Even though one is very old, one should have goals.

Having goals helps keep one strong and mentally alert, if not young.  I know this as well as you do, which is why I set goals for myself.

You laugh. Here’s a man who can’t walk to the kitchen and back without panting for oxygen. What can he possibly have for a goal? Shoveling off his back steps? Ha, ha, ha.

No one likes being ridiculed; please bear with me as I continue.

I took a package of my wife Marsha’s chocolate chip cookies out of the freezer. It is such a big bag of chocolate chip cookies that Marsha asked if she could split the package and put half back in the freezer so they didn’t spoil.

Straightening my 118-pound muscular frame to its full height, I smiled grimly and said: “Rest easy, my dear. I’m going to do everything in my power to keep those cookies from getting stale.”


Young people believe that the lives of their grandparents and great-grandparents lack excitement. This is not the case. We now have time to subjugate the most mundane topics to critical analysis. For years, I put my right leg into my pants before I put my left leg into my pants. This morning, I put my left leg into my pants first.

My friends would quickly point out that I was not set in my ways, like your basic stubborn old Maine man, and was easily able to change old habits.

My critics would eagerly note that I was getting senile and no longer knew what I was doing. The excitement comes when your wife agrees with them.

If you are over 80, hardly a day can go by without something new and wonderful happening. Yesterday, by taking a tiny piece of Kleenex and wiping my glasses, I discovered that it could not possibly be time to go to bed because the sun was shining.

Nor are we envious when a friend’s email says that they are safe at their winter digs in the Bahamas. I simply shrug and email back, “That’s nice. The snow is starting to melt on top of our septic tank.”

The secret to longevity is having a positive attitude in the worst of conditions.


By now, you have heard that on April 8, there will be a total eclipse up in Houlton. The business community sees it as an opportunity to rent rooms and sell coffee, so there will be an Eclipse Festival.

They’ll know the festival was a success if a film crew and a couple of pickpockets come up from Boston. Then, much like the Pumpkin Festival in Damariscotta, the Houlton Eclipse Festival could become an annual event.

I’ll stay home reading email. The right emails can get one’s aged heart beating faster. Yesterday, one said: “Morning coffee hack loses 32 lbs in 24 days.”

This is certainly another one of those emails that do bad things to your bank account if you open it.

Although … it was tempting to click and see if, after drinking the stuff for 24 days, I really would weigh 86 pounds.

When Marsha got dressed this morning, instead of making her breakfast, she sat on the bed, where I was still warmly ensconced, and said kind words. It is nice to experience such manifestations of love and togetherness.


Suddenly, without warning, she whipped out the only sharp scissors in the house and started slashing at my eyebrows. This was nothing new. It happens every time I start to look like John L. Lewis. Luckily, I was able to snatch off my oxygen mask before the sparks from the snapping, grinding scissors touched off an explosion.

No, we don’t need Christmas or birthdays or grandchildren in this home to generate high times and excitement. We might have the only grandchildren in Maine who would visit us more often if it didn’t exhaust them so.

And no matter how old one is, there is always Facebook. I am very proud of the high quality of writing and commentary on my Facebook page, some of which I must credit to myself. Because of the scintillating intellectual content, I get countless friend requests from fellow scholars. Many of them seem to be poor young women who can’t even afford to buy clothing.


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