Monday, April 24, 2023

What to Keep?

     Now that ski season is over, I am spending more time at my Cornell office dealing with archiving papers accumulated from 1958 to present, during my active and emeritus years as an academic.  I think it must be a built in characteristic of humans to save items that are meaningful (or maybe not) in our lives. The items we accumulate can have both physical implications as well as relational aspects.   The physical and the relational usually become intertwined in intricate ways.

    In the ski world, I have found it hard to dispose of obsolete skis that I used for many years.  These antiques have memories embedded in their structures.  However, in the last few years I have taken the bold step to pare down to one pair of skis!  This fits with the minimalist life style my wife and I try to maintain.  If it hasn't been used for a long time, it is appropriate to pass it on to someone who might have a use for it.  I notice that as time passes stuff does build up in spite of our zealous disposal lifestyle.   Decisions in this realm area are easier than in the relational element.

    Here is a thought about sentimental items in the realm of correspondence   involving our human relationships.  How many old greeting cards should one keep?   If you have what my family calls an appreciation file, do you really have to keep everything or is just a sample sufficient?  

    Now I will go  back to the office files I already mentioned.   I had not reviewed my saved correspondence with a multitude of contacts over about 62 plus years!  As I began to go through the files I was led down innumerable memory paths!   The reminders in the files ranged all over the place.   There were numerous notes from former students that warmed my heart to hear of their joys, successes and sometimes troubles.  Significant milestones were highlighted in the saved papers.   Some of the predictions of future events jumped out to me with the realization that many of them had come true.   The question then arose- were they significant enough to preserve for history?  I could go on at length in this vein but will not.   My concluding point is that all of us one time or another have to decide what to keep and what to throw away.   There is even a biblical admonition about this in Ecclesiastes.  There are times to gather and times to throw away.  We need the wisdom of Solomon to know the difference.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Dregs of the Ski Season

       Here we are past the middle of April and bits of snow keep hanging around at some many ski areas in the east.  I still receive multiple postings on Facebook of adventures still being had on the slopes.  Corn snow is the surface and many a fine run can be achieved.   In Utah my son, granddaughter and daughter-in-law just posted some awesome pictures of skiing at Alta and Snowbasin!    Days in the sun slicing through great corn snow!  How long is this transition going to last?  Who knows?

    Although the dregs of the season are still out there to tempt many folks to keep going on the slopes, I have made the transition to summer/spring activities  Even mowed the lawn this past Sunday.   Recently took my first E-bike ride of the season and I am contemplating getting on the tennis court as soon as some warm weather returns.  My data base for my skiing activities has been brought up to date and is filed away.  Although skiing can dominate my thinking during the season, when it is over I find myself ready for other adventures.   

    Time to plan some hiking trips and perhaps some new travel.


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Birthday Musings

    Today I am celebrating my 88th birthday.   Truly I qualify as a geezer by some measurements and certainly can embrace identification as a Tough Old Geezer Skier at the end of the 2022-23 season.  Thankfully, I have more or less enjoyed 74 days on the slopes enduring a variety of conditions from Bluebird Days to entirely miserable rainy and sleety days as well.  

    I am glowing from a plethora of well wishes form friends and family in multiple forms including US Mail, texting, phone calls and Facebooks postings.  You can forget about Twitter in my universe.  I am at my limit of apps for connection.

    I am musing about my generation in relation to the changes in our society as the decades have progressed.  The most recent shooting in a Kentucky bank shakes me to the core.  It seems our country has gone off the rails regarding compassion and civility for our human companions.  I grew up in a hunting culture!  We didn't need assault weapons to hunt squirrels, rabbits and pheasant.   We didn't need to be armed to go to the store or visit with our neighbors.  In my universe a sidearm was totally unnecessary.   When will this current idiocy end?   When my grandchildren and great grandchildren turn 88 will there be a country that honors human life to the extent it will curb the instincts to destroy?  

    On a more positive note even though I see the deterioration in civility in society, I still see signs of hope.  Each day can be an opportunity to serve.  The support one gets from a whole spectrum of acquaintances, friends and family on a birthday is heartwarming.  Rather than lamenting the decline of good manners I find comfort in living each day to fullest and strive to be a positive force wherever I am.


Thursday, April 6, 2023

Legendary Figures

     Legendary figures do not always come in the form of famous people.  Many of our friends and neighbors need to be honored as legendary figures as well.  Today I was jolted by seeing the death notice of one of my long time ski partners and friend.  Even though he was into his early nineties, it was a blow to note his passing.  

    Allen Bushnell was a brilliant man.  He became a noted designer and taught at Cornell University for many years.  He could design and make jewelry, do water colors and create interior designs for senior living as well as suggest pedestrian communities.  

    I had the pleasure and challenge of being a friend and companion after he retired and became a member of our Tough Old Geezer Skiers group at Greek Peak Mountain Resort.   Allen was a World War II veteran having served in the United States Navy.  He was just a youngster at the time of his service.  His artistic talent was recognized by a superior officer and ended up giving him an opportunity in his duties to create art to be painted on some ship items.

    Allen was a Ski jumper in the days when you packed your own hill and jumped out onto a frozen lake.  His tales of crashes and successes in this endeavor were thrilling and disturbing.

    Up until a few years ago Allen was a regular on the ski slope at Greek Peak.  He was an accomplished and aggressive skiers up to almost the end of his active days.  Regrettably as he approached his nineties balance became an issue and I can remember a few times in those latter days I was able to assist him recovering from a fall.

Although he has not been skiing for these last few years, all of us in the geezer crowd will not forget his presence.   I mourn his passing as I am sure many others of our group and certainly his family will do likewise.

God bless you my dear friend.  It was quite a ride and may you have eternally joyful ski runs for eternity.