Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 30, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 14

14 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 30, 2022 OPINION 14 Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 30, 2022 OPINION 




Susan Henderson 


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello 


John Aveny 


Peter Lamendola 


Stuart Tolchin 
Audrey SwansonMeghan MalooleyMary Lou CaldwellKevin McGuire 
Chris Leclerc 
Bob Eklund 
Howard HaysPaul CarpenterKim Clymer-KelleyChristopher NyergesPeter Dills 
Rich Johnson 
Lori Ann Harris 
Rev. James SnyderKatie HopkinsDeanne Davis 
Despina ArouzmanJeff Brown 
Marc Garlett 
Keely TotenDan Golden 
Rebecca WrightHail Hamilton 
Joan Schmidt 
LaQuetta Shamblee 

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What do you think if that heading? I’m very pleased 

with it. The title is intended to convey my realization that 

each moment may contain unexpected gifts and that every 

second of every life is a miracle. Given our own worries about 

the future and regrets about the past and the mess the present 

world is in it is easy to forget. Yesterday was my 78th birthday 

and to commemorate the day my wife had reserved tickets at 

the Getty Center in far-away Brentwood. Actually Brentwood 

is not that far away but ever since the virus epidemic began 

we have been pretty much confined to our home. Other than 
occasional trips to nearby restaurants we have pretty much stuck around the house. Furthermore, 
my wife continues to refuse to be in the car unless she is the driver. She says 
that my mind wanders. 

I am still needed as a navigator as my wife’s poor sense of direction is legendary. 
As we went South on the 405 passing the Mulholland off-ramp my mind wandered and 
I thought about Bill Cosby’s son who had been found murdered somewhere up there 
on Mulholland. I wondered if the murder of Cosby’s son was in anyway connected to 
revenge taken against Cosby. As I am frequently, I was lost to present time and consequently 
failed to properly give my wife directions. 

Already, I seem to have lost the thread of this article. Back to yesterday, eventually, 
we backtracked and found our way up the hill and into the parking structure but 
there were no spaces. Luckily the man at the gate noticed our disability placard and directed 
us to a space normally reserved for volunteers. I thanked him for his help and told 
him that it was my birthday. Why did I bother telling him it was my birthday? Probably 
because I love talking to strangers. It’s so much easier than talking to people I know who 
have names I’m always forgetting and refer to events that I do not recall. 

Once inside the center and glancing at the paintings I received an unexpected 
wonderful gift. A complete stranger walked up to me and asked if I was interested in a 
free tour. He probably noticed me just walking around and not really seeing anything. 
The man, a volunteer docent, gave my wife and I a private half hour tour. He took us 
to view three separate paintings and explained that in docent training he had been instructed 
to stand in front of a painting for an hour and focus on it and see what thoughts 
came to mind as he studied the picture. 

 We stood in front of a self-portrait painting of the young Rembrandt laughing 
next to another Rembrandt painting of an older man. After a while, I noticed that the 
Rembrandt self-portrait and the companion picture were both posed holding their body 
in a similar way but the self-portrait had Rembrandt turned away and laughing. We were 
asked to think about it the thought came to me that the painting was done long before 
there were mirrors and the artist must have used multiple well-placed reflecting surfaces 
to project the image onto the blank surface on which the ultimate picture would be made. 
The docent told me that I had guessed right and that the actual surface of the painting 
was polished copper and the reflected image was now seen on the copper. In order to 
execute the picture all Rembrandt had to do was to trace the picture. Perhaps that was 
why he was laughing. More important to me I remembered that retired or not I was still 
a smart guy. That was a gift. Five hours later the parking direction man, who had been 
there all day and directed probably thousands of drivers, yelled “Happy Birthday” to me 
and we touched fists. Another gift. That’s all it took. I was not thinking about what I had 
done in the past or what my fears were about the future. I was pleased to be noticed and 
remembered and proud to be myself. I want all of us, including me, to recognize what a 
miracle gift life is. Young or old each moment, the present, has potential gifts for us. As 
long as we are still around each moment of every birthday and every other day is a gift. 
On some days, like during this present time, it’s hard to remember about the gifts. My 
message is for all of us to keep trying. 


“Inside every old person is a young person wondering 
what happened.” 

Those are the clever words of British humorist Terry Pratchett, who 
couldn’t have explained the aging process more succinctly. 

I know his words are true because I turned 60 this week. 

It’s a heck of a thing to have burned through six decades already. If 
I’d known 60 years would go by so fast, I would have taken worse 
care of my-self. 

Time is a humbling thing. 

I know now my greatest accomplishment — aside from an uncanny ability to catch 
grapes in my mouth no matter how far or high my friends throw them — was becoming 
a bouncer at the legendary Rathskeller pub at Penn State. 

When I was half this age, I was certain I knew everything. I was cocky and brash and 
incredibly wrong. 

Now, I realize I know very little, but the things I do know, I know well. 

I know that fame is a waste of time — 
and excess wealth, too — as they bring 
with them more problems than either 
are worth. 

You don’t who your friends really are until 
your money is gone. And if you ever 
do anything stupid as a famous person, 
social media will broadcast it all over the 

Several studies have been done on the 
subject of happiness. Having just enough 
money to save a little for a rainy day and 
go out with the love of your life a few 
times a month is all the money you really 

It’s friends and loved ones that bring us 
real wealth. 

It’s the laughter we can only enjoy with our closest friends — people we know we can 
count on no matter how difficult our lot becomes. 

It’s the love we enjoy from our closest family members, friends, and life-long spouses and 
partners — the people we attend weddings, holiday events and special occasions with — 
all of our most memorable experi-ences. 

And it’s not just people. 

Why I waited until the age of 59 to get another dog — last having one as a child so many 
years ago — is possibly the most bone-headed decision I ever made. 

Somebody said God removed the wings from pets like my best buddy Thurber, so that 
nobody would know they are angels. 

This guy makes me laugh out loud every single day — something I didn’t realize I was 
failing to do until he entered my life. 

When we are young, we dream of big houses, and we hope to impress to-tal strangers. 

As we grow older and wiser, we realize none of that matters. We realize that time is going 
by way too fast and that every single moment is pre-cious. 

I was sick as a dog with a nasty flu weeks ago and, brought to my knees, I went through 
a paradigm shift. 

I decided I never want to waste another healthy moment. 

I started eating healthier than ever. I exercise daily. I go for walks with Thurber. 

I turn in at a decent hour, so I wake refreshed at 5:40 every morning ready to dive into 
the new day. 

All I want to do now is write well, read great literature and learn how to love better, give 
back more, laugh harder and spend every moment with people I love as though it were 
the last moment I had to live. 

Maybe it’s time to alter Pratchett’s clever quote: 

“Inside every old person is a wiser person trying to make great things happen with whatever 
God-given time he has left!” 

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email 
him at 



The Bible suggests humans are the apex 
of God’s creation. Supposedly we are the 
apple of God’s eye. 

Ha! I’m not so sure the preceding statement 
is accurate…particularly when I 

compare the human kingdom to the canine 
kingdom. I think dogs may have eclipsed us at the apex. 

If you look at a dog’s life you quickly discover that they: 

…live simply…are loyal…love generously…care deeply…speak kindly…when loved ones come home, they always run to greet them.
…never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride…allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in their face to 
be pure ecstasy…take naps…run, romp, and play daily…thrive on attention and let people touch them.
…avoid biting when a simple growl will do…on warm days stop to lie on their back in the grass…on hot days lie under a shady tree and drink lots of water…when happy dance around and wag their entire body…delight in the simple joy of a long walk…never pretend to be something they’re not…when someone is having a bad day, they are silent, sit close by 
and nuzzle gently. 

Some great quotes about dogs: 

If your dog is fat, you’re not getting enough exercise Unknown 

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird 
religious cult Rita Rudner 

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your 
face Ben Williams 

One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling 
blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why Unknown 

Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend Corey Ford 

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails Max Eastman 

Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog’s face he gets mad 
at you? But when you take him in a car he sticks his head out the 
window Steve Bluestone 

Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I 
think that is how dogs spend their lives Sue Murphy 

On the other hand, cats actually believe they are stationed at the 
apex of God’s creation. 

Have a good week. Ruff! 


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