A few days ago I went to Walgreens in Monterey to get a prescription. The pharmacist asked if I could come back in half an hour when it would be ready. Since I had my three-legged companion, Brie, with me, and it was a sunny day, we took a walk outside. We found a little alleyway and walked through it to a low-standing brick wall, and I decided to just sit there in the sun with Brie. The wind was blowing so my hair looked a little more wild than normal. I had my carrier bag that I use for my leg accessories with me, and there we sat. The sun felt great, but not the looks that people were giving Brie and me. Some didn't want to make eye contact, some just shook their heads in disgust, but most had a sympathetic look for my "poor little rich girl, Brie." And then a homeless man walked up and said, "Do you mind if I sit here?" I replied, "It would be great." He took out a pack of cigarettes and offered me one. I said, "Sure, I would love one." This was a rare opportunity for me to have one in peace, without my wife, Pat, around." So we started talking, and as the conversation was getting better, I started thinking this is one of the smartest, kindest person I've met in a very long time. On that note, when I got up we fist bumped and I was on my way. In that moment, thinking about what it felt like to be homeless, if only for a half hour, I learned so much. And to all the people who gave me "looks," I would like to let them know that homeless people are humans also. So, let me leave you with the words of one of America's greatest songwriters, John Prine. "If you're walking down the street sometime and spot some hollow ancient eyes, please don't just pass them by and stare, as if you didn't care. Say "hello in there. Hello."
I was sitting with Brie on the couch enjoying life one day, and Pat said she had a big surprise for me, and it would be delivered soon. A few minutes later two men delivered a dining table and six chairs! And while they set it up in the corner of the living room, Pat pointed out all the fine details. The quality was unparalleled. I sat there in stunned silence, realizing how much room it took up. I could no longer move in my own living room, but Pat excitedly looked and me and said, "Don't you just love it?"
I said, "I love it, but not in this living room; it's much too big."
Every time I got up to walk around, I had to squeeze by the chairs that took up most of the living room. So, after about a week of my complaints, Pat had heard enough and had the movers come back to pick up the table and chairs and return them to the consignment store. The owner said he'd try to sell it.
As time went by I forgot all about the table because now I had my space back. Weeks later the consignment man called Pat, saying that he couldn't sell the table and he was having the delivery men bring it and the chairs back to our house. Pat left and the men returned. And, all of a sudden when the table was in the corner where it had been, I was okay with it! It didn't bother me anymore! Pat came home shortly and I told her that the table and chairs were back. Of course, she was happy . . . until she saw it. "This is not the same table and chairs! They're not the same quality as the other one."
Well, the smaller table and two chairs have found the perfect place in the corner of our living room, and I've taken it over, stacking my books, posters, and goodies on it, and hanging my jacket on one of the chairs. I am thrilled with my new table, and Pat is tolerating it!
Since my heart is still at Woodstock, last week my friend Paul gave me his Woodstock tickets in mint condition that he had been saving for 54 years, after reading my book Cherish. Now I have my jacket, I've got my tickets, I've got Brie, my little three-legged companion . . . I'm all set to go. All I need is my hair back!
Well, after many unforeseeable delays, the podcast interview with Adam Bremen, host of the CanDo Chronicles, took place on Monday, February 27. As the name suggests, life is all about what we can do, not what we can't. I was invited to speak with Adam in a zoom interview about the challenges and, yes, the positive aspects of being an amputee, and sharing my life with Brie, my three-legged dog. The interview went amazingly well, and Adam, who was born with Cerebral Palsy, was a great interviewer. I think we both came away from our talk feeling like kindred spirits. I'll be sure and let everyone know when the podcast will be aired. I hope you'll tune in!
I'm doing my first show in a long time on Saturday at a private event. I'm adding a song to the show that I wrote 50 years ago in England. I'll be with guitarist Peter Rush, who just learned it a couple of days ago. I hope we've rehearsed it enough to come out okay. If not, we'll fake it! As I've aged, my voice doesn't have the range that it used to have. Not that I ever had a good voice to begin with, so hopefully the audience helps me out by singing along. I never thought at this stage of my life, I'd be doing the same things I was doing as a teenager. I'm still growing young again.
Ever since Brie became my dog on September 6, between all of our long walks and her building up her speed; which makes me have to keep up with her, within no time I have lost 15 pounds! So now I'm becoming fanatical about losing weight and getting fit. And then a young lady read my book, Cherish, and bought me a brand new jacket just, like the one I wore 50 years ago and is on the cover of the book. Now that I'm losing weight, I've got my denim jacket back! And I notice 98 percent of men today have very short haircuts; so I think this is the moment in time to grow my hair long again, because I'm ready to grow young again. I feel like letting my "freak flag fly."
Last night I was lying in bed thinking about what an amazing life I've had. It's been a wonderful ride. When my wife and I moved to the Golden State of California, I was able to have my own radio talk show. I must admit that I was an amateur, but it seemed to come naturally to me. I was able to get the most wonderful guests to share their life stories on the air. I hosted many famous people to whom I would ask if there was one subject I could not touch. For instance, a famous author said, "Please don't ask me how much money I make." A Hollywood screenwriter didn't want me to ask about her sister, who was an actress; and a well-known artist said he didn't want to talk about his ex-wife. Of course, I honored their privacy, but I personally learned more about them because of what they didn't want me to know than during an hour of on-the-air chatting.
One of my interesting guests was actress Phyllis Coates, the original Lois Lane in the first season of the 1950's Adventures of Superman TV show. Contrarily, another guest was a Penthouse Centerfold of the Year. The only time I was at a loss for words was when singer-songwriter Melanie, the person who influenced my young life the most, called in.
Then, one day a woman named Rita Seger was on the line, and I knew I'd met my match. I invited her to be a guest on the show, and the listeners enjoyed our banter so much, that we started another day just for Rita and me. One week I would pick the topic, and the next week Aunt Rita, as I began calling her, would pick a topic. Much to my surprise, people really tuned in because Rita and I never agreed on anything, and they enjoyed listening to us argue! We still don't agree on anything, but after 30 years I still love you, Rita; and many thanks for commenting on my last blog!
I've had a very blessed, charmed life, and the best is yet to come!
My wonderful wife Pat wants me to join her at the gym. And while we're there she would like me to go in the pool, which is great exercise for an amputee. But in the past I've come up with every excuse imaginable why I can't go. But now, I have a water leg, and I've run out of excuses. So it looks like I'll be going to the gym soon. Stay tuned, because maybe I can come up with another excuse! (It would be great if I did go to the gym and lost 20 pounds, and that way I wouldn't dislike every photo taken of me!)