Well, I'm still revelling in the memories of last October's 70th reunion dinner and the great job our host, Weston Noble, did for us. We should sign him up to be with us at our 75th! I'm also still trying to figure out how I went from collecting antiques to becoming one!
But they say spring is coming even with all the snow left. So it's time for the Spring Letter for the L'39 Class―even though no one has given me any news concerning us old codgers!
We hear the executives say, “The buck stops here.” I wish the buck stopped here as I could use a few of them now and then. In the sports section of the paper I saw that the pitchers and catchers were to report for spring training this week. So baseball is confident that spring is on the way. Two boys were playing baseball. The pitcher threw the ball and the batter connected with a crack. “Wow,” the pitcher said, “It's a run home!” “You mean a home run,” the batter said. “No, I mean a run home. You just hit the ball through the neighbor's window.”
Watching a good baseball game on TV is still a great pleasure for me. Bill Lee, a former Red Sox pitcher, was asked when new playing fields were being made in the seventies what he thought about artificial grass. He replied, “I don't know. I never smoked any.” At least it wasn't a steroid. Yogi Berra said, “ Baseball ain't like football. You can't make up no trick plays in baseball.” Very true.
As I write, February is about to play out. Do you ever get the feeling that, with 28 days, February is speeding up the aging process? People always say that when you get older “the legs go first.” Contrary to such popular belief, it's not the legs that go first, it's remembering the word for legs. Norman Vincent Peale's best advice was, “live your life and forget your age.” I knew Mrs. Peale and she did just that and lived to be over 100 years old.
Sometimes values change as you age. Four old retirees were playing poker. One said, “ I'll see your Social Security Supplement and raise you a Medicare card and a Canadian pharmacy ID.” That gets to be coin of the land, I guess.
Money can be a problem these days, as has been true over the years. One fellow I knew did get a job and has done so well he's now a “thousand-aire.” Something like the fellow who lived at home with his mother in Denver until he was 36, because he wanted to finish high school. Some years after he made it big, he was being limoed down Sunset Boulevard when he saw an old friend walking down the sidewalk. The sole of his shoe was loose and flopping. He stopped, pulled out a wad of hundred dollar bills with a big elastic band around them, took the elastic band off, and gave it to his old friend saying, “Put this around your shoe and it won't flop anymore.” No wonder he had a “wad” of hundred dollar bills! Beauty sometimes changes from time to time but is always appreciated. Two men were talking about women and one said, “I just read about the first Miss America. The year was 1921 and she was 5'1'', 108 pounds, and measured 30-25-32.” (An accountant would say 87.) “Wow”, said his friend, “What would she be today?” His friend responded, “About 110.” They say that looks, age, and money aren't important, but what pretty girl ever fell in love with an ugly old man who was broke?
As I have added years, I tend to add weight so I have attempted to avoid sugar and flour, much as I enjoy good bread. But I had a friend who went on one of those organic diets. It was all vegetables and all wine. He lost 15 pounds and his driver's license! All the diets and medications seem to stress effectiveness in avoiding heart attacks – and I guess some do. But do you know the worst possible time to have a heart attack? When you are playing charades! I never did like that game.
Drugs seem to attract younger and younger victims these days.There was an 8-year-old who died of an overdose of pain pills in a nearby town. Drugs cannot make people smarter. Drugs enable dumb people to do dumb things faster.
Some folks overdo with drinks as well. Ronnie Drew, the Irish folk singer, stopped in a nearly empty pub one morn and ordered a cocktail. The bar's only other patron looked up and said, “I thought you were off the drink.” “I am,” Mr. Drew replied, “but I have a gin and tonic every now and again. I find it keeps me minding my own business. Would you like one?” Well, alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but then neither does milk.
As a Rev. Clark said, “A good philosophy of life is ‘do what you can, want what you have, and be what you are.’” Speaking of philosophy, was Einstein really smart, or was he just relatively smart?
Don't forget, on April 15th all the world is a stage and the tax payers are the supporting players. Psychiatrists say that you shouldn't keep too much to yourself―so does the IRS! Do you know why Sherlock Holmes never paid an income tax? Brilliant deductions! You too can make a brilliant and helpful deduction by contributing something to the Luther College Annual Fund! WE did well last year so let's keep it up! You may send in your gift in an envelope, or give online at givenow.luther.edu.
If you want a different kind of letter, send me some news or volunteer to take over the job! Best wishes and keep well.
E. J. Nordby, M.D.
1939 Class Agent
PS. Thanks to the generous support of many alumni donors, Luther has benefited from the member-matching program—GivingPlus—with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Unfortunately, GivingPlus was eliminated by Thrivent at the end of 2009. The "replacement" program—Thrivent Choice—will include a component called Choice Dollars, which some members will be eligible for. Members eligible for Thrivent Choice can still choose to direct their charitable support to Luther (which will be greatly appreciated, thank you!). More information about the program (which is scheduled to begin sometime in April) is available at https://www.thrivent.com/thriventchoice/news/index.html.
PPS. Please share your individual or family updates by logging on to the Alumni Directory, emailing [email protected], or posting them in the comments section below.
EUGENE NORDBY has retired after serving 30 years as chairman of the board for WPS Health Insurance of Madison, Wis. He was named chairman emeritus and will continue to serve on the board.