Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Sunday musings…12/4/2022

1 Browns. Anyone think the choice of an 11 game suspension which made DeShawn Watson’s debut come against his old team was a coincidence?

2 700. Number of days since DeShawn Watson suited up and played a live football game. Anyone surprised that he was terrible?

3 Jets. Every time I think about how depressing it’s been to live in a city where the collective regional mood on 20 or so Mondays is determined by such a crummy football team, I remember that I could live in an enclave of Jets fans.

4 Parade. In yet another example of the slow, agonizing death of what used to be the center of Cleveland media, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has stopped paying to add Parade Magazine to its Sunday paper. I learned what mattered to Cleveland and to people who lived in Cleveland by reading the PD cover-to-cover every day when I moved here in 1991.

The demise of the once meaningful daily newspaper is neck and neck with the de-hubbing of what was once the largest airport in the country as emblematic of a city still in decline.

5 Endure. Do you have elderly relatives who are still in possession of their faculties? If you do I can’t encourage you enough to sit down and engage them on pretty much any topic they wish. Early days in their life? For sure. Learn about the history of your family. What it was like to live in dangerous times? times of privation? Absolutely. Regardless of what you may hear or read we are living in an era of unprecedented prosperity in a historical context. Hunger? Climate impacting the lives of Americans (not just their anxieties about the future)? Ask your eldest elders about the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl days.

It’s quite obvious that The Grapes of Wrath was not on the high school reading list of most climate warriors.

We could do worse that to ask to be adopted for a bit by my colleague John Berdhal’s grandmother. Annabelle Loken, R.N. is 97 years young, and according to John she is more than happy to dispense some hard-earned wisdom to any young’uns who are willing to listen. That would mean pretty much all of us. No less than the great Dick Lindstrom, the most famous living eye surgeon and one of John’s mentors, found Ms. Loken’s wisdom so compelling that he quoted her in one of his bi-monthly essays:

“Enjoy when you can. Endure when you cannot.”

This is just gold. Remember, this woman is 97 years old. She was born after WWI but was a teenager during the Great Depression. She came of age, was educated, and started a family during WWII. I believe she lived most of her life in South Dakota, hardly a go-go metropolitan city life. And yet she leads her admonition about life with joy. “Enjoy when you can.” No looking over your shoulder to see what might be gaining on you. Enjoy your life when life allows you something to enjoy. No waiting for the sound of the other shoe dropping. Nope. Listen instead for the beat of the band as both feet dance with joy.

I find the words she choses in her second sentence very interesting. Think about “endure” for a moment. Not fight. Not “carry on” or the like. No, endure is what she chooses. This is clearly a woman who has had less at times over her lifetime. I sense that these were times that she considered “between” times. Between the times when joy might be there to be had. She chooses “cannot” rather than “must” in the second sentence. It’s not that you are forced to endure, you are simply living in a time when you cannot enjoy life, and so must endure until that next period where you do, indeed, enjoy what life has brought you.

Ms. Loken seems to be a very optimistic person, don’t you think? I mean, any time you have a chance to enjoy she is saying that you should do just that. My bet is that if you ever had a chance to chat with this extraordinary person that she would say that you MUST enjoy if joy is there to be had. Those times where enjoyment is scarce? Times of hardship like those Dust Bowl days in the Great Plains, including South Dakota? Well, those we simply endure in the belief that they will pass.

So many of Beth’s and my elders left us without telling their stories. For sure, some did share wisdom. My Mom called while I was writing and offered a couple of pearls as is her wont (Mom is still an active parent!). I’ll have to ask my friend John if his Grandma Annabelle has shared stories to go along with her wisdom. If that little bit of poetry she did share, “Enjoy when you can. Endure when you cannot”, is any indication, it’s easier to understand how it is that John has turned out to be the extraordinary person that many of us are privileged to call our friend.

So do yourself a favor. Seek out the oldest members of your family. If you are a little short on older relatives go find someone else’s elders and bathe in the poetry of their lives, of their wisdom. Annabelle Loken is 97 years old. How fortunate that I got to share a tiny bit of her wisdom while she was still here to share it.

I’ll see you next week…

2 Responses to “Sunday musings…12/4/2022”

  1. December 5th, 2022 at 2:04 am

    David Granet says:

    Jet fan here. Enjoyed Super Bowl 3. Endured the rest. Met my wife at a Jet game so all worth it…

  2. December 5th, 2022 at 8:18 am

    drwhite says:

    I see what you did there!

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