- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
A Senior Moment
The other night, my wife and I had supper at a table in the dining room of our local continuing care retirement community, described in its website as “Serving Older Adults in the Quaker Tradition.” Around the table were retirees with sterling memories of having starred. Peyton, on my left, the son of a famous missionary in China, had led Episcopal seminaries all over the world; John Gunn, emeritus economics professor at Washington & Lee University, still asks the sharpest liberal-leaning questions at lectures on the W&L campus; Harrison Kinney, on my right, was a “Talk of the Town” writer at the New Yorker until John Updike took his office in the 1950s; Jo McMurtry, next to him, is retired from the University of Richmond’s English Department. She and I were reciting a Robert Frost poem together, from memory, the one from which the stanza above is taken.
Also at the table was my wife’s mother, herself respectably accomplished with a degree in economics from Cambridge University and a pioneering government career starting in the Navy WAVES and in Occupied Japan. She has recently moved from Florida to this idyllic old folks home beside the Blue Ridge. My wife and I visit a lot, but last night it was because I was giving an after-dinner lecture, “When Journalism Was an Honorable Profession.” (The title was merely a set up for my opening line: “Honorable? Hell, it’s never even been a profession.”)
The Frost poem ends bitterly, as Jo and I underscored with chilly irony as we quietly completed our duet:
Better to go down dignified
With boughten friendship at your side
Than none at all. Provide, provide.
The residents sitting at tables around the dining room, in their 80s and 90s, certainly have paid dearly for such first-rate friends. Kendal at Lexington ain’t cheap. But the lesson isn’t in the last stanza of the Frost poem, but in a stanza that applies to so many of these retired professors, or retirees returned to the little-changed town where they graduated from W&L or the Virginia Military Institute around the years of World War II.
Some have relied on what they knew;
Others on simply being true.
What worked for them might work for you.
After my lecture, in which I mentioned my past employment at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, and even mentioned this website, Like the Dew, John Gunn came up with a twinkle in his eyes. “I have a song to sing for you.” I thought he was kidding. No kidding, he sang a song from memory, from when he was a student at Georgia Tech, something played on WSB radio no doubt. So may you all live well, kids, and keep your memories.
The Atlanta Journal covers Dixie like the dew.
Everybody there will tell you so.
Daily it reviews
Everything that’s news.
It will tell you all you want to know,
[soft voice: "I'm telling the world that"]
Every hour and every day
both here and far away,
The Atlanta Journal’s on the air,
If you want that Dixie flavor in your mouth,
Tune in on Atlanta and the Voice of the South,
The Atlanta Journal Covers Dixie like the dew,
And it hails from down in Geor–gia.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
“All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.”-- William Faulkner It’s been quite a spate of birthdays for famous writers this latter part of September, the beginning of autumn when we slowly let go of whatever is left of our ties with summer. The daily Writer’s Almanac column always provides for interesting bits and pieces of the lives of writers, but this week seems to have been special. From the somber words of Faulkner (born in late September, 1897) to the giddy fun of Shel Si Read on →
Six years ago, President Obama was all for bringing our troops home from far-off wars. Much of that has happened. Now new threats to world peace are prompting some war hawks to push for "sending in the troops," no matter where the trouble is brewing. Good thing our military is controlled by a civilian Secretary of Defense. The military men will always advise on sending in the troops. They are trained to recommend no other way. We hope that the President fully understands that many people in the United States, if not the majority, do not want to see more of our Read on →
Mankind has made remarkable progress in every arena of human endeavor--- except possibly getting Congress to do anything, getting women as hosts on late night tv and getting speedy service from the local pharmacy. Even in this Twenty-First Century, the time it takes to get a "fill" or refill of a script can take "from here to eternity." Recently, I trudged up to the neighborhood apothecary for a prescription re-up. It's toward the end of the work day, the place is crowded and I'm at the end of a long line of folks waiting to be served. (None of the folks Read on →
Over the years of my political seething I have cooled myself off some by exercising an art form, the letter to the editor (LTE). I even got one in the New York Times once. Mostly though they go to Atlanta's daily or weekly rags, or when I'm visiting Michigan, their daily. Sometimes I might browse a monthly magazine, a business-oriented one recently. They did an interview with Georgia Power's new president and I couldn't let him get away with his greenwashing, not when they're engaged in a huge con, bilking the ratepayers, ignoring clean alternatives like wind and solar and Read on →