A few years back we traveled to Great Britain and ten other European countries and thus were “Tourists” in the true sense of the word.  While we had envisioned learning “conversational” French, German, and Spanish prior to embarking on such a journey, as luck would have it, life got in the way and we were left using English and several hand gestures at times to get us through. But it worked.

Fortunately for us though, many Europeans are fluent not only in their native tongue but English as well. Our world is rapidly changing. The demographics of many areas of the country (USA) are seeing an influx of various ethnic groups. And these groups have us at a disadvantage (not their fault) in that these groups know both their native language and speak it but they also know and speak English fluently as well.

During this same European adventure, while on the ship voyage over to England, I casually mentioned to an officer on the ship that I noticed very few Americans were members of the crew. Why was that? Oh, don’t get me wrong, on occasion we would see an American as part of the entertainment troupe but when it came to the majority of the staff – they were mostly from other countries.  The answer did not really surprise me. Think about it! Who frequents cruise trip vacations? Tourists from other parts of the world.

Many passengers on cruise ships speak both English and their native language and as such crew members must be bi-lingual which many Americans are not. As such, not many Americans are hired to work cruise ships.

While this post was written in response to the Word Prompt – Tourist – if there is a lesson to be learned here – it is that with our rapidly changing demographics and ethnic cultures becoming more of the norm and the fact that we are operating more today on a global network than we have in the past, wouldn’t it be in our country’s best interest to incorporate learning other languages as part of our educational curriculum? How else will our children and our children’s children be able to cope in the world of tomorrow?

But that my fellow readers is just this writer’s opinion and quite possibly the topic for another time.  




Many years ago my cousin lived just a few doors away from us and as a result we visited each other quite often. One of the holidays (New Year’s Day) we were invited to spend the day with them.

They wanted to share with us what it was to see color television versus just black and white. What we saw was how much more entertaining television could be watching it in color versus black and white. The colors were so bright and beautiful and made the costumes so much more entertaining to watch. By the time the day was over and we were back home, all I could hear from my wife and children was the question:  “When are we going to get such a marvelous television set?”

Now you have to think back as this was in the mid-sixties when salaries not high, and as was the case in most families – we were both young and struggling to make ends meet and had our share of debt. It is hard to tell your children (both under ten at the time) that you cannot afford such a luxury.

My wife and I decided that due to our financial situation we would have to wait until such time as we had the actual cash to purchase the television and I remember that the cost would be $500 which at the time was quite a bit of money. How naïve of me!

Deprive us of purchasing a color television – my children must have thought me to be a monster. But deprive us I did – for one whole year. However, at the end of the year, we still did not have the cash necessary to purchase the television set without going into debt. So I did what most of us do when we cannot wait for something – we whipped out our trusty little plastic card and went further into debt.

Today, we try not to deprive ourselves of anything that we truly need – with but one slight change in our past strategy. That change is that if we do use our credit card – we only do it (charge something) when we know that upon receipt of the bill, we can and will pay the entire amount due. I refuse to pay the high interest charges that become applicable when the full balance is not paid upon receipt of the invoice.

So – to deprive or not to deprive – that is the question? In my humble opinion, the answer to that question boils down to two simple strategies or rules of thought we must follow:

(1)    Wants versus needs and

(2)    Having and following a good budget

Try not to deprive yourself of what you need in life but be sure to budget for it as well.


“I am old enough to see how little I have done in so much time, and how much I have to do in so little time.” – Sheila Kaye-Smith

Remote Control

What if you could fast forward and rewind your life with a “remote control?”

How would you choose which portions of your life you would like to live over (rewind) so that you might just change a thing or two in your past? You know those things when thinking back to times gone by you say to yourself, gee, if I had it to do all over again – I think I would have done so and so.

But then that also raises the question – if I do change something I did in the past, will such action/change disrupt the future?

In my opinion, such a scenario presents one with a “Catch-22” situation. According to Merriam-Webster – a Catch-22 situation is a difficult situation for which there is no easy or possible solution.

Before one decides to rewind using this “remote control” device, one must take into consideration exactly where they are in life at that particular moment in time. Are they happy? Are they content? Are they in want of anything?

Same thought process must be given to fast forwarding one’s life using the remote control. Fast-forwarding one’s life say five years into the future means that you would forego the experiences one might have gone through during those five years. All the little nuances and experiences that unfolds as one goes through that five year period will not be remembered as they will already have taken place.

And then there is also the possibility that five years into the future may reveal that you are in a worse place than you are in the present. What then? Again with the Catch-22 situation.

So, rather than look to a “remote control” device to “Fix” our lives – perhaps we should remember the words of Lao Tzu who said:

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”



Summer reminds us that we are retired and no longer have to shop during the hot part of the day – go shopping in the early morning hours or after the sun goes down

Summer means we will have to find other things to occupy our time as our favorite TV shows are on hiatus.

Summer is a time to visit the children on the west coast and walks on the beach enjoying both gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

Summer is usually a time for enjoying fast quick meals as opposed to spending long hours in a hot kitchen.

Spring and fall run a close tie to being my favorite seasons with winter coming in third. Summer on the other hand comes in fourth due to the heat experienced in central Florida.

It is a Struggle to Find Time to Write

Writing, be it blog posts, short stories, articles for a newsletter or whatever has become a struggle for me. Not because I am at a loss for words but because it would seem that the older I get, the less time I seem to have for those things I truly want to do.

Being retired, one might think that as retirees we have all the time in the world to do anything we set our minds to doing. But, truth be told, that is not always the case. It depends on what we have set as our daily schedule of things to do. Another factor one does not remember to enter into the equation is that being retired and married, our time is not necessarily our own. Leastways not all the time.

Having lived in a 55+ retirement community for over ten years now, I have seen all types of scenarios when it comes to living the retirement life. There are retirees that are single, and retirees that are married. Some married couples do everything together while other married couples have this thing that they must each have their own space.

As a married couple, we are basically like the former – we tend to do quite a bit together and even when we are home, usually we do quite a bit together. Problem with this scenario is when one of the couple has an interest in doing something the other is not interested in. How then do you spend your time?

How does this relate to the word struggle? Well, attempting to find the time to write becomes a struggle. Although if one has a true desire to blog, write, and so forth – one finds the way. In my particular case, I have learned over the years that I do not need much sleep. As a result, I tend to do my writing either early in the morning or late at night.

Individuals reading my blog posts, short stories, or newsletter articles usually have positive comments to share with me and many times indicate that they cannot wait to see what next week’s blog post or next month’s article might be about.

And for me, that makes my making the time to write despite a busy schedule that takes up quite a bit of my time worth the struggle.



Summer Travels

After being in PA and CT during the month of April and part of May, we returned to Florida to spend our anniversary at Marco Island, FL (mainly because the reservations had been set a year ago and we did not want to lose the monies/points {time share} were we to cancel). But, as luck would have it, we had to return to PA in late May for an event occurring June 3rd and we are so glad we did. It was my wife’s 60th high school reunion and we found out the night of the dinner/dance that it would be the last time that group of seniors would be getting together for a reunion.

Needless to say, timing was right as was the weather. Traffic was not as hectic as past trips had been and one could say that our return trip was rather “smooth.”   In years past when making this trek north to see relatives and friends, we normally shy away from traveling the I-95 corridor because depending on when you are driving it, you might think that you are on the parking lot from hell!

But, this return trip found us taking I-95 and it must have been the fact that since we were traveling Memorial Day weekend (we left on May 28th), we found the roads free from the usual hordes of drivers heading somewhere and in a hurry to get there.

Such was not the case and while my length of daily driving time has reduced considerably from my younger years – when driving 500 or so miles in a day seemed rather easy, I was amazed that we had traveled 642 miles our first day out. Of course it was a twelve-hour day but like I said – weather and traffic was on our side.

Our second day out found us making it to our destination one day ahead of schedule. Normally it takes us two and two-third days to get from Florida to PA, but this trip found us doing it in two. As a result, we were able to see everyone we had planned to see and also spend more time with each and every one of them.

I am sort of the black sheep of the family as we were all born and raised in the area of Reading, PA and all my kid brothers and sisters still live within thirty minutes of each other. So, we make this trek at least once and sometimes twice a year to stay in touch as we are not getting any younger. Plus it is a good stopping point before heading on to CT to spend time with our oldest son and his family which now includes two great-grandchildren.

While driving such distances is beginning to get “old” as the saying goes – it is smooth” trips such as these that keep us returning year after year! That and the good food we eat once we hit Pennsylvania because in this writers opinion, food from PA Dutch country cannot be beat and will keep us coming back for more.