the time of day, you should not slash your wrists in despair. There is a very good chance that 40 or 50 years later, whatever remains of your dearly beloved will turn up on your doorstep. And if you peep out from behind your curtain, you will see nothing that will inspire you to unlock the door.

Age and experience add to one’s perspective. A Facebook friend posted a picture of Penobscot Bay taken from the top of Mount Battie. Everyone is expected to exude platitudes about the N.C. Wyeth cloud formations and the pretty little boats in Camden Harbor..

But I saw Curtis Island, where in 1955 I and my Coast Guard shipmates had to lift sacks of coal out of a small boat, put them on our backs and then lug the coal up a steep path to the lighthouse. Do I need to tell you that I have opinions on Camden Harbor and the icy water east of Rockland where I was stationed for two interminable years?


There are rewards. Over 60 very short years later, the Veterans Affairs system gave me two hearing aids that cost more than my entire salary for two years of service time.

How would you explain Y2K to a Bowdoin student? They would have to be told that in the last days of 1999 it was feared that at the turn of the millennium all the computers in the world would fail. Airplanes would drop from the sky. Power plants would melt down. Many people bought extra groceries and bottled water. It now seems silly that anyone could believe that the United States was on the cusp of absolute chaos. Any college student who looks at the news today realizes that with any luck we might hang on for another eight or 10 months.

It would seem that some old Maine people do take the advice of their childhood friends, because as soon as one of your elderly neighbors sells his business and moves to a retirement community in Florida, he is followed by half a dozen of his cronies.

A problem often encountered is finding an affordable home within walking distance of your buddy. All too often you can only find a choice Florida property near your friend when someone dies.

A Florida real estate agent was once asked if prospective buyers went up to people who looked exceptionally feeble and felt their pulse. She said, “It wouldn’t help. We have people walking around here who have no pulse.”

Some wealthy older Maine people moved to Florida so they wouldn’t have to pay a Maine income tax. But did you know that you even have to be careful where you die? If you want to leave anything to your grandchildren, you also have to find out which state takes the biggest bite out of your estate when you drop.


This means that if you are presently residing in the wrong state, your lawyer has to be poised to change your legal address should you develop a bad cough. When you think of this objectively, the ideal situation is to be so cantankerous in your old age that you don’t care who gets it.

You heard me mention that young people will not heed advice. Just before leaving for a New Year’s Eve party, a young Rockland man got a call from his grandmother. She reminded him that their family had an alcohol problem and pleaded with him to stay sober that evening, lest he end up as an unpleasant statistic.

To stress her point she admitted that she, herself, once drank so much that she woke up the next morning in the filthy apartment of a most unpleasant man she’d never seen before.

Somewhat upset to hear this, her grandson quickly mentioned that these things can happen to anyone who is young and foolish.

She said, “It was last week.”

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website: MainePrivateRadio.html

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