Sun Lakes Writers’ Group

Life Can Be a Dream—Virtually Speaking

Sue Donovan

Since March, 1999 when Al Gore supposedly claimed he “invented the Internet,” the online life of both savvy techies and those of us who can barely answer our own Smartphones, has exploded. Just in time for our current health crisis, the capabilities of today’s Internet can be considered one of our greatest blessings, providing a modicum of school, work and social life while at home, alone.

Thanks to the necessity of quarantine, and thanks to the imaginations of countless geeks still making money in 2020, we can now handle all the business of life from the comfort of our Lazy Boys. You can now: buy a car, sell your home, visit a doctor, go to the library, bake a pie with your granddaughter, take piano lessons, practice your golf swing, buy eyeglasses, play in a bridge tournament, put your dog down, earn a master’s degree, chase away robbers, get a divorce, and exercise (though you do have to stand upright for a while)—all still in your P.J.s, eating a ham sandwich. If I could figure out how to draw my own blood and cut the BACK of my hair, I would never have to leave home!

As we recover from the COVID crisis, we may find our Internet habit is a mixed blessing—convenient but not sustainable. Living life from the Lazy Boy gets really, really depressing. Once the pandemic is past, I never want to hear the word “virtual” again! I long to go back to a “literal” life where I can wander the store aisles IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, squeeze onto a crowded bus, see a ballgame from the bleachers, and host a big family gathering where we laugh and sing and hug the new babies—NOT ON ZOOM.

I hope we remember one lesson learned from this difficult time—our greatest blessing is being born in a country with the resources to thrive in a worldwide pandemic, and in a segment of that country’s population with easy access to those resources. God has already blessed America. May God also bless whoever really invented the Internet.

Easter, Passover, St. Patrick’s Day, Patriots Day, Then There Is…

George Stahl

The season of spring this year runs from March 19 through June 20. In those three months life everywhere wakes up from a long winter snooze. Flowers bloom, trees bud, and animals … well animals make little animals. In celebration of this rejuvenation, we have holidays. We all know the famous and most prevalent for the religious community, as well as being familiar with the holiday celebrations that are the most prudent for the commercial world. In regard to the latter, stores are growing more and more impatient as to how fast they can get their stuff out before the next one, causing us to have to shop for Easter goodies next to the St. Patrick’s Day green among the Valentine’s red leftovers from the last days of winter.

With all of this stuff piling up on the store shelves, it’s probably a good thing that only the major holidays are the ones the bean counters concentrate on. If not, we would have a heck of a time hunting for the things we need for the day-to-day routines of our lives. Imagine if after Easter, gift giving suggestions were on the shelves for April 18, also known as, “Husband Appreciation Day.” The stores would be jammed, checkout lines would be down both sides of the store, and coming up the middle. Wives would be clamoring over one another, reaching for the last one of that perfect gift. Sifting through the Easter residue, and coming into contact with one or two items from St. Paddy’s Day, American wives would be panicking to make sure they were able to get the right gift to show their husbands how much they appreciate them.

Each of the three months of spring has over 100 holidays that are seldom observed, and even less often even known. I know, much to your disappointment, I am not going to cover all of them here. We will cover a minor holiday from each month. Then we’ll sprinkle in some names of others and call it good.

March has a holiday celebration that could be as big as St. Patrick’s Day if we let it. It could end up getting so far out of hand, we might have to ban its celebration next year. It’s on March 20, and it is called “Weed Appreciation Day.” Not to be confused with “National Weed Day,” or 4/20, which is on April 20, and does have everything to do with the weed you are thinking about.

However, there are weeds that we should not turn a nose up at. Some are actually beneficial and some are often mistaken as flowers.

How many of you like a plant called, Forget-Me-Nots? A lot of folks do, so much so that the whole plant which is a weed herb, can be used for medicine for lung problems and nosebleeds. We suggest that if you are going to do this, you will want to research the plant. The side effects are pretty terrifying for some.

The daisy is also a weed that masquerades as a flower, and even had a T.V. show named after it. March is also the month for the Irish, and the wearing of the green. Famous for leprechauns and shamrocks, like Christmas, the holiday plant of choice here is also a weed. Lucky for the most part, and being known to grant wishes to its holder, the four-leaf clover (shamrock) is a prolific weed that more times than not has only three leaves.

Other holidays that are not so celebrated in March are “E.T. Abduction Day” (imagine what a party for a day like that would be), “Goof Off Day,” and “Something on a Stick Day.”

April, the most popular month of the spring season. April showers and all of that, remember? April is Easter month, and on the 18th “Newspaper Columnist Day,” I may have some biased towards this day. It is probably the best reason for a minor holiday as could be, but who celebrates it? How would a person celebrate it? I’ll leave that up to you and your imagination.

In the month of rain showers, we also have, “National Zipper Day” and “National Mahjong Day.” Sounds like two very exciting, fun filled days that we do not celebrate. There’s still time to throw something together for one or both of these. Don’t forget April 18, just saying.

“I Am in Control Day!” you shout as you put one foot in front of the other and walk out of your front door. Then you question, “Which one are you? Who’s in control?” Because, we are also celebrating, “National Multiple Personality Day” in May. This is one exciting month. March 2 is “Old Stuff Day” and the 31st is “National Crayon Day.” Don’t forget, “National Dentist Day” on the 6th. We have a few of those who are retired in Sun Lakes, and who are filling divots on the golf course now instead of cavities in gaping mouths.

The last 20 days of spring will find us celebrating everything from Rocky Road ice cream, to doughnuts, to corn on the cob. In between these we will commemorate the 6th as the day the beaches of Normandy were turned into a scene of mayhem and death with “D-Day WWII.” That day that turned the tides of war is shared by “National Yo-Yo Day.”

And so, ends the spring. A season of rebirth, reflection, and rejuvenation. Maybe you’d agree, that with the seemingly mounting challenges we are seeing every day in our lives, we could all use an extra portion of all of those things in the spring of 2020. Ya think?

The Time of My Life

Gary Rose

It’s already passed; how did I miss it? Was it my job with all the night shifts and overtime, including weekends? Or maybe it was the new house and yard work, and details inside the house?

It’s so funny how things manage to get by us without taking the time to really appreciate them or taking in the gift of family that I so cherished. We had the American Dream, minus the white picket fence. Our family consisted of a mom and dad, two children (a boy and girl), and even two cats we all adored.

We were busy with the things I mentioned above, along with our son’s sports and daughter’s dance classes/recitals. Of course there were many other things too; everything from doctor’s appointments to doughnut runs. At one point my wife and I felt like taxi cab drivers, or today’s Uber/Lyft employees. But you know what; we managed it all, though now I’m not sure how we did.

I loved being a dad, from the very start. Some of my accomplishments include pan-sized pancakes, storytelling, and quite early on I declared myself the “Diaper King.” Yes, back in the days of cloth diapers I could dispose of the old and quickly diaper back on a clean one in what may have been a Guinness World Record. At the finish of the task I would raise both arms, akin to roping a calf and tying up the feet with amazing speed. And I never once stuck either child with a diaper pin in the process. This was often done without anyone present to witness the greatness I had mustered.

To be sure, there were difficult times we faced, but we faced them with hope and prayer. When things really ran amok, a Family Meeting was called sometimes to the dismay of our kids. How I miss having us all under one roof, but the kids grew up and left home, and our cats were buried under a huge oak tree, replaced by the next generation of felines.

So when I look back at the life I/we once had together, with photo albums galore to remember them, I have come to realize, and to never forget, I had “The Time of My Life!”