People who aged with grace

Morning all!
I was asked not long ago; “Dirk, who writes your Ramblings every week?” My response was that I’d been looking for volunteers for some time. Eventually, I asked the ladies from the nearby, Ms. Fernsby’s, women’s writing clutch. Long story short, call me meshugga, but I pen them myself.

As I wrote last weekend, I took Vili and Vai to hear some excellent music and from a New Yorker, one of the nation’s master alto Saxophonists, Jim Snidero. Sitting closeup to the band I could see just how intent these two were by the whole experience. It was lovely. This week a short video of that afternoon concert was posted by someone else:

Beer Tunneling – Over the past decade of these Ramblings I have either mentioned or alluded to the deep German roots of our hometown. The influx of German immigrants began during the 1800s. In fact, it was not until the Great War (now labeled as WWI) that local street names were converted from the likes of “Berlin Strasse”, or “Heidelberg Strasse”, you get the drift. Additionally German would no longer be the primary language in schools and newspapers were magically showing up using English text.

One thing that did not change, not even budge, was beer production; German beers that is. This was way prior to today’s IPA beer flavor ‘du jour’. These were German beers after all, Lager Beers. Those beers required cold, long term, barrel stored conditions for the yeast to ferment properly.

So, predating the tunneling of today’s Hamas fruitcakes in and around Gaza, crafty German immigrants created a system of underground tunnels and storage caves right here in River City. Eventually, much of the city Center was sitting on top of this network of tunnels. The attached YouTube is a wonderful tour of these tunnels and storage caves. Enjoy!

Our ‘sphygmomanometer’ – It all began when Marcia’s arm began to balloon and the ‘medicos’ deemed her blood pressure a wee-bit high. Since no one wanted to tie her to a table leg to avoid her head floating and bouncing along the ceiling, balloon style, we opted for a better solution. Hence the sphygmomanometer (Blood Pressure monitor) purchase.

I was put in charge of sourcing this little system. I’ll let you know that I am extremely proud of the result. Since Marcia will get her wrist operated on soon, I selected a monitor that would operate as close to her hand as possible; it fits on her wrist..

We now have a new, family, routine. This routine takes place just prior to breakfast and morning coffee. Both pressures are taken, hers and mine, and logged into a spreadsheet. Merely another routine to add further excitement to our ‘Golden Years’.

Staying Active – as this Rambling’s title says, “Maturing with Pizzazz,” till the very end. Recently we lost a dear aunt, Dodie, who epitomized this by staying active till her passing weeks, just prior to her 100th.

Mid week we lost two ‘huge-erians’. Sandra Day O’Conner and Henry Kissinger. Justice O’Connor was the first woman to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court justice passing at age 93. She resigned from the court in 2006 to take care of her husband who at the time was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Also parting from us was, twice over, Secretary of State to two Presidents, and hugely influential Henry Kissinger. His tenure was not without controversy. Still, over the decades he was consistently sought out as both a person with gravitas and as a sage. The following interview by The Economist was made with a 100-year old Kissinger.

If your interest is History, it’s a must listen. But, be forewarned, it’s a 50+ minute dialogue. If, you’re like the other, unnamed, person in our family, you should tab down to the “But, did you know?” section. That should help you.

But, did you know? – Earlier this week, over dinner, Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa was having dinner when she began to choke. Luckily Senator Dr. Rand Paul of Kentucky was sitting nearby and performed the Heimlich maneuver on her, successfully!

She is one of many, many thousands of people, alive today, through the successful application of that technique.

But, did you know?

Dr. Henri Heimlich used a “Bronx cheer” noisemaker device to prevent the backflow of chest fluids while working in a Hospital Emergency Unit. This toy-as-a-‘tool’ became a standard usage device by medics during the Vietnam war.

In 1996 he moved his family to Cincinnati when he took the position of director of surgery at our Jewish Hospital. It was there where he began to study the dynamics of a choking patient. Realizing that when we exhale a breath of air a residual pocket of air remains in the lungs. Using that bit of air to create the channel to expel the lodged food was the solution, and voila, the Heimlich maneuver was born.

The two just mentioned treatment are just two of a myriad of therapies promoted by the good Docter. He lived in nearby Hyde Park where Marcia and I raised our kids. He died at age 96 (Dec. 17 2016) and is buried in nearby Spring Grove Cemetery not all that far from where my parents are also buried.

He is considered a ‘hometown’ hero.

Yup, on the corner again – Chaos & Mayhem that is. Thursday, as Marcia and I returned from some shopping I saw a plainclothes cop wander towards our neighborhood’s piece of blight property. This across from ours a bit. As an aside, this piece of neighborhood stain is owned by a New Jersey LLC slumlord – and for years we’ve tried almost everything to address the negativity it brings to the community; to NO avail.

Within minutes two unmarked cars, six marked cruisers, and four women cops in khakis but wearing ‘heat’ rolled up. I went over and talked with the cops to learn that they were conducting an “investigation” (these things are always very ‘secretive’).

All this means is that this one piece of ‘crap’ property has just eaten up for a sizeable block of time of most of the police resources in our precinct. Plus, the buried costs these calls, and situations, incur by the citizenry at large is seldom seen as an cost-item to address. Any ideas on how to create change? We’ve tried the Health Dept., Zoning, Police, Code Enforcement, Property Maintenance, Trash & Yard Waste, all to little avail. It’s really getting quite old!

Mid-week — we’ll experience an ‘immersive’ experience. That day, first thing in the morning, Marcia will have her Dexa scan. That same evening we’ll attend a Reception followed by the New Orleans Jazz sounds by the internationally recognized Preservation Hall Jazz Band showcasing their “Creole Christmas” evening. We’ll use the evening to usher in our own entry into the Christmas Season.

The day-after will be celebrated with much sleep!

I’m hoping we’ll get to enjoy the wondrous sound of Charlie Gabriel, who at a mere 86, is the band’s elder, play and sing the iconic song: I’m Confessin’. Charlie has toured with Aretha Franklin, and played with Lionel Hampton’s band, also with the likes of Charles Mingus. The band was the first integrated group even as Jim Crow laws prevailed in the deep South. When touring, players will switch out and me? Fingers crossed, I’m really hoping he’ll be on this segment of the tour, enjoy Charlie perform his magic here:

A great quote – All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much. – George Harrison – from “It’s All Too Much”.

[This quote as an early lead into Marcia’s BIG eight-“Oh-No, Oh-My” day!]

Make it a splendid week. Honor those who contributed to our current way of life. Greet those who pass you wherever that be. Treat life as a sacred gift.

May Peace prevail! Shalom. Dirk

Now, on the heels of our Thanksgiving Day food fest. Which year saw the term “Fast Food” be incorporated into the common lexicon (per the Merriam–Webster dictionary):

1) 1945
2) 1963
3) 1951
4) 1972

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