Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thoughts about President Ford, and a story

I have been very fortunate to meet several US presidents. Ford, Reagan, Clinton, and shrub (lower case intentional)

I met President Ford when he was just a congressman from Michigan. He must have been some substantial congressman, as he was on a speaking tour, including Pullman. As fate would have it, a high school buddy, fellow Boy Scout, and pilot later to fly for United had been engaged to fly him around the state, first to Wenatchee, then to Pullman.

Since my bud had to cool his heels while Ford spoke, and since I was attending school at WSU, he called me up to entertain him for an hour or so.

I was at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport when they landed, and debarked. John was gracious in introducing me, and Ford seemed like a regular guy, real genuine. Just before he was hustled off by the WSU folks, he turned to me and said, “Mark, when I was in Wenatchee they gave me a box of beautiful apples. I will be on the road for the rest of the week, so will have a difficult time carting them around. Can you take them back, and hand them out to your friends?”

Well, sure, like college kids don’t like to eat.

A simple gesture from a regular guy, which was much appreciated.

Perhaps that was before politics was the hardball game it is today, but I doubt it. I suspect that it was more an indication of the personality and graciousness of the man who was to one day become President.

The Geezer

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Geezer's holiday wishes for others

Mark’s holiday wishes.

Ok, this isn’t my Christmas list, let's be clear about that.

One thing the Geez always wants to do, but never seems to get to it, is to just do some reflecting on life, and things in general. No, you won’t see any rants here, but you will see what I “see”, and what I wish for those things that I see.

The Geez lives in a trailer park, he likes to say. It really isn’t a trailer park, and he doesn’t live in a trailer. He lives in a 4-plex which is located in a trailer park. But, it isn’t even really a trailer park, but instead a residential RV park. Only about three real house trailers in here, the rest are either powered recreational vehicles, or recreational trailers, not made with longevity in mind, or designed for constant occupancy. If you are wondering, let the Geez edumacate you. A house trailer has no holding tank, an RV does.

This is not, to borrow a Tom Leykis term, your “prime demographic”. Some work, most are on the dole of some sort. Some have issues, like my convicted felon drug dealer neighbor, or my level three sex-offender neighbor. Not unlike the folks you live around, mine just admit to it.

So, what for these folks?

For Val, no allergies, and lots of junk to sell. For Carol, take your meds, honey, and life will be better, and less of a struggle for you. Mr. Ed, with your house trailer that can’t be moved, may this place not sell to someone who wants to build something else on it. Hope the lazy B keeps you employed sweeping floors for them. Keith, and Mattie, thank for the Christmas card, it means a lot coming from my neighbors. Mattie is the 40 pound—or so it seems—cat that was a stray, called Mattie because the cat was just a huge hair mat before Keith took him/her in.

Larry, well, he will do ok. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a stash-o-cash somewhere, under his mattress. Laney, who just left us to run off to Nawrleans with a guy she only met in person once, a happy, mutually fulfilling life, free of using others, mutual or not.

Gerald, glad you finally got on SS, dude. Tough to be single, alone, but keep up a good face, after being a laborer all your life, then finding no one wants to hire you when you get to your late 50’s. Nick, bless you Nick. Hope I see you often at the library, and you continue to grow, learn and investigate as you pass age 85. You are special. You are the only person I know who still has, and uses, a rotary phone.

For El Gato, the formerly stray cat, may I be able to give you love, and return the love and companionship you have shown me.

So, those are the neighbors.

My dear friends and family seem to be moving forward, Karen and Guinn, like an old married couple. Well they are, sort of. Diane and Keith, getting married at, uh, “over 65”. And fie on that person who mentioned at the reception, “what number is this for Keith? 4? 5?”

Actually, I think it is five, but who cares. If they get along, and they do, very well, good for them. Of course, the fact that Diane is still “hot” at 65, well, the Geez never thought he would say that about a 65 year old.

Yes, some folks I know and my family are getting along well. You know who you are, and I have fond wishes for you, too, but you probably need a bit less praying, attention, or whatever from me. You will do just fine, you know how the game is played, and have the tools to play with.

Lastly, for all the kids who don’t have a strong, frequent relationship with both parents, regardless of their parenting skills, I wish you continued involvement with both. There are lessons to be learned, both from “good” and “less skilled” parents. May you recognize the benefits of their hard work, perseverance, self-reliance, and benevolence.