Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Retirement gets even better--and a tribute to Walter Cronkite

Last night after I posted my blog I was captivated by a special on public television about Walter Cronkite--there were all the milestones of public life that I remember--man landing on the moon, the JFK assassination, Vietnam, the Democratic convention in Chicago with its riots, the shootings at Kent State University, Nixon's resignation, LBJ's statement that he would not run again, and many others. And through it all was Walter Cronkite, broadcasting in his matter of fact tone and then in other segments commenting on events and news coverage. It was really late twentieth-century history captured on film, and I treasured it, wished that my children knew the importance of those events to us. But that's my generation--they have their own milestones, and sometimes I wonder what they are. My oldest, Colin, remembers Nixon getting on the heliocopter after he resigned, and I remember Colin solemnly watching, while I wondered how much he understood. I'm an admirer of Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, but I don't think we'll see the likes of Walter Cronkite again soon.
Another good day. Got up a little early--7:24 when Mary Rogers called to ask if we were still on for breakfast at 8:30. I assured her we were, and got busy. Mary and her husband have just opened a car wash--it's certified green by two agencies, which means it's as green as car washes can be today, and she had on her green shirt. I should be a better friend and remember the name so I could plug it, but it's in North Richland Hills. They're thinking of adding wine to their retail space which I think is a really fun combination--get your car detailed and buy a bottle of wine. Mary, formerly a writer for the Star-Telegram and author of Dancing Naked: Unforgettable Stories of Memorable Texans (TCU Press), has an uncanny knack for finding the stories in people and situations and retelling them in a captivating way. She kept me giggling at her stories of life in a car wash, like the woman with a ragtop with a large hole in the plastic rear window. The top also didn't quite meet the windshield, so they knew water would pour in, but no attempt could persuade her to have it hand-washed. So she drove through the wash and left, in Mary's words, "happy as a clam."
Then home to work. I've developed an amazing ability to piddle since I've retired--I played with emails and Facebook, got up to do various household chores that I randomly remembered. Around noon a contributor to the cookbook came by with pictures, captions, etc. and we had a good visit. Then a lunch of smoked salmon, hearts of palm, and tomatoes, and I really did some work--a contributor's bibliographic essay, editing a partly done chapter which I'm going to have to finish, etc. But I really did accomplish something and moved a step ahead on the cookbook and in furthering my free-lance work.
Then dinner with three very interesting women, two of whom I knew slightly and one I'd never met. The relationships are too complicated to explain, but we had a good time, talking about everything from food to politics. It's fun to make new friends. We went to Chadra, the Italian/Lebanese restaurant down the street, and they three shared a maza platter while I had spaghetti and meat sauce--took half of it home and came in under my Weight Watchers points for the day.
Now I'm piddling again--catching up on emails, reading Facebook, reading my favorite blogs. Tomorrow I have to actually go into the office all morning and then talk about three books at a luncheon at TCU. Busier day than usual. It's the getting up part I hate--Scooby doesn't like it either. He must have had a nightmare about 6:30 this morning because he jumped up, looked around in confusion, and then lay back down. I know how he feels, though I had only pleasant dreams.

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