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Every day was the same for Tim Bonner: Middle aged and divorced with no children, a lawyer in a small town in Georgia. Together they face redefining their relationship, as well as dramatic legal proceedings, abuse, bullying, dangerous teenage self-sabotage and southern racism. Click on the tabs at the top of the page for excerpts, reviews and information about all of my books and other work and about me. I will publish it here on my home page, unless you request otherwise.

The media has told us that Mr. Here is what I am angry about, and, in my humble opinion, so should the white working class I am retired. Indeed, they are more affected by what has happened in our country than I am.

Our current tepid foray into universal waters, Obamacare, is compromised to its core by the overbearing influence of the pharmaceutical industry, and even this very small step forward would have been dismantled if only congressional Republicans could have agreed on the same plan to strip insurance from 24 million more Americans. We will start wars in foreign countries that destabilize whole regions for no gain, but we will not accept refugees who have suffered unspeakably—sometimes at our hands—in these same countries.

We will, in fact, contravene our stated principals of accepting the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, and actually enact policies designed to remove aspiring citizens from our country, to break up families, and further marginalize those who have nothing. After spending most of my life in California, in May I retired to St. A week later I left for Europe, where I spent four months traveling by myself, returning to St.

Marys in September and renting a small house downtown. I had never iived in the south, nor outside a large metropolitan area. Marys has a population of about 16,, is on the Atlantic coast just north of the Florida border and is surrounded by small, rural communities on the north and west. I knew one person there. It was not long before I felt terribly lonely.

I often went three or four days without leaving the house. Loneliness grew into what I can only imagine was borderline depression. I considered various activities, including taking classes, volunteering or joining local clubs, but nothing appealed to me. I noticed a lot of people walking along the St. Marys riverfront walking their dogs, and it occurred to me that having a dog for a companion might assuage my loneliness. I had owned a dog many years before, but most of my life I had cats.

I realized that dogs are much more dependent on human company, but company was what I needed. The independent cat was not even a partial solution to my loneliness. Three or four month trips would be out of the question. I also knew that dogs required more attention and care, but it seemed like I needed that responsibility.

I let these thoughts percolate for a while. By February I decided to get a dog. I would get one from the County Humane Society so that I could rescue a dog that might be euthanized. I wanted one that was young, but not a puppy I would have to housebreak.

Finally, I wanted a shorthaired dog who would not shed a lot——more on that later. I pulled up the website of the County Humane Society and selected five dogs whose pictures and descriptions met my criteria. Arriving at the facility with the anticipation of a new father, I told the lady the names of the five dogs I had selected.

She took each dog out of its cage to a little play area out back. Seeing tens of dogs caged, many waiting for imminent death, was heartbreaking, but I tried to keep my mind on the task at hand.

The first four dogs were all friendly and loveable. My emotions were flooded with the desire to take them all, but good sense prevailed. I read her history and the evaluation of her behavior and physical condition by a veterinarian.

She was a year old and had been in shelters since she was a four-month-old puppy, but she had no apparent physical or behavior problems.

I told the lady I wanted Penny. First thing the next morning I went to the local pet supply store and purchased food and water dishes, toys and a leash and collar. I drove to the Humane Society with my heart racing. When I went in, Penny was waiting in the reception area. She raced to me with tail wagging. After taking care of the paperwork, I put on her collar and leash and said goodbye to the Humane Society people.

I led Penny toward my car. She wagged her tail so vigorously I thought she would sprain it. I opened the car door, and without any hesitation, she jumped right in. I got me a road dog, I thought. She sat in the seat all the way home. Her eyes danced, and I could almost see a smile on her face.

Her love of riding in the car continues to this day. That summer we went on a three-month road trip across the country. She had been sleeping on the passenger seat when we exited the Interstate, 10 miles from our house. When we reached the end of the exit ramp, she stood up in the seat and began barking. Somehow, she knew she was almost home. Having a good road dog was just icing on the cake. What Penny brought me was companionship, relief from loneliness and a loyal friend.

She had lived with me about a month when we were walking along the riverfront about a mile from home. I walked over with Penny, and we all introduced ourselves.

The woman, Diane, had a small dog named Bobby. The man was the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in town. Diane explained that a few folks got together with Pastor Rick most mornings at the gazebo around 7: That was three years ago.

Diane and Rick have become close friends and have introduced me to many people in town. They have enriched my life enormously. Penny and Bobby are pals too. We still meet at the riverfront gazebo.

Penny has given me more than relief from loneliness. The loyalty of dogs is legendary, and Penny is no exception. I know, if called upon, she would give her life to protect me. Penny has helped teach me that I need to be needed.

That left a void in my life. Penny has filled that void. She relies on me to take care of her and to be her companion. Some may feel that as a burden. They should get a cat.

Taking proper care of a dog takes time, effort, compassion and money. Penny recently tore a ligament in her left hind leg. To free her from pain and inability to walk long distances, I agreed to surgery, an expensive choice and one that requires even more care than usual.

Penny is not perfect. Although she is short-haired, she sheds constantly. But what loving companion, animal or human, is perfect? Adopting Penny was one of the best decisions of my life. I have not published a blog post in nearly two years. I have decided to start posting again in My Musings. My goal is to post once or twice a week something intelligent and enlightening about issues that concern many of us, an ambitious and perhaps egotistical undertaking, I know.

Below is my first effort. Timing is everything, some say. If that is true, my fellow septuagenarians and I have been extraordinarily blessed to have lived from the s to sometime between today and perhaps the next 20 years. I am gravely concerned that those who live beyond the next 20 years, including my children and grandchildren, will not be so fortunate. If the overwhelming majority of scientists are correct, and I believe that logic, experience and the evidence indicate they are, in 30 years or sooner the earth may not be a pleasant place to live.

By the end of the 22nd century earth may not be habitable at all. It will take a supreme, worldwide, vigorous effort that must begin soon and continue indefinitely, if we are to prevent the unimaginable.

So far we have not done nearly enough. We have the knowledge, the resources and the desire to prevent this catastrophe from happening, but I have serious doubts as to whether we as a species have the political will to do what is necessary to save the planet. I hope I am wrong.

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What the speech made me realize was that recognizing civil rights of African Americans was not just fair and desirable, but necessary for America to survive. It had already taken far too long. I believe that the speech had a similar affect on many Americans who heard it.

We realized that it was simply impossible to continue treating African Americans or anyone as less than human, and such treatment was still the reality in and Equality for all Americans was the biggest issue of the 20 th Century and continues to be the biggest issue in the 21 st Century. Though we have made great progress in the last fifty years, to paraphrase Robert Frost, we have miles to go before we sleep. I stumbled out of my tent at our lakeside campground in Malawi, Africa and headed for the black iron gate.

Several monkeys followed me. I waited at the gate, greeting my 12 fellow tour group members as they arrived in groups of two or three. Shouting and laughter of young male Africans reverberated from outside the gate. I wondered aloud if they would swarm around us to try to sell their crafts, art or trinkets, an experience tourists in Africa commonly encounter. The gate opened, and we braced ourselves. A young man stepped in and closed the gate behind him.

In a flash the men crowded around, then disbursed among us as we walked. Two of them walked on either side of me. One, a tall, chunky man with short hair introduced himself as Cisco and asked me my name. I told him, and we shook hands.

The other said he was Bush Bebe phonetically spelled —unlikely, I thought, as I shook his outstretched hand. His head was shaven, and compared to Cisco he looked about four feet tall. Cisco said he lived in the village with his grandmother. I noticed that two young men flanked each of the other tour members. Everyone chatted as we walked. Neither Cisco, nor Bush Bebe, mentioned selling anything, but I was certain they would.

At the end of the tour my prediction came true. I bought a t-shirt that we designed together. As we stood outside the campsite gate, we agreed that on the back it would have a map of the five east African countries we planned to visit and pictures of a fisherman and women grinding cassava into flour. The village name, Mbamba, would be on the left front. I chose a black shirt and said it was up to them to choose colors for the graphics.

They said it would be ready outside the camp gate at 6: Obviously, their sales technique was effective. About five hours later, at two minutes to six, the guard walked over to our camp and told me Cisco was waiting for me. The shirt is beautiful. I recognized mango trees, cassava and groves of banana plants. Cisco said he was 19, had gone to secondary school and hoped to go to the university. His English was clearer and more grammatical than most of the Africans I had talked to. He said the villagers usually spoke Swahili among themselves.

Bush Bebe said he was in secondary school. They both said they had lived in the village their entire lives and intended to stay. We began to see thatched roof huts near the path. In about a mile we reached a small outdoor market and a water pump surrounded by thirty or so huts—the village center.

I doubt if anyone in the village had a CD player. A line of women waited at the water pump chatting with each other and their children. As a child worked the pump handle, a woman filled a plastic tub. Kea asked us to gather around. The scene at the water pump continued. Kea said that most people in the village were subsistence farmers, growing cassava, tomatoes, beans, corn, rice, bananas and mangos. A few earned a living from tourism. There was no other work for the villagers.

He told us that the well and pump had been provided by a charitable foundation, that it was the only source of potable water for the village. People who lived on the outskirts had to walk miles for water. He led us over to the outdoor market and said what we saw was the surplus produce that the villagers grew and arts and crafts the villagers made.

Nor did anyone try to sell us anything. He said there were no mangos or cassava flour at the market, because everyone grew cassava and mangos. Kea said he would take us to visit the village school and the hospital, and then we would come back to the village center for lunch.

He asked us if we would like to visit his home. Cisco said they would rejoin us when we came back to the village. We followed Kea for 50 yards or so. He gestured toward a hut made of mud bricks and a thatched roof. Needs lots of maintenance. We took turns, entering in two compact groups. He said they cooked over the fire. He pointed at a small table and two chairs. It was the only furniture; the house had no plumbing or appliances.

He said one in five people in the village was infected with HIV, more women than men. Probably, their mothers had died of AIDS. In answer to a question, he said that the average age for girls to marry was Men, women and older children all worked on the farms. They looked as young as 3 or 4 and probably as old as A boy on my left and a girl on my right grabbed my hands. They chattered away, always smiling. They smiled broadly and shook their heads up and down when I said the United States.

The girl, about 10, wore a dirty beige dress that was too big for her. The skirt almost touched the ground. The top was torn and top buttons were missing, exposing most of her chest. Many of the children were dressed in near rags, likely hand me downs from long ago. Only a few had newer, brightly colored clothes. Most of the girls wore dresses.

The boy who held my hand, about 7 or 8, dressed in red shorts and an oversized yellow t-shirt, had a mango partly in his mouth, covering most of his lips. His hand was sticky. Several of the children picked up ripe mangos that had fallen from the trees, split them open with their hands and shoved them in their mouths.

As we walked, although it was just past 9: Sweat covered foreheads and dripped from noses. We passed cassava fields and mango and banana groves. Each hut had crops growing behind or beside it. Those working on their small plots of ground were either cultivating with hoes or planting by hand.

Kea said that they harvested by hand. We walked by dozens of people working, and many walking, usually carrying something on their heads—no vehicles or animals, except chickens. A girl, probably no more than 16, bathed a protesting baby in a plastic tub. I commented that babies the world over disliked baths.

Cisco smiled and nodded. In our travels in east Africa, except in the cities, we saw few vehicles or animals. Occasionally, people cultivated with a hand plough. Only once did I see an ox pulling a plough. There was no irrigation. Usually, there was enough rain, I assumed. The children sang, first together, then by themselves. Sometimes they skipped in the sweltering heat. The older children looked after the youngest.

No adults came along, except Kea. The two children holding my hands pulled me up to the front next to Kea. He smiled and asked me where I was from. I smiled back, nodding. I asked if the people of the village had enough to eat. If a family is in need, we help out. We look after each other. Most adults and children near the path waived at us with big smiles as we passed. After walking more than a mile from the village center, we finally arrived at the school. It was made of the same mud bricks as the houses, but with a sheet metal roof.

I counted ten classrooms. It was a Sunday, so school was not in session. We followed Kea into a classroom. The children stayed outside, laughing, playing, shouting, much like a group of American kids would have done.

The classroom floor was concrete. One of the teachers started his presentation. Kea shushed the children outside without much effect. The teacher told us there were eight grades and ten teachers.

They taught math, English, Swahili, art and music, he said. I thought of our schools in the United States that were eliminating art and music from the elementary school curriculum. Music and art flourished all over east Africa. Are art and music more important to the poor?

The teacher told us there were about 1, hundred students in the school. For most it was all the education they would get. Some went to secondary school in a larger village that required them to leave their parents. A few went to the university. He said that the school was built by charitable donations and it survived because of charity. He pointed to a plain wooden box with a slit in the top and asked us to donate.

Most of us did. The books on shelves in the back, except for math and English, seemed almost random, donations, I assumed, including many novels, some classic—Ivanhoe—some not so classic—Danielle Steele—for children? They depicted mostly village and family scenes. I asked the teacher if the school had a computer. After I got home, I read an article in the New York Times about an organization that was dedicated to providing computers for all African children by When I trudged out the classroom door, sweating, I thought of the children that would be sitting in the sweltering classroom on Monday.

We walked about a half-mile down another path to the hospital, a brick building, smaller than the school. Maybe equipment was in the back, but then where were the patient rooms? The hospital administrator, a tall, thin, young man, who spoke excellent English, told us that care at the hospital was free.

Like the school teacher, he asked us for donations. Nobody asked any specific questions about the care that was given. Nevertheless, the man spoke to us with a sense of importance and an urgency and pride in what he was doing.

By the time we went outside to join the children, it was even hotter. They still laughed, skipped and chattered as we took the long walk back to the village center. Different children held my hands this time and asked me questions—where was I from, was it hot there, did I like living in Boston, how many people lived in Boston?

Kea had told us that English is their second language. A couple of times they skipped off for a moment, and then came back and grabbed my hands. When we got back to the village, our individual guides rejoined us. At the village center near the water pump, a large blanket was spread out on the dirt. About 20 yards back a fire under a grill flared and smoked. Kea asked us to sit.

Men and women set down large bowls of food and brought plates, spoons and forks. Others handed us bowls of soup—sweet potato, Kea said. The women dished chicken, beans and rice from the steaming bowls onto our plates. The food was spicy, similar to the spices in Indian food. We were served bread made from cassava flour. It all tasted good. The portions were huge. The children stood behind us talking and laughing.

Someone asked why the children were not eating. Kea told us they would be given what we did not eat. We all left a lot on our plates, especially chicken. When we finished eating, adults handed the children our plates. They gobbled the food quickly. I gave a few children coins. They grabbed at them with gusto.

Others gave them pens and paper. Children in towns and villages we had passed through begged for pens and paper when we stopped. That was usually their first request. The children who had pens and paper sat down in the dirt and started drawing immediately, but Kea interrupted them, put away their pens and paper and organized them into a line. Drummers appeared and started playing. The children danced and sang and invited us to join them. They tried to teach several of our women how to do the traditional African dance.

The village men laughed and beat their drums. Whether they were dancing, singing or just talking, they reverberated a vibrant energy. The joy was contagious. We danced with them. As best I could tell, they had no underwear. The list of what they did not have seems endless.

What they have is less obvious and concrete, but defines their lives: These people, desperately poor by our standards, lacking every comfort, convenience and entertainment that we deem necessary, are alive in the most human sense of the word. In every village, town and city we visited or passed through in east Africa, most people we came within hearing distance of waived, smiled and said hello.

Some tried to sell us something, and some did not. Everyone, selling or not, was unabashedly friendly. Never before in any other place have I had so many conversations with strangers. They were curious, as well as extroverted. They wanted to know about us. They were interested in other human beings, and they took the time to show that interest, and to try to relate to all of us. A few asked if I knew him. Most said something positive about him. Pride showed on their faces, not just in Kenya, but in Mbamba and everywhere between.

It no longer exists in the America I know today. It has been said that all other things being the same, it is better to be rich than to be poor. I suppose that if you isolate those two conditions, that is true.

But life is more complex than that. It cannot be isolated into rich or poor. Life involves a complex set of conditions, relative wealth being only one.

The villagers of Mbamba taught me that wealth is not the most meaningful condition and may even distract one from real human fulfillment, as it has many Americans. Of course, if you do not have enough to eat to quell hunger or to maintain health, or are sick with no means to obtain medical care, or have no shelter, life cannot be fulfilling.

If I thought their lives were nirvana, I would give away all my assets and move to Mbamba to be a farmer. But many Americans could learn something valuable from the way they live with what they have. Many of us never realize what we have done to ourselves. When the singing and dancing in Mbamba concluded, the children who had accompanied me on our tour ran over, said good-bye and hugged me. My tears were not for them. I have sailed through my adult life believing that I had buried the prejudices of my parents who were imbued with the bigotry common among middle class Euro-Americans born in the first half of the twentieth century.

In effect, they looked down upon anyone who was not like them and attributed to everyone in those groups specific shortcomings. Catholics were sinners who hated Protestants and advocated against use of birth control so that they could populate the world with more Catholics. Jews were dishonest and stingy. Native Americans were drunks. African Americans had an abundance of serious shortcomings: I heard this litany of bigotry throughout my childhood, rejected it at about age 16 and proudly considered myself unprejudiced.

The basic tenet of bigotry is attributing some characteristic usually, though not necessarily, negative to an entire group of people, instead of considering each individual based on his unique characteristics. That is, not all——not even a majority——of the individuals within the groups judged by my parents possessed the negative characteristics by which my parents were judging them.

Nevertheless, I am guilty of bigotry. When I moved to Georgia, although it became apparent that attitudes toward African Americans had changed drastically since the mid-twentieth century, I was reluctant to make a diligent effort to befriend any Georgians because I was believed that they were far right wing conservatives, mired in the dogma of their churches, intolerant of those with views different from theirs, hiding a closet bigotry against gays, liberals and Californians which I was.

Generally, I thought they were hard-hearted people, despite the fact that the only two Georgians I knew did not fit that description. In the past week I have met two Georgians while walking my dog down by the St. Marys River four blocks from my home. I was reluctant at first to seek their friendship. One was a woman who recently moved here from Texas; the other is the pastor of a local Protestant church.

I was certain that they would possess the characteristics that my bigoted mind assumed. As you might guess, I learned that neither of them possessed the assumed characteristics. As a result I became painfully aware of my bigotry. During the chat at peopl. Then find someone who will edit your work for you, like a friend or associate who needs someone to edit his or her work; or a teacher; or someone you pay, if you can. Without this, you are doomed.

Not even Jesus can help you. But you are still loved and chosen. Here, have some cherries. I would also be available in the courtyard to register voters. I promise, this will be enough—always has been, always will be. Also, I would subtly be trying to suck people into coming to St. Andrew on Sunday to worship with us. You will end up feeling TOO loved, and maybe a little overly chosen. And I am Exhibit A—God has to love me, and this is not my fault. God just loves; period. You have to invite her all the way in, and let her see the closets, as is, AND—this is the bad news—you have to show her the Bad Drawer.

Thanks for showing me. Hey—are the any of those cherries left? This to me would be a perfect job, sitting with God and you, at the safest place on the earth for me, being real, together, shoulders touching, looking up at the sky from time to time. Last year when I took a day road trip across the southern part of the United States, I published a short book about the trip, Diversity: A Road Trip Across the U.

This year I took a month-long road trip with my dog across the northern part of the country. Based on a long experience with California, I am convinced that there is more wrong with California than there is right. I was born in California and lived and worked there until I was I spent another year there in I know of what I speak, albeit my opinion, after having lived for three years in Boston, a year in Paris and almost a year in southeast Georgia.

A few weeks ago I drove from Simi Valley to Ventura, normally, without much traffic, a minute drive. It took me an hour——stop-and-go traffic from Thousand Oaks all the way through Oxnard mid-day on a Saturday.

I was late for my engagement. On another recent trip I ran into stop-and-go traffic on Interstate 5 from the interchange to the Grape Vine. These are not heavily populated urban areas for the most part. Of course, California is infamous for having virtually no public transportation San Francisco excepted. Anywhere you go you can be faced with long, frustrating delays, and when you get there throngs of impatient people.

Californians spend an enormous amount of time in their cars. Because, in my mind, time is more important than money, that it takes so long to get anywhere and that how long is unpredictable, deters me from coming back to California. The rest of California except the mountains, where there are few jobs is desert. Retiring to California is insanity for all but the wealthy because the cost of living is so high. But, still, when it comes down to it, the real problem is simply too many people.

The reason for all these people is that it used to be a great place to live, and many people erroneously believe that it still is. There are trade-offs elsewhere. Lowering expectations to avoid disappointment is a form of mind control that leads to less sadness and greater happiness. Those who exert some control over how their minds anticipate and react to events in their lives seem to be the happiest.

Our minds generate expectations that make us unhappy if they are not fulfilled. What we expect is in the mind and nowhere else. As I learned to control my expectations shortly before and during retirement, I became a happier person. We tend to set firmly in our minds what we expect to happen, how we expect to feel about a situation that may occur, and what others will say or do. When something different from our expectations happens, we are unhappy and respond in various negative ways; anger or hurt feelings, expressed or unexpressed, are the most common.

These feelings of anger and hurt often manifest themselves in action: Other forms of punishment of the other person for failing to meet our expectations could be withholding money, taking legal action or convincing others to take action against the person.

These reactions, rather than making us happier, exacerbate and deepen the negative, unhappy feelings. Feelings of unhappiness are caused by expectations that in many cases are too high. In marriages or domestic partnerships, for example, we expect our partners to have sex with us on a regular basis. Our expectation may even be specific, such as twice a week. We also may expect our spouse to cook the evening meal. We expect a close friend to call at least once a week.

We expect a close friend not to say anything negative about us to other people. We expect drivers to follow the rules.

We expect our adult children to call regularly. These expectations set us up for disappointment, unhappiness and negative emotions. It is difficult to avoid expectations. At the first book reading I went to for my book Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages, four people showed up. I was disappointed because I had unrealistic expectations. I could have saved myself from that disappointment if I had not developed those expectations.

Fortunately, I realized that, shortly after the reading, which helped to dissipate the disappointment. One certainty in any relationship——with friend, family or lover——is that the relationship will change.

Nothing lasts forever, especially relationships. Failure to expect changes often results in unhappiness. I try to expect changes——in effect, to expect the unexpected.

It is not easy. The change could be a pleasant one that creates greater closeness, but it could be a distancing or even estrangement. If we expect change, it will reduce its negative impact.

It is common to create expectations of how others should act, and most people do it constantly. Everyone has bad days, failures and mood swings that make life harder. We should not expect significant others or friends to be at their best all the time. Human beings are flawed. We must understand this and expect flaws to manifest themselves in everyone. Lowering expectations also makes it easier to forgive, to allow people to make mistakes and not be angry or disappointed.

We would do well to lower expectations of those we care about, and let them be human. This kind of growth is an ongoing process that never reaches perfection. We also have to deal with the expectations others, especially those close to us, have of us. We need to find out what they are, discuss them and resolve whether we can meet them or whether they need to be changed.

Compromise may be required to sustain the relationship. We need to lower expectations of ourselves too. Everyone fails, and not everything is going to be easy or easily completed. I have learned to lower expectations of myself, but this requires constant vigilance.

I am not perfect, and after a lifetime of having expectations of myself, like my expectations of others, it is difficult to change. I must constantly remind myself that I will not always succeed and cut myself some slack. But even partial success in lowering my expectations of others and myself has led me to a healthier life without all of the stress and demands that I used to place on myself.

I, like others, will sometimes be mean, incompetent and inconsiderate. It probably is impossible to not have some expectations. However, the fewer expectations we have and the lower they are, the happier we will be. Looking back on the first half of my month long road trip across America my fourth, all using different routes , I have learned some new things about America, its people and myself.

At the front of my consciousness right now are the pleasant surprises: While I am dismayed at the repetition of chain motels, restaurants and gas stations near most of the Interstate exits and elsewhere, most of the rest of the east coast I have visited is beautiful, diverse and exciting to experience.

While there was evidence of hard times and poverty, there was also evidence of prosperity and vitality in the people of the right side of the country. On the negative side is the horrible traffic I found in all big cities. We spend far too much time going from here to there in our cars. The Interstate Highway system, while efficient and wonderful in many ways, has spawned monsters.

I have stayed off the Interstates as much as possible, providing me the opportunity to experience Americans living, not just driving. I have visited most of the famous gardens in the world, but Longwood ranks up there with the greatest. I hope that most of you will be blessed to see Longwood some day. I am not a restaurant reviewer, and this is not a restaurant review. One of my greatest pleasures in life is enjoying a fine meal prepared by talented chefs and served professionally in a pleasant ambiance.

I stay in cheap motels so that I can afford to enjoy this indulgence. Much to my surprise I found an outstanding restaurant in, of all places, Greensboro, North Carolina. I decided on the Chefs Choice, 7 courses of small plates chosen by the chef.

If this were a restaurant review I would have made sure I understood all of the ingredients of each dish and would have taken notes so that I could describe it here.

There was a pork dish, a couple of fish dishes, chicken vegetable combinations and a multiple fresh fruit cheese cake for dessert. The wine selection was excellent for a restaurant in this location. The ambiance included perfect lighting and original paintings of appropriately food, including one of oysters that you could almost taste.

The service was impeccable. If you are ever in Greensboro, North Carolina or live in or near there, and you enjoy a fine meal, I highly recommend it. I am having another great adventure on a road trip across the United States, this time with a dog.

I have taken road trips with small children many years ago , so I thought it would be similar in terms of extra chores——well not really. Of course, I anticipated the need to keep in my consciousness at all times her need to pee and poop and the slightly less emergency needs for eating and drinking water. It is quite different from English. There are much less mundane chores required and experiences to be had, which I intend to write about. They can be quite humorous, that is, if one keeps his sense of humor at a high level.

This morning, for instance, when I went to take a shower, just after I got into the shower, Penny the dog began barking at the closed bathroom door. Not wanting her to disturb my neighbors, I got out, dripping water everywhere, and slipping, without falling, thankfully, on the bathroom floor, I opened the door, let her in the bathroom, and climbed back into the tub-shower.

I was able barely to keep her from climbing into the shower with me by a couple of sharp rebukes. What I did not anticipate was what happened when I got out of the shower and grabbed a towel to dry off.

She, helpful canine that she is, began to help me dry off—with her tongue, of course. Penny seemed to be having a good time. I have been a fan of yours since our days in the zendo. Even though I can claim no credit, somehow I am personally proud of all your success. I can legitimately claim great taste from the first time I heard your writing. I love your dog tales!

Funny, sweet and real. Hope you both continue to experience great adventures on your journey! Look forward to joining you via your words. My relationships with my adult children are among my most important. Unfortunately, many retired people are estranged or emotionally distant from their adult children. Relationships with adult children, like any other relationship, are only as good as the effort we put in, and they must be delicately handled. I decided to put in the necessary effort and exercise sensitivity so that I could have the closest relationships possible with my adult children.

There is a built in opportunity there that would be a shame to ignore. Sometimes it seems to parents that we are doing all of the work to foster the relationships, but staying the course and being patient will pay off. Because of divorce and overwork I damaged my relationships with my children by not being there for them when they were young.

I have tried to repair the damage, and to a large extent I have succeeded. It takes reaching out, patience, and sometimes waiting for them to forgive or mature. Most important, it requires you not to interfere in their lives. It is not always easy to relate to adult children, and it is also not always easy for adult children to relate to their parents.

It may seem to the parents like another teenage phase, and to the adult children that they are not being treated as the adults that they are certain they are. Before I moved to Ventura, my older daughter, Julie, had moved to Simi Valley, about a minute drive from me. Soon after, by coincidence, my other three children moved a few miles away. My younger daughter, Marsha, by that time a high school English teacher, got a job at nearby Hueneme High School.

They are the products of three marriages. For the first time, we all lived in the same county. This wonderful turn of events was not all coincidence. I had nurtured relationships with them.

My rewards were priceless. Sometimes we all got together. It was a fun, special time that brought us all together as a family for the first time.

After two and a half years, we all moved away, I to Boston, David to Sacramento to a new job, Marsha to Hawaii to live with her boyfriend and eventual husband and Adam to Paso Robles, California to work in a winery. Julie had given birth to a daughter and a son during the time I lived in Ventura. She stayed in Simi Valley with her family. Nothing ever remains the same. Those two and a half years were precious and could never be duplicated. Children in their twenties and thirties still need their father and will seek him out, if he knows how to treat them with respect as adults, and the groundwork laid, if done with love and sensitivity, can last a lifetime.

I did give it some thought. I realized that if as teenagers they resented being told what to do and how to live their lives, they certainly would as adults. As adults, they had the power to estrange themselves from me. I knew that they would perceive the slightest criticism, even gentle advice, as a threat to their independence, as an effort to interfere with and control their lives. I determined not to interfere or express any judgment of their conduct or their decisions and not to give advice unless asked.

We are still parents, but to a great extent we have to get our heads out of the role of parents as we knew it when they were children. They suffered the consequences and learned from their mistakes, including a bad marriage, a disappointing long-term relationship, experimentation with drugs and abuse of alcohol. But none of their conduct or decisions were life threatening and all are fine, responsible adults now.

When they were in their 20s and 30s, they sometimes sought my advice. It was a good way to bond with him. More often than not, I traveled to where my children lived.

Before they lived near me, it would have been a financial hardship for them to travel to me. As they got older, and especially when they had children of their own and demanding jobs, and I retired, it has been more convenient for me to go to them. Another practice that I applied was to be respectful of their schedules, especially as they got older. It is important to give adult children space.

They have their own lives, and demanding more time and attention than they are willing to give me, or complaining about not seeing as much of them as I would like, would result in resentment and less time with them. My reward, for which I am grateful, is a close, trusting relationship with each of them. Each one is different, and our relationships are different. I have to keep that in mind. My daughters are more expressive and forthcoming about their lives, their worries and their dreams.

My sons, like many men, are less expressive and more standoffish than I would prefer. It is the way they are, and I cannot change them. Some parents may find it more difficult and have to consciously work on avoiding the pitfalls. When my youngest, Adam, graduated from high school, I wrote him a letter telling him that I considered him an adult, and that I would no longer give him unsolicited advice.

I wanted him to know that I would not try to control his life, that he was responsible for his own life except for my financial help through college , but that I would be available to him if he needed me. I have kept my promises. Some demanded more attention than the children were willing to give.

Children and grandchildren can be a rewarding part of old age, if the relationships are handled with understanding and sensitivity. A certainty in all relationships is change.

This is just as true in relationships with our children as it is with friends. They no longer need it, and that created in me a lonely, rejected feeling. Black spot on a black back of a black spotted hassock.

How many cookies could a good cook cook If a good cook could cook cookies? A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies. How much ground would a groundhog hog, if a groundhog could hog ground? A groundhog would hog all the ground he could hog, if a groundhog could hog ground. How much wood could Chuck Woods' woodchuck chuck, if Chuck Woods' woodchuck could and would chuck wood? If Chuck Woods' woodchuck could and would chuck wood, how much wood could and would Chuck Woods' woodchuck chuck?

Chuck Woods' woodchuck would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as any woodchuck would, if a woodchuck could and would chuck wood. Mary Mac's mother's making Mary Mac marry me. My mother's making me marry Mary Mac. Will I always be so Merry when Mary's taking care of me?

Will I always be so merry when I marry Mary Mac? Tongue Twister tried to train his tongue to twist and turn, and twit an twat, to learn the letter "T".

Pete's pa pete poked to the pea patch to pick a peck of peas for the poor pink pig in the pine hole pig-pen. She saw Sherif's shoes on the sofa. But was she so sure she saw Sherif's shoes on the sofa?

Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew. While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew. Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.

Freezy trees made these trees' cheese freeze. That's what made these three free fleas sneeze. Birdie birdie in the sky laid a turdie in my eye. If cows could fly I'd have a cow pie in my eye. How many cans can a cannibal nibble if a cannibal can nibble cans? As many cans as a cannibal can nibble if a cannibal can nibble cans. Bobby Bippy bought a bat. Bobby Bippy bought a ball. With his bat Bob banged the ball Banged it bump against the wall But so boldly Bobby banged it That he burst his rubber ball "Boo!

Why do you cry, Willy? Why do you cry? Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A Kid will eat ivy too, wouldn't ewe? I stood sadly on the silver steps of Burgess's fish sauce shop, mimicking him hiccuping, and wildly welcoming him within. As I was in Arkansas I saw a saw that could out saw any saw I ever saw saw. If you happen to be in Arkansas and see a saw that can out saw the saw I saw saw I'd like to see the saw you saw saw. How many berries could a bare berry carry, if a bare berry could carry berries?

Well they can't carry berries which could make you very wary but a bare berry carried is more scary! What did you have for breakfast? What did you have for lunch? What did you have for dinner? What do you do when your sister comes home? How much caramel can a canny canonball cram in a camel if a canny canonball can cram caramel in a camel?

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread. Spread it thick, say it quick! Spread it thicker, say it quicker! Don't eat with your mouth full! Supposed to be pistachio, supposed to be pistachio, supposed to be pistachio. If you're keen on stunning kites and cunning stunts, buy a cunning stunning stunt kite.

Yally Bally had a jolly golliwog. Feeling folly, Yally Bally Bought his jolly golli' a dollie made of holly! The golli', feeling jolly, named the holly dollie, Polly. So Yally Bally's jolly golli's holly dollie Polly's also jolly! Out in the pasture the nature watcher watches the catcher. While the catcher watches the pitcher who pitches the balls. Whether the temperature's up or whether the temperature's down, the nature watcher, the catcher and the pitcher are always around.

The pitcher pitches, the catcher catches and the watcher watches. So whether the temperature's rises or whether the temperature falls the nature watcher just watches the catcher who's watching the pitcher who's watching the balls.

John, where Peter had had "had had", had had "had"; "had had" had had his master's approval. If you can't can any candy can, how many candy cans can a candy canner can if he can can candy cans?

Mo mi mo me send me a toe, Me me mo mi get me a mole, Mo mi mo me send me a toe, Fe me mo mi get me a mole, Mister kister feet so sweet, Mister kister where will I eat!? Can't you, don't you, won't you, William?

She stood on the balcony, inexplicably mimicking him hiccuping, and amicably welcoming him in. The big black bug bit the big black bear, but the big black bear bit the big black bug back! I'm not the fig plucker, nor the fig plucker's son, but I'll pluck figs till the fig plucker comes. Aluminum, linoleum, molybdenum, aluminum, linoleum, molybdenum, aluminum, linoleum, molybdenum.

A tree toad loved a she-toad, Who lived up in a tree. He was a three-toed tree toad, But a two-toed toad was she. The three-toed tree toad tried to win, The two-toed she-toad's heart, For the three-toed tree toad loved the ground, That the two-toed tree toad trod. But the three-toed tree toad tried in vain. He couldn't please her whim. From her tree toad bower, With her two-toed power, The she-toad vetoed him. The owner of the inside inn was inside his inside inn with his inside outside his inside inn.

If you notice this notice, you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing. If you understand, say "understand". If you don't understand, say "don't understand". But if you understand and say "don't understand". There those thousand thinkers were thinking where did those other three thieves go through.

One smart fellow, he felt smart. Two smart fellows, they felt smart. Three smart fellows, they felt smart.

Four smart fellows, they felt smart. Five smart fellows, they felt smart. Six smart fellows, they felt smart. But a harder thing still to do. What a to do to die today At a quarter or two to two.

A terrible difficult thing to say But a harder thing still to do. The dragon will come at the beat of the drum With a rat-a-tat-tat a-tat-tat a-tat-to At a quarter or two to two today, At a quarter or two to two.

Love's a feeling you feel when you feel you're going to feel the feeling you've never felt before. I know a boy named Tate who dined with his girl at eight eight. Knife and a fork bottle and a cork that is the way you spell New York.

Chicken in the car and the car can go, that is the way you spell Chicago. Johnson, after great consideration, came to the conclusion that the Indian nation beyond the Indian Ocean is back in education because the chief occupation is cultivation. I'm a sock cutter and I cut socks. If coloured caterpillars could change their colours constantly could they keep their coloured coat coloured properly?

As he gobbled the cakes on his plate, the greedy ape said as he ate, the greener green grapes are, the keener keen apes are to gobble green grape cakes, they're great! How much myrtle would a wood turtle hurdle if a wood turtle could hurdle myrtle?

A wood turtle would hurdle as much myrtle as a wood turtle could hurdle if a wood turtle could hurdle myrtle. A fly and flea flew into a flue, said the fly to the flea 'what shall we do? How much dew does a dewdrop drop If dewdrops do drop dew? They do drop, they do As do dewdrops drop If dewdrops do drop dew. If Kantie can tie a tie and untie a tie, why can't I tie a tie and untie a tie like Kantie can. Come, come, Stay calm, stay calm, No need for alarm, It only hums, It doesn't harm.

Tie a knot, tie a knot. Tie a tight, tight knot. Tie a knot in the shape of a nought. I'm a sheet slitter. I'm the sleekest sheet slitter that ever slit sheets. I shot the city sheriff. A lady sees a pot-mender at work at his barrow in the street. I am not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son but I'll be plucking pheasants When the pheasant plucker's gone. Suzie, Suzie, working in a shoeshine shop. All day long she sits and shines, all day long she shines and sits, and sits and shines, and shines and sits, and sits and shines, and shines and sits.

Tommy, Tommy, toiling in a tailor's shop. All day long he fits and tucks, all day long he tucks and fits, and fits and tucks, and tucks and fits, and fits and tucks, and tucks and fits. While we were walking, we were watching window washers wash Washington's windows with warm washing water. Sweet sagacious Sally Sanders said she sure saw seven segregated seaplanes sailing swiftly southward Saturday.

Betty Botter bought some butter but, said she, the butter's bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter will make my bitter batter better. So she bought some better butter, better than the bitter butter, put it in her bitter batter, made her bitter batter better.

So 't was better Betty Botter bought some better butter. There are two minutes difference from four to two to two to two, from two to two to two, too. There once was a man who had a sister, his name was Mr. Fister's sister sold sea shells by the sea shore. Fister didn't sell sea shells, he sold silk sheets. Fister told his sister that he sold six silk sheets to six shieks.

The sister of Mr. Fister said I sold six shells to six shieks too! Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore. But if Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore then where are the sea shells Sally sells? She stood on the steps of Burgess's Fish Sauce Shop, mimicking him hiccuping and amicably welcoming him in. Swan swam over the sea. Swan swam back again.

She sells sea shells on the sea shore; The shells that she sells are sea shells I'm sure. So if she sells sea shells on the sea shore, I'm sure that the shells are sea shore shells. A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed. A twister of twists once twisted a twist.

John, where Molly had had "had", had had "had had". Whether the weather be fine or whether the weather be not. Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot. We'll weather the weather whether we like it or not. If you stick a stock of liquor in your locker it is slick to stick a lock upon your stock or some joker who is slicker is going to trick you of your liquor if you fail to lock your liquor with a lock.

Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie? Sister Suzie sewing shirts for soldiers Such skill as sewing shirts Our shy young sister Suzie shows Some soldiers send epistles Say they'd rather sleep in thistles Than the saucy, soft short shirts for soldiers Sister Suzie sews.

When a doctor doctors a doctor, does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored or does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as he wants to doctor? What to do to die today at a minute or two to two. A terribly difficult thing to say and a harder thing to do. A dragon will come and beat his drum Ra-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-too at a minute or two to two today. At a minute or two to two. See owned a saw and Mr Soar owned a seesaw.

Now See's saw sawed Soar's seesaw before Soar saw See. Don't trouble trouble, until trouble troubles you! If you trouble trouble, triple trouble troubles you! Theophilus Thadeus Thistledown, the succesful thistle-sifter, while sifting a sieve-full of unsifted thistles, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb. Now, if Theophilus Thadeus Thistledown, the succesful thistle-sifter, thrust three thousand thistles through the thick of his thumb, see that thou, while sifting a sieve-full of unsifted thistles, thrust not three thousand thistles through the thick of thy thumb.

She is a thistle-sifter. She has a sieve of unsifted thistles and a sieve of sifted thistles and the sieve of unsifted thistles she sifts into the sieve of sifted thistles because she is a thistle-sifter.

Admidst the mists and coldest frosts, With stoutest wrists and loudest boasts, He thrusts his fists against the posts, And still insists he sees the ghosts. Don't spring on the inner-spring this spring or there will be an offspring next spring.

A flea and a fly in a flue, were imprisoned. So what could they do? Said the fly, "Let us flee". Said the flea, "Let us fly". So they flew through a flaw in the flue. King Thistle stuck a thousand thistles in the thistle of his thumb. A thousand thistles King Thistle stuck in the thistle of his thumb.

If King Thistle stuck a thousand thistles in the thistle of his thumb, How many thistles did King Thistle stick in the thistle of his thumb? The bottle of perfume that Willy sent was highly displeasing to Millicent. Her thanks were so cold that they quarreled, I'm told o'er that silly scent Willy sent Millicent.

Esau Wood sawed wood. All the wood Esau Wood saw, Esau Wood would saw. All the wood Wood saw, Esau sought to saw. One day Esau Wood's wood-saw would saw no wood. So Esau Wood sought a new wood-saw. The new wood-saw would saw wood. Oh, the wood Esau Wood would saw. Esau sought a saw that would saw wood as no other wood-saw would saw. And Esau found a saw that would saw as no other wood-saw would saw. And Esau Wood sawed wood. A skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk, but the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

I am not the pheasant plucker, I'm the pheasant plucker's mate. I am only plucking pheasants 'cause the pheasant plucker's late. Ed Nott was shot and Sam Shott was not. So it is better to be Shott than Nott. Some say Nott was not shot. But Shott says he shot Nott. Either the shot Shott shot at Nott was not shot, or Nott was shot. If the shot Shott shot shot Nott, Nott was shot.

But if the shot Shott shot shot Shott, the shot was Shott, not Nott. However, the shot Shott shot shot not Shott - but Nott. So, Ed Nott was shot and that's hot! Seuss Were a Technical Writer Here's an easy game to play. Here's an easy thing to say: If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report! If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash, then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this? What a shame, sir! We'll find you another game, sir. If the label on the cable on the table at your house, Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol, That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall, And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk, And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk, Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to ram your rom.

Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom! Picky people pick Peter Pan Peanut Butter. Peter Pan Peanut is the peanut picky people pick. Ray Rag ran across a rough road. Across a rough road Ray Rag ran. Where is the rough road Ray Rag ran across?

A Tudor who tooted the flute tried to tutor two tooters to toot. Said the two to the tutor, "Is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot? Mrs Puggy Wuggy has a square cut punt. Not a punt cut square, Just a square cut punt. It's round in the stern and blunt in the front. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?

A woodchuck would chuck how much a woodchuck would chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood. Larry Hurley, a burly squirrel hurler, hurled a furry squirrel through a curly grill. I thought a thought. But the thought I thought Wasn't the thought I thought I thought. She sells sea shells on the seashore. The seashells she sells are seashells she is sure. The Leith police dismisseth us They thought we sought to stay; The Leith police dismisseth us They thought we'd stay all day.

The Leith police dismisseth us, We both sighed sighs apiece; And the sighs that we sighed as we said goodbye Were the size of the Leith police. Meter maid Mary married manly Matthew Marcus Mayo, a moody male mailman moving mostly metered mail. How much dough would Bob Dole dole if Bob Dole could dole dough? To begin to toboggan, first buy a toboggan. But don't buy too big a toboggan. Too big a toboggan is too big a toboggan to buy to begin to toboggan.

Sinful Caesar sipped his snifter, seized his knees and sneezed. Chester chooses chestnuts, cheddar cheese with chewy chives. He chews them and he chooses them. He chooses them and he chews them Those chestnuts, cheddar cheese and chives in cheery, charming chunks. Moses supposes his toeses are roses. But Moses supposes erroneously. Moses, he knowses his toeses aren't roses As Moses supposes his toeses to be.

Three Tree Turtles Three tree turtles took turns talking tongue twisters. If three tree turtles took turns talking tongue twisters, where's the twisters the three tree turtles talked?

My Friend Gladys Oh, the sadness of her sadness when she's sad. Oh, the gladness of her gladness when she's glad. But the sadness of her sadness, and the gladness of her gladness, Are nothing like her madness when she's mad!

I would if I could, and if I couldn't, how could I? You couldn't, unless you could, could you?

Boyd Lemon writes thoughtful essays and books about retirement, aging, travel and more. Port Manteaux churns out silly new words when you feed it an idea or two. Enter a word (or two) above and you'll get back a bunch of portmanteaux created by jamming together words that are conceptually related to your inputs.. For example, enter "giraffe" and you'll get . A Cut Above the Competition Our Premier model offers vastly more power than any handheld trimmer and will power through any trimming task and handle light to moderate mowing jobs with ease.