Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for August 4th…………

--I recall when I was a young boy the month of August, now beginning, brought much anxiety for me. Carefree weeks of summer fun with no schedule of being somewhere or having deadlines and due dates would soon come to an end. I only had my house chores to do in those years, and they were easily disposed of well before noontime. But now it was August. Yikes! Only four weeks left to school vacation! It filled my heart with a sense of urgency like nothing else. I put playing into high gear and focused my energies into getting the most out of the time I had left before my “schedule” started again.

I think we often are so busy living life that we sometimes miss living life. That’s not meant to be double-talk, and if you think about it you will understand what I mean. And it’s not an original thought, either. In fact it is expressed in a number of clever slogans like, “Stop and Smell The Roses”, and “Live Life To The Fullest”, or “Gather Rosebuds” or “Seize The Day!” What they all have in common is the concept of balance. Ah, that illusive thing, balance.

Sometimes our lives are out of balance. We set a schedule of work for ourselves and there always seems to be time to play tomorrow but not today. I am guilty of this. In fact, sometimes I feel like I’m the poster child for what happens when you get so tied up in work and responsibilities that you stop taking time to catch your breath, or even take a good night’s sleep.

But like the U.S. Cavalry, my wife, The Fabulous Denise, reminds me to put down my pencil and close the lid on my computer and take time to do nothing. She is so wise. So very wise. Don’t call me today. I won’t be in the office until Thursday afternoon. I’m going to take a nap.

--There is one fewer set of eyes reading my words this week. James O. Chase, “Jiggs” to his friends, passed away last Friday at the age of 91. Jiggs had been a pillar of the village of Chepachet long before I could spell the word. And for some reason he took a shine to me and found opportunities to give me a good natured ribbing about what I wrote in these pages each week. Then he’d ask me, “What are going to write about next week? You’ve run out of all the silly stuff, haven’t you?” Always wth a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

As his nineties set in and Jiggs lost his wife and he had trouble getting around, Jiggs ended up in the one place he didn’t want to be. A nursing home. I felt bad for him, but his smile never dimmed. He just shrugged his shoulders and told me it wasn’t so bad because he had new people to beat at cribbage there. And he did, too.

I often talk about living until I’m ninety four. I just hope that when the troubles of old age hit me that I can be an inspiration to others like my good friend Jiggs was to me, and everyone he came in contact with. That’s the way to be, I say. Take your miseries in stride and let everyone know you’re good with it. People will enjoy being around you, and you’ll enjoy being around people. And you’ll make good memories together. Right to the end.

There is a happy song from a movie which was satirical and in really bad taste. But it does express a sentiment I like. The premise to the tune is illustrated by this quote from the lyrics, “When life seems jolly rotten, there’s something you’ve forgotten. And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing. Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing.” And then the title is in the chorus of the song, “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. That kind of says it all for me.

I think the next time I play that song I’ll dedicate it to Jiggs Chase. Because that’s what he did. And that’s what I intend to do, too.

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.


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