This recent snap of cold weather and a strong north wind brought home the reality that the head hair has thinned and a good old stocking cap can feel pretty good.
The cold head also brought up some questions that I have no answers. For example:
Why does a guy lose hair on the top of his head and still need to go the barbershop regularly because the hair on the sides of his head needs cutting?
Why do eyebrows need trimming when the top of the head remains smooth as a baby’s bottom?
And why does hair sometimes grow from an earlobe when it becomes impossible to grow a good crop of hair on the old dome?
I guess the only logical answer to these questions is a man grows a head of hair to keep the economy growing, too. You see, if all men had a good head of hair, there would be no need for stocking caps and other head warmers. There would be no need for barbershops and barbers or salons and hair stylists to serve those with a chrome dome.
The men with a thin head of hair still continue to make their regular stops for the side trims, brow and ear clips, thus making their financial contribution to the local economy.
Now that brings up the next question: Why no haircut discounts for men who have no hair on top?
I could answer that question saying it is probably the same reason there is no discount for a copy of the newspaper if you don’t plan to read all of it. *** While on the subject of men’s grooming, I am told it is now becoming popular to have nail shops for men. I can’t visualize myself heading into a shop asking for a manicure, especially when in my childhood days I chewed my fingernails. Currently on the West Coast men are patronizing nail shops, aka as “man caves,” featuring a pour of scotch, football games on flat screen TVs, dim lights and soft, deep, leather chairs. And — oh, my gosh — the manicurist will even put polish on the nails!
There has been plenty of thought going into these new establishments. But I think one owner could have chosen a more “comforting name” for his establishment. He tagged his “Hammer and Nails.” It would be hard to loosen up in that establishment when you were anticipating when the “Hammer” was going to drop.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register
A stich in time for Great Grandma Ruby
Gone are the days when I’ll be introduced as the “Outlaw,” followed by the question, “Do you know the difference between a son-in-law and an outlaw?” Her answer was always the same, “Outlaws are wanted.”
That introduction and answer came from the betterhalf’s mother, known by family members as “Mom, Grandma Ruby, or Great Grandma.”
Ruby Lancaster passed away this past week at the age of 92. She had a good life. In fact, she had a great life – one we all wished we could have.
Grandma Ruby was married to her husband Raymond for over 70 years. Raymond died in 2010 and she continued to live in their apartment at the Nebraska Masonic Home in Plattsmouth until her death. But, this story is not about a death. It’s about a life fulfilled to the very end and one of love and happiness. Her life served as a great example for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as her friends.
Grandma Ruby was a dedicated farm wife helping with harvest, feeding cattle, raising chickens, cooking farmer-sized meals and eking out an agricultural living in the early years. However, when the betterhalf and her sister got married and left the homeplace, “Mom” embarked on a new career. She became a licensed beauty operator and opened a salon at the farmstead. Years later she reverted back to her real occupational love and hobby, which was sewing.
For years she was an accomplished sewer taking $1 a yard Pendleton fabric and making wool skirts and jackets and even expanded to formals for proms for her girls when they were in high school. After both daughters married her labors continued with dresses, alterations and eventually baby clothes for their expanding families. (I hesitate to mention the alterations also included expanding waistlines for their parents’ wardrobes, too.) After a few more years, Ruby really got serious about her sewing. She moved on as a volunteer seamstress for charities and filling the stitching needs of others.
She was honored by the American Cancer Society for making over 6,000 “wig bags” for cancer patients. She was a regular among several Lincoln seamstresses who provided baby clothes, book and diaper bags for young high school mothers. Once a month she made the trip to Lincoln delivering at least 100 of those items each time.
Added to her must-do list were school work bags for pre-schoolers and Headstart programs in the eastern Nebraska area, including Aurora and Hampton. She continued sewing for nursing homes and hospitals making fitted walker and wheelchair bags for patients.
In fact, Ruby became so busy she needed a larger apartment at the Masonic Home to house her cutting table. Soon that apartment became known as the place where she was “cutting up” with her occasional resident-volunteer helpers.
We visited that apartment the day after her death and it was one of eerie silence. It was broken momentarily when a gentleman entered the door looking for a couple of items she was mending for him. There the items were completed and folded neatly on her table. It was as if Ruby anticipated her own death a few days earlier before heading to the hospital.
There were no more bolts of cloth left in her storage area. The sewing machines were stilled. You had the feeling her final few busy weeks of “I’ve got to get this sewing done” was a predomination of what was about to come. She always was one who dictated her terms. I guess the good Lord listened and granted her request.
But, I’ve got a feeling Ruby’s still sewing up there in heaven to the echo of her husband’s organ music. I only hope that UPS man has no problem finding her new address when he delivers those bolts of sewing material.
Well, it’s time to sign off one last time as the “Outlaw,” aka RL Furse, Publisher Emeritus
Definition of ‘adjusted retired couples’ debated
While I was scanning a daily newspaper the other morning, an article written by a family counselor caught my eye. The subject matter of the article covered the lifestyles of “adjusted” retired couples. I may have read between the lines a little bit, but it seemed most of the counselor’s comments were directed to the male household family member.
I wanted to make sure I was an “adjusted” member of those adjusted retired couples the author was talking about, so I continued reading. It became even more evident that if the goal of an adjusted retired couple was met, most of the “adjustments” had been made by the male spouse. Thus, my analysis indicated I had a lot of work to do and I better get going if I wanted to be a “well-adjusted” member of our household.
The article stressed when you retire and the wife is busy, both should share household duties at least a couple times a week. Now, the counselor-author wasn’t just talking about taking out the garbage. She was talking about those big chore duties such as cooking meals, cleaning windows and grocery shopping. Putting the newspaper aside, I decided I should test the betterhalf’s response to a couple of my ideas regarding chore duties.
I called to the betterhalf, who was in the other room and asked, “What do you think about me helping you in the kitchen prepare a few meals?”
That brought her into the room where I was sitting and I could tell by the puzzled look on her face she couldn’t believe what she just had heard coming from my lips. I also noticed the adjusted couple idea in a kitchen wasn’t going to be her cup of tea. She emphatically said, “I’m in charge in the kitchen and the only time I like to have you help in the kitchen is up at the Minnesota cabin where there is no automatic dishwasher.” Enough said.
I guess I’m back to my old duties of taking out the garbage on Thursday morning; cleaning the garage; running the snowblower; and doing minor home repairs.
And what about pursing that title of an “adjusted retired couple”? I would think being married for more than 54 years should qualify us as pretty “adjusted.” ***
Here are some excellent comments from a highly regarded teacher as she recently spoke before a large student audience. She said she reminded her students that in today’s world you can still be anything you want to be, but you have to prepare.
“You can achieve your dreams, but you must prepare for that achievement,” she added. She emphasized the road toward achievement can be challenging and cited, as an example, taking subjects such as chemistry in high school and college if you wanted to become a doctor. Her emphasis on preparation for achievement should not only be a message directed to students, but to serve us adults as well.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register
Retired, but still living by a clock and deadlines
It’s been a tough couple of weeks here on the homefront ever since the Huskers pulled off the miracle catch and win over Northwestern.
It was quite a catch and I watched every bit of it on TV. The only problem . . . the betterhalf and I were at the game and I persuaded the betterhalf to leave the stadium with just more than a minute left on the game clock so we could beat the traffic.
Yep, it’s been quite a couple of weeks, thanks particularly to those who called my loyal Husker fan-spouse via cellphone right after the catch asking her how she liked the win. Thanks to those callers from Chicago, Phoenix, Minnesota and various Nebraska locations, I’ve heard her repeat my name in vain many times since then. Compounding my problem are the delayed e-mail messages that continue to flow into the home computer and serve as a daily reminder, stirring her ire.
At first I attempted to justify leaving the game early by pointing out she was able to see the Huskers hold their opponent to a field goal when we passed by a tailgater’s TV. Then I noted when we arrived at the car she was able to listen to the radio describe the last four seconds of action. “And besides,” I said, “you’ve got the game taped on two TV sets at home so you can replay it and actually see it better than you would have at the stadium.”
I prefer to make no comment on her reaction.
I must remark I’ve never seen traffic so low after a ballgame as when we drove down O Street. I guess one could say the traffic matched our conversation the rest of the evening. The past few days I have tried to figure out why I needed to leave any place early in order to beat the traffic. A retired guy should feel he has all the time in the world. Just take it easy and watch everyone else try to be at the head of the pack should be a retiree’s motto.
Unfortunately, I find myself still living by a clock and newspaper deadlines. Certain timetables for performing daily tasks are still commonplace in my lifestyle — no matter how mundane the activity. I wonder why I need to get up at 5 a.m. Why do I feel dogs at the Adopt-A-Pet shelter need to be outside by 7 a.m.? Why do I try to read two daily newspapers before noon? Why do I feel I must drive to Austin, Texas, in no more than 14 hours to visit grandsons and family?
And finally, why do I feel I must be in Lincoln at least three hours before kickoff of a Cornhusker football game, especially when I’m content on leaving the game early? *** We’ve been told a boy goes four years to college because it takes that long to develop an all-American football player.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register
What is the best leaf tool, trailer, bags or chainsaw?
I just finished an early quick rake of the yard in an effort to eliminate a one-time major leaf cleanup of those “colorful’ fall leaves. While raking I took a look around and then wondered where are those arborists that tell us we must plant more trees. The promoter who gave me those 10 seedlings following my donation to the Arbor Day Foundation 15 years ago was nowhere to be found. A year ago I delivered 28 bags of leaves to the city landfill before I quit counting. This year I vowed to simplify my leaf-gathering efforts. No more attempting to dump leaves in a plastic bag that supposedly was advertised as easy fill. No more “sturdy” plastic bags that a twig can poke through. No more picking up a plastic bag only to have it split down the side. And no more having to return home with the empty used plastic bags after unloading leaves at the dump. This year I am using the old noggin and just simply raking and dumping the leaves in my trusty little trailer. While I am still in the early stages of my leaf raking, I estimate about four trailer loads of leaves will take care of both the front and back yards. Of course I’ve taken into consideration the fact some leaves have already been blown across the street by a north wind and in a neighborly fashion I shared some leaves via east and west wind gusts with those residences adjacent to our home. Because Nebraska weather seems to change quickly, I could suffer from a great additional leaf dumping if the wind comes from the south and the tree-infested lots across the street. Time will tell if my leaf-disposal plan for 2013 was a success. If not 2014 could include buying a chainsaw. *** Halloween is over and now the question is: “How many of you had to buy additional candy because you ate the treats in those days before those little spooks and goblins rang your door bell?” The better half has solved that problem. She refuses to buy her favorite candies for treats and purchases instead candies she is not fond of. Thus, no Snickers candy bars are give out at our door. *** A local husband returned home after being diagnosed by the doctor as having a cracked rib. He presented his wife with a prescription signed by the doctor that prescribed “no household chores for a year.” After she read the prescription she turned to him and said, “You apparently forgot I have an appointment next week with the same doctor. I am sure you will feel differently about your doctor’s orders after I return home.” *** With the conclusion of the World Series, baseball season is now officially over. A Texas reporter, noting the Houston Astros’ dismal season, brought up an interesting stat after the club posted one of the worst records in the club’s history. The report jokingly stated the Astros were so bad that the Nielson TV rating for televised games was 0.0. RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register