Ground Hog Day, 2006


Dear Friends-and-relations:

Regard you now the glass above. The old joke runs along the line that the optimist calls it a third full, the pessimist says it is two thirds empty, and the efficiency expert sneers that the glass is too large. But they are all missing the point. It’s not how much is in the glass, but how good is the wine?

Thea and I combined have lived for more than a sixth of a millennium (on March 9, 2005 our total age was 166 years and 8 months). Almost certainly we have drunk more than two thirds of the wine in our glass of life. The wine that’s left is different. It’s kind of fun to make some comparisons, but the important thing is not the differences, but the quality of what is left.



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In 1983 in Minnesota, when I was a mere stripling of sixty-odd years, I ran a Marathon (that’s 26.2 miles) at a pace of about seven and a half minutes per mile; Thea was waiting near the finish line and cheering me on; I won my age group! This December in the Los Angeles airport near midnight I walked about a quarter of a mile at about half that speed; Thea was a few feet ahead of me in a wheelchair propelled by an energetic young lad in his early twenties and I was pushing Thea’s walker piled with our carry-on luggage; we made our connecting flight to San Francisco!
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Last year we had a wonderful vacation in Maui with our daughter Lisa and her family; we did exercises in the pool and I took long walks along the beach, snorkeled, and played in the gentle surf. After our planned 9 days we flew home non-stop first-class as planned. This year we started with a similar week in Maui, but then we flew to Kona where we had a ground-floor apartment right over the water which gave a spectacular view, I guess. Thing was, the surf was so high that the management had put wooden shutters over our lanai door with only two tiny peepholes to see anything. The living room was like a dark cave and seemed gloomy even with all the lights on. The waves crashed just below us, and an occasional large wave would send a cascade of water up against our shutters with a substantial amount coming through the peepholes and splashing against the glass doors of our lanai. Exciting – – if we could have seen it! Also, the nearest swimming or snorkling beaches were a car drive away and reported to be quite rocky. No fun. So we switched all kinds of plans and came home early.
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In the 1980s I attended many meetings both here and abroad as Sec’y of the US Nat. Comm. on Mechanics. Often I traveled alone, but in 1984 Thea came with me for a meeting in Copenhagen. We planned a complex vacation trip around the meeting that involved running road races and travelling in Norway by plane, ferry, bus, and train. We took in our stride such mishaps as losing my wallet and going
to the wrong airport in Oslo.
On the third Thursday of most months in 2005 I attended a meeting of the Pocket Opera Board. Travel consisted of a five-minute drive, an hour on a Cal Train, and a half-mile walk. It worked out because Thursday is one of the two days each week that Thea attends the Senior Day Health Center. Travelling together we visited our son (and grand-daughter and great-grandson), spent a few days at a spa in Calistoga, and went to Hawaii.

So, as you can see, we move more slowly and our victories are smaller, but life is still good for us. May you too have a life which is good, however fast you move and whatever size your victories.


Philip                                            Thea