Bellbottom Blog

Scratching A Writing Itch From Time To Time

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Getting Older

My friend Lisa wrote the following tweet the other day:

Life is just a game.  One where you die at the end.  Which is like the worst game ever.”

Need I add to that?

I guess I should or this would be an awfully short post.

I think there is a time in our adult lives when we get to the realization that we are not going to be as spry as we once were.

Things were going to take longer.

Going up stairs, for example. No more two at a time. No longer ignoring the handrail.

Even something as simple as getting out of a chair requires a little more planning than before.

The physical part of aging is, like it or not, unavoidable.

I have been following the sad story of Linda Ronstadt.  She has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  Her ability to sing was taken away a couple of years ago.  She has trouble getting around. She is 67.

As Howard Kaylan points out, people in the music business don’t have retirement plans.  In the case of Linda, she didn’t write songs.  She sang and made famous songs by writers who get royalties from them everytime they are played or whenever a CD of hers is sold. If you are a singer, you wind up going out on concert tours to make your money.  Howard does oldies tours with his partner Mark Volman and an array of other sixties acts every summer.

You see a lot of people touring and this is why. Gotta pay the rent.

I am sure a lot of the acts do it because they love singing and they have reached a time in their lives where the quest for a No. ! record is just a faded memory.

Linda has written a book called “Simple Dreams”. I haven’t read it yet but I am looking forward to having a little time to do just that.

Her music floats through the timeline of my life. She sang with such power, sweetness and grace. She sang everything. When I heard about her condition that news coincided with my Dad’s passing.  As his funeral approached, I found myself on YouTube playing Linda’s music. Her songs were with me through the whole week.

This song is one of my favorites:


And this one:

One more:

In a recent interview she said she doesn’t have any regrets.  You just take life as it comes.

The hardest part of getting older might be looking back instead of looking forward.

What was left undone?  Did you live to your full potential as the nuns in grade school always asked?

I think doing that robs you of what is still ahead. Don’t look back.  Well…maybe glance back once in a while.

Instead, you should perhaps look forward.   See what challenges or opportunities are within reach and grab for them.  By a certain point in your life the fear of failure shouldn’t be daunting.  That’s just part of life.  You have already experienced it and you are still here.

That last paragraph was part advice to anyone reading this and part pep talk to myself.

That’s all for now, kids.






A Better Ending

Last week, my son and I made the trip back to my hometown.  The reason for it was to clear out my Dad’s room at the nursing home.

He had a few  pieces of furniture that we were offered to us by my youngest brother.

It was a somber day with all kinds of roadblocks.

First, the cargo van we had reserved wasn’t available when I went to pick it up.  I will let this clip from Seinfeld explain:

So, we found a truck from U-Haul to do the job.  It was a hundred dollars more than the van would have been.

We also had some rain to deal with.  Just an ominous start.

Add in the sadness and finality of the situation, this was going to be a long day.

When we arrived at the home, we went about figuring out the best way to load the furniture in the truck. A 7 foot long couch, three end tables. and two dressers.

The couch was the one, as my daughter pointed out later, that we all fell asleep on after Thanksgiving dinner at Mom and Dad’s. It is full of memories.

My parents believed in buying quality furniture.  Quality means heavy.  Very heavy.

After a lot of effort, the room was empty and the truck was full.

As we were walking back to the room for one last look, a man appeared at the end of the hall.  He was wondering why the door to the room was open.  As we got closer, he recognized us.

When our son started kindergarten, there was a meeting of parents.  At that meeting we met, Mark and his wife.  His son was my son’s age.  Our families have known each other ever since.  Mark coached my son one year in basketball.  We hadn’t seen each other since our family moved away.

He talked about visiting with Dad during his stay there.  He helped with his therapy and when Dad became too ill to continue any kind of therapy.  Mark still came down to his room and visited.  They talked about baseball.  About a week before Dad died, he asked Mark a question.

“It isn’t going to be much longer, is it?”


Mark said Dad seemed to be at peace.

As I mentioned in my last post, the funeral, especially the eulogy, was extremely difficult for my family.  As the days have passed, we have all struggled with what-ifs.

As we talked to Mark, I noticed my son seemed to be a little more animated than he had been since the funeral.  Knowing that a guy we knew for over 16 years had spent time with Dad in his final days when we couldn’t be there meant a lot.

It was a great comfort.

And… is the best part.  Mark didn’t make the connection that Dad was related to us when he was visiting.  He was just being kind to one of his patients.

So, if you believe in Karma or angels, Mark was at the right place at the right time.

As we thanked Mark for his kindness, the sun came out.

My son and I went to the truck for the long drive back.  He said, “That was a better ending.”

I agree.


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