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Archive for August, 2012

ancestral booty

Shortly after my sister retired she ran herself into the ground with joy. A celebratory road trip through the hottest part of the eastern U.S. coupled with raising her hand to babysit her tribe of grandkids while their parents took a time out landed her in the ICU with severe dehydration.

In our retirement dreams we pursue passions put on hold during our working years with all the enthusiasm of a twenty-something.  Sadly, our sixty-something bodies lacks the elasticity of our ageless imaginations. We are soon felled by any number of chronic conditions. It’s the relaxation release syndrome; relax enough to begin to enjoy yourself and a parade of ailments show up for the party. Organs lose their rhythm, joints lose their blue book value and if we aren’t sending get well cards to our friends, we are receiving them.

To get ahead of this curve, I’m trying to lose baggage that weighs me down. I figure a lighter load has got to be good for my health. My baggage is a large house full of stuff – my stuff and stuff I’ve inherited from generations that go back to when the Israelites wandered the desert.   Remember, they plundered the Egyptians before they took off for the Promised Land?  I think I have some of that stuff.

Here is a short list of stuff that makes my house look like a museum. (more…)

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My mother-in-law called us, in tears. “I’m scared,” she said. “D____ is in trouble.” As she described the phone call she had received from her grandson asking for money and pleading with her not to tell anyone about his desperate situation, we knew immediately that she was being scammed.

In a town several states away from us she walked from her apartment to her bank to check her balance, to see what she could afford to send to the man who kept phoning, asking her to send as much as she could. But before she took the next critical step, withdrawing funds from her bank, she did what she’d been instructed to do by her family. She called her son.

It took us awhile to calm her down. First, we listened as she poured out her story.  It took some time to convince her that her grandson was just fine; had not made that call; never would make such a call.

It’s difficult for elders unacquainted with communications technology to understand how someone in Jamaica (where the local police said these calls initiate) could get her phone number. Apparently predators can check random phone numbers against social security numbers to determine the age, and therefore the vulnerability, of a mark. Our call to her local police department turned up that information and a policewoman followed up with her to dispel her fright.

“She was laughing when I got off the phone with her,” the deputy reported back to my husband. Good to know that local police still perform these types of services in small rural towns across America. (more…)

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