Gardena, CA
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Articles by Pat Grimes

The phone rang that evening, though not so late I worried something bad had happened, but, in fact, I was left dismayed. After the conversation, I confirmed on social media the sad news– Martha Lavey, a friend from long ago, had passed away.

Another difficult transition took place on Inauguration Day. I refer to the installation of outdoor cat Sam as indoor dweller of my household.

Maybe 15 years ago, an adolescent feline showed up in the garage of my former home. His thick fur was clean and he was not underweight, so I figured he was lost. Flyers posted around the neighborhood and a “lost pet” ad in the newspaper yielded no response.

By the time this is published, the 45th president will have begun his term. Despite predictions to the contrary, like Michael Moore's declaration that a Trump win would usher the end of our country, we shall assume the Republic has survived.

In this life it can be difficult to stay focused on what is important and to ignore what is not.  When it comes to items having sentimental value, I tend to hold tight to whomever or whatever once touched my heart, as if letting go would somehow diminish or erase the happy recollections they elicit.

Not quite four years after the divorce decree, I am in for a sentimentality challenge.  My former wife and her significant other have purchased their dream home; the residence where my sons were raised will soon belong to someone else.

On the big day, I donned a shirt and tie before getting an early start to the address on the admission ticket. Despite this being a wintertime graduation, the crowd and parking hassle were no smaller than a graduation in spring. Finally I was inside the Convocation Center for the ceremony marking my elder son’s completion of undergraduate studies.

Unlike his younger brother, the Elder’s listing in the program was not among the more distinguished graduates. Nevertheless, his name was on the list, and it was a thrill to read.

So, our long climb up Holiday Mountain is almost completed. Before you can say, “Please pass the Alka-Seltzer,” the revelry of Holidays 2016 will be over and the New Year will begin. Along the way, we will wish our loved ones and strangers alike a “Happy New Year.” But what do we really want the next 12 months to be?

In 1962, Pulitzer Prize winner Howard Nemerov wrote a poem titled, “Santa Claus.”  Part of it follows.

Somewhere on his travels the strange Child

Picked up this overstuffed confidence man,

Affection’s converted thief, who climbs at night

Down chimneys, into dreams, with this world's goods.

Bringing all the benevolence of money,

He teaches the innocent to want, thus keeps

Our fat world rolling…

 

Well, Number Eight is gone for good. For those unfamiliar with the Universal Numbering System of dentistry, this means the top front tooth on the right side of my jaw is no longer in my head.

I write this on an October day with a local high of 81 degrees, a temperature my neck of the woods will likely not see again until spring. Despite the sunshine, a lot of the neighborhood maples are changing wardrobes; autumn is here. I am trying not to let it get me down.

Summer is my favorite season. Maybe that's a holdover from childhood, when early June’s last school bell had rung and I'd slip into a simple T-shirt and short pants ensemble for the next 90 days.

Gather round, kiddies, and Old Man Grimes will tell about the primitive ways of the old days. There was a time, you see, when people had few options for being in contact. Imagine, if you can, a world with no Internet. Hard to believe, but we somehow managed to stay in touch.

Time was, you had three choices for communication:  you could talk on the phone, send a letter through the mail, or speak in person, face-to-face. Nowadays, you can “reach out and touch someone” in myriad ways, all doable with that slim computer slab you hold in your hand.