It is a good time to be bald

Published 3:06 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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One of the best counselors, friends, and generally good people I have ever known once gave me some good advice.  Bill Burke suggested that I should find a way to not work so much, but rather block out some time to put my feet on my desk and just let my mind wander. 

After receiving that advice more than a decade ago, I had rather limited success in following his suggestion.  It is hard to give up the day to day work that we are programmed to do.  It is even harder to give yourself time to think, freely and without the constraints of our everyday lives.

Today, as I upped my daily walk to six miles for the first time, I found my mind wandering without boundaries.  I wish I could have found this outlet long ago.  It is so ironic that the coronavirus, the greatest challenge of my lifetime, brought me to this place.   

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I was not thinking about the frightening things that we see on the daily news.  I was not thinking about the conflicting messages we see depending on which news outlet we choose to watch.  I was not thinking about whether we have enough testing materials, personal protection equipment, or ventilators. 

Instead, I found myself thinking of all the good things that are happening in my daily life.  While I realize that many are suffering in ways I cannot imagine, I also must admit that some things are happening around us that are good, even in these challenging times.

Some of the things happening in my own life due to the times we are experiencing are totally unexpected.  Like many, Mary Lou and I are rediscovering the kitchen.  We eat together at every single meal every single day.  That would have been a major miracle just two years ago.

I have eaten more fruit and yogurt in the past month than in any time in my life.  I have discovered five different flavors of Ocean Spray Diet Juice.  I have found three different flavors of protein drink that cut the sugar in my normal milk intake by 90 percent.  An unexpected result is the loss of ten pounds.

I have discovered old recipes that were part of my childhood memories.  New potatoes with a thickened white sauce are one of the foods that I remember from my great-grandmother’s kitchen.  Our memories of meals past bind us over generations.

I have learned to cook on a grill slowly, by temperature rather than time.  In the past week I have cooked the best pork loin and the best hamburger in my entire life.  That is a pretty big statement from someone who owned hamburger restaurants for 35 years. 

I have discovered Hornsby Farms here in Auburn that will deliver fresh produce to your door once a week.  I have also discovered the City Farmer’s Market that has adjusted to these strange times by arranging for orders and payment ahead of time.  You just drive through on Saturday morning and they put the order into the trunk of your car. 

I have re-discovered the old hymnal used decades ago on Sunday nights at the Presbyterian Church.  Children would call out the hymns they wanted to sing.  Who among those attending does not remember “Victory in Jesus” and “The Lily of the Valley” being sung almost every Sunday evening.

I have belatedly learned about the many good programs and series on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.  We have watched 7 episodes of Longmire in the past three days.  I had never even heard of this program a week ago.

Blessings are often discovered in the most unexpected places.  The extra time spent with my wife of 42 years.  Every other day phone calls with my mother.  The group texts with my children and grandchildren.  The church services online.  The quick conversations with friends and neighbors as we pass from a socially acceptable distance.

Eleanor Roosevelt offered these words in equally challenging times.  “We do not have to become heroes overnight.  Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down”.

Challenges are everywhere but it works both ways.  Look for those things that are unexpected blessings. 

My longtime friend and college roommate, Bill Moench, was prematurely bald.  I have a full head of hair though it is predominately gray.  We use the same barber in Auburn who was cutting hair when we were college freshmen a lifetime ago.  That barbershop is now closed, and my hair is getting shaggy. 

It is a good time to be bald.