Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"It took 40 years for me to get to ten years old."

Hmmmm . . . Tomorrow is December 28. That date rings a bell.

Mr. Charles Carrell (84) - I met "Chuck" during my stay in Dallas, TX and, at one point during our visit, he had something to say about the passage of time - his thoughts about the subject
really struck me and I'll share it with you here. By the way, I especially loved watching him as he recalled the porch setting and how the banister looked and felt. You should have seen him drawing it in the air above him as he sat on the couch next to me and relayed the story:

"Speaking of time, I tell you, when you get older, time fli
es by, it really does. I can remember when I was a kid—say, when I was eight years old—we had a front porch and the porch had this banister. And I’d lie on that porch there and look up at that banister at eight years old and think, “When I get to be ten, I’m gonna be a Boy Scout.” And I tell you, it took 40 years for me to get to ten years old. I can remember just lying near that banister on that front porch, saying, “I’ll never be old enough to be a Boy Scout.” Now, today, I work on my income tax, I take a day off, and the next thing I know I’m working on my next year’s taxes. It just sort of comes all together now; it all comes so fast.

And something else you find when you get a little older. I went back to my high school and the "big" auditorium we had over there, the "huge" auditorium (smiles) . . . why, it wasn’t any bigger than this room. The same thing was true about the "huge" lunchroom. Everything is big when you’re little, and it’s small when you’re older."

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Expanding Our Minds . . . Painfully

Prof. Lyman Ray "L. Ray" Patterson was my civil procedure professor at Emory Law School and I will never forget one particular experience that may very well have removed about three years off of my life-span in a matter of just a few hours. I also studied copyright with L. Ray, but it was the first year final civil procedure exam that served to freak out me and everyone else in the room that day. You see . . . Professor Patterson operated on the assumption that if an individual makes it to law school, that, alone, is a pretty good indication the person is at least fairly intelligent. Given that, he wasn't merely going to present us with an exam that asked us to regurgitate the semester's materials. “Anyone can do that,” he would say. No - he wanted to really "test" us. He wanted to provide us with an opportunity to expand our minds, think quickly on our feet, and so on.

Well . . . all I can say about the exam is that I distinctly remember heading into the men's room at one point as I stalled for time, because I couldn’t think of one thing to write. And I mean "nothing,” which—for those who know me—is really something. There were people actually losing it in the bathroom that morning—crying, getting sick. My memory is a bit fuzzy as I write about the experience today but I do recall thinking, "Get your shit together, Harry. This is just an exam, no one is going to die here. Go in there and move the pen across the paper and, hopefully, enough words will come out of you so you won't flunk out of school."

To this day, I have no idea how I passed that exam.

I loved being able to relay this story to L. Ray when I visited with him years later to interview him for the Eldercation project. I remember how he smiled and, once again, explained the method to his madness.

(btw – if Jimmy Weil is reading this, do you remember playing tennis after that test? I remember hitting about three cans-worth of balls into the forest bordering Druid Valley.)

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Sunday, December 11, 2011


This is Pearl Thuston from Kansas City, Kansas.

When I first arrived in KC, someone suggested that I interview Pearl - knowing that I was a music lover. I headed out to her home one fall afternoon, having absolutely no idea about the musical adventure that was about to unfold. The interview was terrific, that wasn't a shock to me. But once the questions were winding down, Pearl reached into a leather folder and pulled out a play-list she had used at a recent gig. She read through a list of familiar song titles—at one point mentioning one of my favorite songs, "Misty.” I told Pearl how much I loved that song, (and loved Erroll Garner, as well - Here is a great version of "Misty" on YouTube. Enjoy.) and explained that my dad used to play and sing “Misty” quite a bit.

The next thing I knew, Pearl was sitting at her grand piano, playing song after song; I'd say she played for a good hour or so. At one point—with her permission, of course—I joined in by singing a tune or two. Or seven.

I was thinking about Pearl the other day after finding out that she passed away a few months ago. I've been in contact with her nephew who was surprised and quite moved that Pearl is one of the people profiled in "gOld." He told me how happy he is that Pearl will be remembered for the great talent that she was.

A nice lady.

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