Mar 19, 2018

When you get really really old we are now, people tend to ask you similar questions. What do you attribute your advanced age to? Or, what are you going to do now?

How about shopping? The truth is I don’t miss tennis, skiing, golf, or swimming as much as you might expect. I do miss everyday shopping at the supermarket or hardware store.

We have a good substitute in that some of the Senior Helpers (formerly paid for by the VA and now by a home care policy with a bank that we’ve been paying on for thirty years. Like most insurance they are glad to sell it to you but reluctant to pay claims. Kate had to fight the bank to pay. She did win the dispute!

We pay for the food the Helpers buy with a credit card. The Senior Helpers do a decent shopping considering they have to shop from a written list. They are indeed very thrifty shoppers but not very imaginative and don’t always get the brands or the items we like best.

When I did the shopping I almost never used a list. It was great fun to go by and slowly pick and choose from the heavily and neatly stocked shelves of canned goods, toilet paper, juices, breakfast serials, candy, booze, bulk products, and coffees; the luscious meat and seafood counters; the always delightful delis; the huge piles of fresh fruits and vegetables, and above all for me, the bakery from which I typically would choose a yummy pastry, pie, or cake. Good bread and croissants too.

I remember a story. The wife of a Soviet diplomat in the bad old days of socialist shortages actually fainted dead away when she entered a modern supermarket in Chicago. Having seen first-hand the pitiful offerings of socialist groceries—sacks of beans and rice mainly with a few worse-from-the-travel oranges from Cuba and maybe or maybe not a straggly chicken or two hanging on hooks–in the former Soviet Union and more recently in Cuba, wit long lines to even get in. I can understand her shock.

Shopping at hardware stores was always great fun. No matter how small the store I have always found clerks in hardware stores to be near geniuses. You go in and ask for a thingimagig something to repair a watchimicallit leak in your kitchen. He invariably finds just the right tool or glue to fix it.


The last two blogs have been kind of heavy. Readers didn’t seem to mind. They both set new records in people who opened, and presumably read them, and in a few interesting responses.

One from Gib Docken, a local real estate developer, was especially intelligent and welcome. “Just want you to know I agree with you 100% right about the Hunter Gatherers, Agriculture Age and the 200 years of modern age. And the 3 things that make America great. Tremendous ideas and easy for me to get. I’m also a fan of that other asshole, Steve Jobs! Hope that incident at dinner cause a problem between you and Jane. I like to think she is above that.”

Talking about that dinner incident I probably haven’t heard the end of it yet. I do want to apologize to James (the youngest son of Jane, who lived with Jane and me through high school, was the immediate cause of Kate’s angry words, and is surprisingly enough the only son who shares some political views with me.) I “mildly criticized him” for something he didn’t do.

I do admit I was a little annoyed that he brought some friends of his to dinner and (I thought wrongly) expected us to pay for all the food and booze. Apparently he paid for it himself to the tune of 80 dollars according to an incensed Kate. I apologize James, for thinking you were ungrateful and kink of cheap.

When you come to think of it an $80 dollar expense is quite modest for dinner for drinks and food for Jane and me and a passel of guests if not cheap. And it was plainly James’s responsibility. He was the host, not the parents, See below.

This in turn brings up a more general controversial subject. What are parents responsible for when the children leave home as adults? I know the trend in Europe especially is to live with your parents for many years after adulthood. Not in America. Yet.

My personal view is we don’t owe our children that much after they reach adulthood. If anything ,they owe us. As parents we gave our children life itself, washed their diapers, worried aplenty about their education, health, teeth, marriages, drugs and sex, and entry into the world of work. It’s time for some payback!

As loving parents we are always firmly on their side in most situations but there are limits. Money is one. Jane and I are not wealthy in retirement and we can’t work much. We did spend a tidy sum to bring give them life and our children up. Is it too much to ask them to pick up the check for meals out or in house, and for golf, swimming, or skiing or to entertain their invited friends to the family mansion? I say not.

Actually I personally have little to complain about in the care I have received from Jane’s or my own children. I realize only too well most of them are far from wealthy and they all live and work considerable distances from Wisconsin. Neverthe-less they have assisted us in our old age admirably and unselfishly. Jane and I humbly thank them, one and all.

Meanwhile Jane and I can relax Waiting for Godot.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/ President, Hawkhill

P.S Looking for gift for people have everything but cares about ideas, devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads!)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some good ideas on science, religion, capitalism, and democracy streamed free on YouTube.

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