Guest Columnist - John Ropa
T.S. Elliot once wrote that "April is the cruelest month..." and he went on to tell us just why April is so cruel. I'm told he lost his calendar, and as a result, he couldn't come up with appropriate descriptions for any of the other months. Perhaps if he had mused about January, he would have applied the same adjective as I would - boring. For once the snow has been shoveled, and once you've had to jump start the car, there is nothing to do in January, unless, of course, it snows again and you to have to jump the car again.
We don't make New Year's resolutions, but we do have a ritual which resembles them. Inevitably, we decide it's time to get back to an exercise program. My wife, Arty, gets a lot of exercise as she returns Christmas gifts, organizes closets and puts away the decorations. I have a membership in a local establishment which allows me to swim laps. And, in keeping with the spirit of January, nothing is more boring than swimming laps. I am convinced that Michael Phelps won those eight gold medals because, while swimming his laps, he became so bored that he just wanted to get it over with as fast as possible.
January is the month when needles begin to fall off the tree, even though ours is an artificial one. It's just more proof that nothing, not even plastic, lasts forever - including us. Regrettably, we're of the age that we have to try to determine how the one remaining is going to function when the other one dies. I leave more specific instructions for the computer, including passwords, and write the names and phone numbers of the lawyers and tax man. For me, Arty writes detailed instructions about the proper use of the washer and dryer. These are among the many key issues that we will either have to learn, relearn or subcontract.
January is also our month for making sure that the wills are current, the trusts are up to date and our obits are written. Arty wants me to write the obits so she can edit them. She also suggests that the picture of her that I chose - the one in which she is landing a nice bluegill - is not the one she would choose.
We also review the ceremonies to be held on our passing. Arty wants a fairly traditional memorial service when she goes, replete with hymns and solemnity. I want them to play "The Pennsylvania Polka" and "Oh, What a Beautiful Mo(u)rning" from "Oklahoma". Arty and I wish to be cremated; Arty wants her ashes buried, but I don't. Life was good. I want my ashes deposited in the nearest recycle bin.
John Ropa retired after 20 years with the International Division of Abbott Laboratories. His e-mail address is: J.Ropa@yahoo.com