I used to be undefeated in Scrabble. I'm sure you're real excited about that. Of course I've never heard of an Olympic Scrabble Tournament, or I would have entered it. But you notice what I said...I used to be undefeated? Yeah.
Did you ever do the bumper cars at the carnival? Our family loves bumper cars! When you first get in the bumper car, you start at approximately the same place. But when you step on the pedal, you take off in about ten different directions and occasionally bump into each other. That was a description of our family when we were all still living under one roof. A description of yours maybe, too? You know, a bumper car family! See, you start out at the same place in the morning, you step on the gas pedal, and off we would go in five different directions, and every once in a while we would just happen to bump into each other.
You know, people in certain jobs end up being treated kind of like vending machines it seems like. Now, the state that I lived in for many years, we still had full service gas and we had gas station attendants. People just sort of drive up and grunt a couple of words to him, and then he would dispense his service, and people would drive off. Oh, of course, we did give him a little money. Waitresses—there's another one. And the checkout people at a grocery store. Well, you know what? I've got a little personal crusade to help these service people feel human again; to get them to talk. Now brace yourself...even to get them to smile sometimes. I feel like I've succeeded if they'll smile.
It was Father's Day, and my friend Dave and I were making the most of it. We had our two families together for a picnic. He's a father too, and we expressed our needs shall we say, we let everybody know what we needed and wanted. And every once in a while somebody even paid attention. Well, we were all gathered around the picnic table and we were explaining to everyone why it was a day of special privilege for Dave and me. And I said, "Hey, it's Father's Day! That's why we're planning everything." I'll never forget what Dave's son said. He said, "Hey, at our house every day is Father's Day." Well, in a sense - probably a different sense than our teenage friend had in mind - it is very much that way in many things.
In the past, the classic retirement scene went something like this, there was a dinner in the retiree's honor, there were some heart-warming but predictable speeches, and if you'd put in enough years, like a gold watch, or at least a plaque or a certificate. And then very quickly the hole that you left in the company closed up, and you wondered what was really accomplished for all those years of service. Well, now it's worse. You may not get to retire. You might be "downsized." You end up asking yourself the question, "What do I have to show for my years of service?" Frankly, I think you can do better than a gold watch or a severance check.
I think something is wrong with my nose! Every couple of months it develops this tender spot on the inside, and that's fine - only I know that. But when the outside starts to swell and turns to some not so beautiful shades of red, well, then everybody else knows. Those are the days I'm glad I'm on the radio instead of television. So it seems like a few days a year I get to look like Rudolph, whether it's Christmas or not. I went to the doctor with this, and I said, "Doctor, this is ugly. What will I do?" He said, "Well, you know, there might be an infection in there." This is probably more information than you want, but I'm going somewhere so stick with me. Well, he prescribed the appropriate antibiotic. Sure enough, if I take that antibiotic when that first tenderness starts to come along, it stops the flare-up. What you can see on the outside, though, isn't the real problem.
My regular routine doesn't allow me as much time for exercise as I'd like. In the past, when I had a few days away and my schedule permitted, I would enjoy doing some biking or hiking, or running. Of course, my body always told me that I hadn't been doing it enough. I ended up hurting in places I didn't even know I had places! But it's good to get some extra exercise when you can.
If you're into fitness, you'll be happy to know that at times my wife and I have been walking together several times a week. Now, we lived in a place where it was three and a half miles around our local lake, and that was really good. For two reasons: First of all, that walk improved our physical condition-and I know that's something you'd be happy about. But it also gave us time to talk.
Chimney Mountain! I wanted our family to conquer it together. So, my wife and I, and our then three little Hutchcrafts started hiking up the trail. And my wife was a lovely tour guide as we went up that mountain trail. She pointed out for example, "Oh, look at the chipmunks over there! Hey, there goes a squirrel! Oh, look at those roots, they're huge! Notice how they tangled around the tree. Wait, wait, stop, listen; can you hear the wind whispering to us in the pines?" We were having a great time together.