Aging

Stubborn Illusion Of Time

Loving skeletons

November 6, 2011

Two recent stories of love and death feel connected. This is absurd considering that 1,500 years and 5,000 miles separate them. But why let facts get in the way of a feeling, a yearning? Last month an Iowa couple married for 72 years died an hour apart while holding hands. The wife died first but […]

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Unexpected Journey

David Bales, left

April 10, 2011

The serendipity of discovery on the web is old news, though it remains a hallmark. I was reminded of this recently when, as a longtime subscriber to Classmates.com, I received an email about the site getting a new look and name, Memory Lane. I clicked the link and immediately saw links to yearbooks from my […]

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Accidental Vestige

October 9, 2010

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Some photos haunt me. None more than this one. It was taken behind our house in Nashua, New Hampshire, circa August 1958, seven months before our family moved to Florida. My two brothers and I posed for our mother, and judging from our expressions, we hadn’t yet reached the stage of reflexive smart-ass resistance to […]

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No One Chooses

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September 15, 2010

Nearly a decade ago, a sudden medical problem made me afraid I was going to die on the spot. What had I done to deserve the infamy of croaking in Costco?

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A Son’s Goodbye

August 31, 2009

Regardless of your opinion of Ted Kennedy, this eulogy by his oldest son is something you won’t soon forget. I heard it today, on my father’s 81st birthday, while driving home from Seattle. Hard to see the road through tears.

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Employees of the Heart

August 4, 2009

I saw my heart beating today from behind its walls. In darkened chambers easily mistaken for underground rooms, a handful of workers labored without pause. The workers are valve gates, flanges of flesh regulating blood flow with relentless precision. It’s easy to see why one day they might quit from fatigue or boredom. But one […]

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Why of War Fades

July 25, 2009

The last European survivor of World War I has died at age 111. Harry Patch’s late-life interviews are cautionary. Reading this story, I’m struck by a glaring hole: unmentioned is why nations sent millions to be slaughtered. A close friend of Patch said the veteran stressed two messages: “Remember with gratitude and respect those who […]

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Cancer With Wry Smile

May 9, 2009

I’m a big fan of a guy’s blog. He’s a storyteller, and a damn good one. Even if he wasn’t, he’d win my award for best blog name: And I Am Not Lying. Jeff Simmermon hasn’t posted much lately, and I just found out why: he apparently has testicular cancer. His account of learning about […]

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Moved and Alive

April 17, 2009

In February on a rare sunny day, I helped friends dig up and move a Japanese laceleaf maple from their backyard to their front. No chance the tree was going to survive the unavoidable mugging at our hands.

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Life is Short

March 31, 2009

In an interview broadcast today, singer John Mellencamp described to NPR’s Terry Gross the inspiration for the song “Longest Days” on his 2008 CD, Life Death Love and Freedom. He said his grandmother called him Buddy. She lived to 100. Late in life she often asked him to lay in bed with her as she […]

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Clueless Time Traveler

February 27, 2009

A writing professor I know often uses time travel as a plot device. His novel about Abraham Lincoln involuntarily appearing in Chicago in the 1950s bring him to life in a unique way. More intriguing is the professor’s unpublished story imagining himself as an adult occupying his boyhood body and mind. That’s a journey I […]

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Living Longer

January 28, 2009

We could live much longer if we really wanted to. Or maybe we want to but can’t get our act together, individually or collectively, to take the steps that forestall death. I’ve been pondering longevity since coming across two items recently: a study that shows reducing smog adds an average of five months to lifespans […]

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Time Changes

December 10, 2008

I’m busy contemplating how to use the extra one second bestowed upon us at the moment 2008 ends. The addition of a so-called leap second last happened in 2005, not that anyone noticed. But reading about this latest adjustment, I imagine life shifting into slow motion at 23:59:59. What dramas or epiphanies will burst forth […]

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