An old-timer who gives his age only as “90-ish” is forever reminding himself — and others in earshot — about his inhabiting the planet for quite a spell. And he’s as “upbeat” as anyone I know.
Despite his lengthy stretch of life, he says he “still dreams, but they’re mostly re-runs.”
Two other recent comments come to mind: “Show me a man with his head held high, and I’ll show you one who’s not used to his bifocals.” And the other: “The days of ‘plugging’ watermelons are long since over.” (Before you wonder if the guy is Uncle Mort, think again. This one lives on a spread next to my 103-year-old uncle down in the thicket.)
These comments “hit home” — the “dream thing” dead center. Currently in the final stages of writing and editing a book about Mort, I have learned dreaming doesn’t require absolute slumber. Dreams can pop up during moments in my lounge chair, when I’m “puttering” around the house or yard, as well as in the pantry “hidey hole.” That’s where I’ve found my wife’s stash of dark chocolate.
Maybe I was dreaming, too, when an email came with an attached likeness of my old uncle. Perusing it carefully, my wife and I nodded approvingly.
“I’m glad the eye glasses were added,” Brenda said. “I’m sure Mort needs them, if only for reading.” I agreed, then made a “thank you” call to Debbie Fraser, an Amarillo friend designing the book cover for Mostly Mort.
“I was able to make some changes, thanks to Photoshop,” she said. Shucks, the only photo shops I knew about sell postcards in resort areas. She asked if we liked “the eyes and eyeglasses.”
Eyes? We hadn’t noticed the eyes. “The eyes are yours; I got them from a photo,” Debbie said.
Though I don’t think Brenda ever said anything about my eyes being “dreamy,” I did overhear her telling friends my eye color a time or two in the past — I mean really distant past. That’s the way it is when the 50th year of marriage is reached, as ours has. However, I still drive at night. And having “my eyes” may open a whole new world for Mort.
I hadn’t thought about plugging watermelons in years. Time was, we’d cut plugs from melons before handing over the cash. Usually, this was from back of pick-up truck or fruit stand.
If tasting the plug didn’t result in immediate salivation, we’d move on to the next melon.
Nowadays, I guess the closest we get to “sampling” produce occurs when we sneak a grape — OK, sometimes two — before plunking down several dollars for a bag. This practice may soon be outlawed. Even now, I wonder if there are cameras and sirens “at the ready” to identify grape thieves. If I’m at mid-crunch when the alarms go off, I’ll get over to frozen foods in record time, donning a fake mustache en route.
Uncle Mort sees the government’s growing encroachment into our daily lives as inevitable. Safety and personal freedoms are in peril.
Terrorism is a familiar topic, and theaters may be the next target. With two major tragedies there recently, one chain already has announced searches of purses, backpacks and bags upon rentry.
“This could be a ploy,” Mort warns. “They may rarely find guns and explosives, but what they’re really looking for are candy, gum and similar items patrons are trying to smuggle in despite warning signs posted for years indicating they can’t.”
So much boils down to “what-are-the-odds” scenarios. If we happen to be in a theater at the rare time violence occurs in the audience instead of on screen, mayhem becomes real indeed.
Before atrocities of terrorism hung like heavy clouds throughout the world, many dangers seemed remote, unlikely to occur.
Back when tensions were merely creeping instead of running at full gallop, someone said the odds of getting on a plane with explosives on it were ten million to one. A pessimist who didn’t like the odds was told he might want to take some explosives on board himself. Why? Because the odds of his being on a plane with two bombs are 100 billion to one.
Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Columns archived at venturegalleries.com, newbury blog.