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You’re only old once…

For my father’s 70th birthday, one of my gifts to him was the book, “You’re Only Old Once!: A Book for Obsolete Children” by Dr. Seuss (also known to a few people as Theodor [“Ted”] Seuss Geisel). The book is one of the lesser-known works of this genius, who lived on a hilltop in La Jolla, California and taught so many how to read and how to laugh. Dr. Seuss celebrated his 82nd birthday on March 2, 1986, the publication date of the book. He went on to his greater reward on September 24, 1991.

My inscription to my father in the book reads, “For my  father, who manages to stay so young… You can give this back to me when I’m 70. Love, Bill.” Since my father passed away on March 30, 2008, he will be unable to give me the book on my 70th birthday. Instead, he gave it back to me with my other gifts to him, on his death. Dad was 85 and passed away peacefully in his sleep. In the last visit by his nurses, they found him “happy and talkative.” I collected the book on my trip  to the Mid-West. On the way to the cemetery, after the funeral service, I was again reminded of Dr. Seuss as I traveled with family members down a street I had never traversed before, Mulberry Street.

“You’re Only Old Once” tells of a “geezer‘s” visit to a clinic for a physical examination, actually, for “an eyesight and solvency test.” :-) Of course, the tests include a Seussian collection of instruments and gizmos. The book itself is written in the rhyme and meter of those other Dr. Seuss books that so many of us have come to know and love. I heartily recommend the book, particularly to those old enough to appreciate it! :-)

The title makes a good point. No matter what age you are, you will only be that age ONCE. Some people “get it,” and some people don’t. Far too many folks with whom I worked in high tech do not. Please understand – if you *love* to work obsessively and “have no life,” GREAT! Just don’t expect others to sacrifice their lives to keep you company in the litttle hell-hole that you have created for yourself. They actually may have a greater understanding than you do of “what life is really about.”

My father did. He worked for one company for 41 years at a time when that sort of behavior was common. At one time in his life, he worked a second job for additional income. He could build or fix or draw anything. With his interests in so many things, he survived the retirement stresses that kill so many folks who have only their “careers.” He survived the death of his spouse. He taught four sons how to live and how to die. We will miss him, but his lessons and his gifts live on in each of us.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™ 

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