Thursday, June 28, 2012

Days Getting Shorter

  Director, author and celebrity Nora Ephron recently passed away at a far too young an age of 71.   She hardly made it into "geezerhood".    She had written some thing about aging and observed that as one reaches the senior years you should make it a point to enjoy the things your really like since the "days are getting shorter".   I think she meant that one eventually runs out of time.  Our earthly lives are finite.
   I have to agree with her philosophy.   With the shortening of the days available to live life, I plan to concentrate on enjoying my special pleasures and at the same time continue to give back to friends, family and  professional endeavors whenever I can.   Thus, I will continue to enjoy my daily apple fritter, my specially brewed coffee, tooling down the highway in my little Smart Car, and solving my daily crossword puzzles.   In season I will enjoy tennis with my wife and friends and skiing with the geezers as many days as the winter will allow.   I will also endeavor to treasure the remaining days of Nancy's and my now nearly 30 year marriage for the days to come.
    Now that we have passed the longest day of the year, we are in the period of shortening the hours of daylight.  And by late December we will again experience the shortest day.   However, then the days will lengthen once again.   This rhythm of the year is a reminder existence is governed my a rhythm too.   Birth, life, death and rebirth!   The generations go on and on and on.   Each of us has our time.   Make the best of the time you have!
June 20, 2012 Shadow - My Benchmark for the Length of Days

Monday, June 25, 2012

Museum Displays

     I have been writing a history of the Agricultural Museum at Cornell to preserve some of the heritage of  this component of Cornell that was established in 1873.   Between 1873 and today the museum was disbanded and the collections were either lost, trashed or in some cases stored at various locations on campus.  There were six major components to the early museum and only fragments of three of the major components still exist.   I have restored the remnants of  two of the collections; the Rau plow models and the sales and patent models of agricultural machinery.   This activity has sparked my interest in museums in general and more specifically museums that display agriculturally related items.   Therefore, I have been on a quest to understand how museums select and display their wares.   Also the quest has led me to observe displays of artifacts in other settings.   Beyond the Johnson Art Museum on the Cornell Campus one can find a multitude of historical artifact displays in a number of other buildings.
     My curiosity has taken me to observe antique veterinary medicine instruments displayed in a hall way adjacent to the Veterinary College Library, the glass models of invertebrates at the Mann Library and the Corson-Mudd atrium and the Rouleaux mechanical models at Upson Hall.   Each of these sites have done a magnificent orderly presentation of their collections.    Saturday I enjoyed viewing the collections in the Central New York Living History Center in Homer, New York.   Several weeks ago I also had a chance to see an impressive set of displays at the Shelburne Museum in  Shelburne, Vermont.   All of these activities have given me inspiration for setting up a display of  the remaining Cornell Agricultural Museum artifacts in Riley-Robb Hall.
An Elegant Display - Corson-Mudd Atrium
    Our mini-museum now has a proposed site and plans are under way to acquire trophy cases and signage to tell the story of the Cornell Agricultural Museum.   At the same time we look backward at the history of engineering in agriculture as displayed in our collections we will also display items of the present and point to the future.   I think geezers are especially qualified to help preserve history, but also can creatively point to the trends for the future.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Being Perfect?

  A couple a weeks ago I heard excerpts from a poem by Ron Padgett about "How to Be Perfect".   I love the comments he makes in the poem.    As we approach Father's Day I think one of the lines is especially appropriate.   "Don't expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want to."  
   As a father and step-father I have had the privilege of parenting seven children.   I always hoped that I would be good in the parenting role and even hoped they would love me.   Especially I hoped they would appreciate my presence and forgive my imperfections since I clearly am not perfect nor ever will be.   I am truly blessed, however.   During this week, leading up to the big day on Sunday, I have received many beautiful expressions of love and appreciation from our brood.   And even received appreciation from a grandchild and family.   What a blessing ti is to move into geezerhood and participate in  the success of generations of family.
Just a Sampling of the Group - June Picnic

Friday, June 8, 2012

Senior Games - Round Robin

  I finished up my New York Empire Senior Games tennis matches this morning.   Five matches over two days was a pretty exhausting schedule.   My opponents were feeling it about as much as I was.   We all were feeling the effects of some pretty competitive matches upon our feet, legs and bodies.   However, it was a great time of camaraderie even though we all have a strong will to win.   There were five men in my singles 75-79 group.  Dave Shannon and Dave Usher certainly were the superior players and proved it with a one-two finish followed by Walt Schoonaker in third.   This years format was lots of fun since we used a round robin scheme which had each one of us playing the other four.   With the 8 game pro set matches the matches were not as long but still had enough games to give everyone a chance to come back from being down.
    Past tournaments have used a one and done for the loser format which can be discouraging for someone to travel hundreds of miles to play and have their participation finished in as little as an hour. The French Open has been played over the last couple of weeks and I truly can agonize with the players that go out in the first round.   One and done has to be tough on the psyche!   I guess they do get some money to show, but that has to be a hard way to make a meager living.   Truly the grunts in the trenches that fill out the brackets in the lower seeds don't get the appreciation they deserve.   In the past Nancy and I have gone to the semi finals of the U.S. Tennis Open and sat high in Ashe Stadium while the stars performed.   More recently we have gone to the early rounds and enjoyed sitting a few feet from the lesser known players competing in their matches on the perimeter courts.   I think I have enjoyed the latter experience the most.   They may not be the very best in the sport, but they are professionals and give it their best.
    I don't know how entertaining the geezer tennis players are for the gallery but we still give it our best shot and thank the Lord we are enjoying life this side of the grass.   Oh for the love of the game!
   As and end note, Nancy and I for the first time competed in mixed doubles.   We had a great time even in a losing effort.    And our marriage remains as strong as ever!
Victor ready to receive.

Dave Usher -Great serves.

Gerry - Post match smile

Walt -Preparing to serve.