When my last “anchor tooth” split, I realized that I could no longer wear partials, and I had to face the prospect of having my teeth pulled and wearing dentures. Implants were suggested as the ultimate fix, but they also inspired dreams of being in debt to my mouth for years to come. I opted, for the time being, to try to live with dentures. I was sedated when the teeth were pulled, and I awoke to find the dentures already in my mouth. I was surprised that I did not feel more violated by this large oral contraption, but it felt rather comfortable, considering the trauma my gums were dealing with. That event occurred a week ago, and today I am learning to live with my new teeth. They look good and did not change my looks, something I feared. I am grateful for my dentist and friend, Dr. Ron O’Neal, and for my new dental surgeon, Dr. Gregory Langston, who pulled my teeth and made me feel as comfortable as he possibly could, even calling me in the evening to check on my condition. I don’t have the artificially white teeth that movie stars sport, but I have a beautiful set of teeth that fit me and make me enjoy flashing a big smile.
I am an eternal optimist. My cup is always half full. This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for so many things–my partner, my family, my health, my home. I am indeed counting my many blessings and naming them one by one, as the old hymn suggests. I am also looking at how I have wished my friends Happy Thanksgiving in the past.Many times I have used this little turkey messaging clipart image:
If you didn’t receive that message from me, you probably have seen this one that I doctored, making it appropriate for the special spelling on my name, Thom:
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and count your many blessings as you sit down to your Thanksgiving meal.
I know there are many people who ask, “How in the world can you stand the summer heat and humidity in Florida? Don’t you miss the change of seasons?” Well, I was raised in South Carolina, which is smack dab in the heart of Dixie. Carolina summers can be extremely hot, but the winters are mild compared to the chill of the northern states. As a South Carolinian, I froze to death in the so-called temperate winters. It was not just cold in my home state; the cold was the kind that was not cold enough for snow but cold enough to be bone-chilling. So, what did I do? I moved to west-central Florida which is known for its sea-breeze summers and mild winters. I must admit that I’ve never been as susceptible to the discomfort of heat as I am to cold, and I found out that this area too can have its spells of cold weather in the wintertime. Getting warm after being cold usually necessitates water heat as air heat does little to dispel a chill for me. Because I need the water heat for relief, that usually means getting into the tub and immersing myself in water as hot as I dare. There is nothing so healing and soothing as a tub of hot water. However, the problem I have with that now at age 77 is getting in and out of the tub. Now, that is not a pretty sight but worth the effort when I’m cold.
I loved Barbara Bush’s statement that the best thing about being the first lady was not having to wonder what she was going to be when she grew up. Well, I’m now “grown up” at 77 years of age, and life continues to be a challenge. I have retired and can look back on my working years as productive. I am left with a good enough retirement, including my pension and social security payments. I am both in love with my life and with my wonderful partner, Dimitris. I have every ache and pain that are attributable to my age, but I handle them day by day and don’t complain or even wish that I were younger. I thrive on my faith and my belief system which has matured over the years to the point that I no longer doubt whether or not I am loved by God. I’m totally secure in that belief. I look forward to whatever future awaits me. I pray that, when I die, I will have died of ordinary old-age things and not some serious, debilitating disease. I am not afraid of death but look forward to spending my remaining life happily and in love.
Dimitris and I recently made a trip to Orlando to visit friends, one of whom was celebrating her 70th birthday. We had been invited to stay overnight in the home of another friend. I had contacted him and asked for his address as we had never before visited in his home. I determined that I would use the GPS in the car backed up by Mapquest to direct us to our destination. Our first challenge came from “Jennifer,” our GPS. “She” would not take the numbers of his street address. Mapquest, however, did take them, and we ended up relying more on Mapquest than “Jennifer.” When we arrived at Goldenrod Road, we were instructed to turn left on Goldenrod Road North. The address read South Goldenrod Road. After traveling a mile or so with Dimitris telling me that both the GPS and Mapquest showed a necessary U-Turn, we made a U-Turn and headed back in the direction we had come. We ended up very near the Orlando airport and once again turned around. Realizing we were unsure how to get to our friend’s house, we resorted to the last option: use the cell phone. We learned then that we were not far from his house but had not been told that he lives in a gated community. By the way, in all of our back and forth, we passed through the same toll-gate three times. Pfffft.
I remember well when President Bush announced the war on terrorism. At the time, I questioned, “How does the world declare war on an abstract entity? Where do we go to drop bombs? What do our intelligence agencies look for and where do they look?” This past weekend, ISIS attacked Paris, France, killing many young people who were at a concert, in a restaurant, with its goal including detonating a bomb inside the stadium where a soccer match was being held. Now we have an enemy with a name other than just “terrorism.” ISIS is a caliphate, is located now in several countries, and has challenged the world to prevent its terrorizing the “infidels” who do not share their belief in Islamic extremism. My answer regarding how best to deal with this threat is weak, but I realize that it is imperative that ISIS be stopped and decapitated. I understand President Obama’s reluctance to declare another war in the Mid-East as he has tried so hard to prevent us from being involved in never-ending wars. I hope everyone will pray for wisdom as our elected officials deal with this terrorism threat.
I have written in the past about my aversion to exercise. However, I probably exercise about as much or more than the average person my age. Why? Because I believe it will keep me healthier than I would be if I did not exercise. So far as those people who brag about how much they enjoy exercising, I’m not in their camp. My exercise is done at the “Y” where I ride a bike for 40 minutes plus a 2-minute cool-down. While riding, I read. Otherwise, I would be bored to death. I could watch TV instead of reading, but I feel that I am at least stimulating my brain rather than being a bike-riding couch potato. If anyone will talk with me, I’m perfectly willing to close the book and chat, but that seldom happens as most of my compadres have ear plugs and are listening to whatever they have chosen to hear during their exercising. When I come to the end of my time and have worked off at least 300 calories and ridden more than ten miles, then I heave a sigh of relief that it is over, and I head home for my shower.