Thursday, November 28, 2013


Date: November 28, 2013 at 8:59 PM
Location: Elmwood Rd, Pownal, ME, United States
Weather: 21° Clear

Regarding Thanksgiving Day:  I like to think that  I am somehow immune to the emotional baggage that comes along with Thanksgiving Day.  I am not.  CA worked last night and therefore had to sleep all day.  So I was actually alone for the day and it felt like it.

On almost any other day It would have been business as usual but this day was different.  I don't know what I expected but I did know something was missing.  Of course, I knew what it was.  I missed family and friends around me.  I was not blind-sided by this at all.  It was on the calendar, so to speak.

I am alone many days without a thought toward being lonely.  Today was different.  History and tradition and the media dictate that one should be with family or friends or both on this of all days.  I am always thinking I am above all those external influences.  But today I am hauled in by the thinnest of emotional threads and beached on the sands of sentimentality.  I was lonely for the sight and sound and touch of someone I loved, and in some fair moment, who might have loved me.  Sometimes it's tough being human, or at least to own up to it.

There was no harm done.  I hauled in some wood for the fires.  I got all sweaty on the treadmill while listening to a great courtroom tale and showered off with extra warm water for an extra long time.  I permitted cocktail hour to begin half an hour earlier than usual.  To hell with those prudes who say NO to drinking alone.  It was a fine moment.

Somehow, I would be reluctant to give up the day as it was.  As the saying goes: "It's an ill wind that blows no good".  It was a good day for collecting truth stones and a few jewels of insight. 

I can imagine next Thanksgiving completely surrounded by people I love and looking for a quiet corner to collect myself in readiness for the next "event" of the day.  Be careful what you wish for....

Sometimes I am simply overcome with gratitude.  How lucky can one man be?

G B Henderson

Monday, November 25, 2013


WHETHER IT BE TRUE OR NOT, Thanksgiving is proclaimed by every media outlet, pulpit and I suppose it even resides somewhere in our DNA, to be America's Family Holiday.  

There is much to support this claim.  It isn't a day of gift giving.  It's a day of gathering together as a family, which in an age of such gross dispersion translates into the biggest travel day in the year.  Fewer children live near their parents now than ever.  First they leave for job or college or military service and that's it for the most part for having their lives centered around the family home.

It gets complicated.  Where there are two sets of parents the choice must be made.  Sometimes the choice is easy: your parents are angels and hers are demons.  OK, it could be the other way  around.  And lets go ahead and say it: you just may not like "those" people like the Good Book says you should.  In a best case scenario you manage to see everybody and eat a lot.

I love Stephan Pastis' Pearls Before Swine strip on Sunday.  It's titled: Rat Has Thanksgiving Dinner With His Family. Here's how it goes.  [ I'm not at all certain about the identities of these people but I have assigned them to the roles that seem obvious to me ]  Mother: Before we begin eating, I'd like to go around the table and each say what we're thankful for.  Grandmother: I'm thankful for family and holiday gatherings such as this.  Big sister: I'm thankful for mother nature and all of God's creatures.  Father: I'm thankful for world peace and love and brotherhood.  Rat: I'm thankful I only have to see you all once a year.  Mother: How heartwarming.  Rat: And oh, I like beer.

Before you jump on me with all four feet, I'm only trying to deal with reality here not some mush mush idea that everybody loves everybody.  (Jo Jo it just ain't so). If you extend most any family to the 1st and 2nd cousin brackets you will find people who are "interesting" at best and insufferable at worse.  It's OK.  Not everybody loves you, or me for that matter.  Hmm, that almost got stuck in my throat.

Still, we are drawn to these gatherings by some primordial force to once again be with those who share with us name, history and hope.  It's important.  It's family.  Whether it is your family or the family of someone you love or friends who gather together: it's family and it's important to that deepest part of you that only you can know.   And here I leave you to fill in the blanks according to the stirrings of your own heart.

I wish for each of you this Thanksgiving season love, warmth - the kind that's deeper than fire - and for goodness sake, don't let the day pass without a good tight hug.  Sometimes that alone is worth the price of airfare.

I'm Jerry Henderson
Be Well And Stay Tuned

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I NEVER THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT BIRTHDAYS UNTIL one morning I woke up as an octogenarian. If you are granted to live into your 80s, trust me, it will get your attention.

There are several reasons that this happens. First and foremost it's the number itself. 82 is a lot. I think everybody wishes to live long if it can be long and healthy. I've known people whose quality of life was so miserable that they wished for or welcomed the end.

The second thing that gets your attention in your 80s is physical change. It's unavoidable. Oh, you will try, but to no avail. It's bigger than you are. You slow down. You loose strength and stamina. The aches and pains seem to grow in intensity and often signal real problems that encourage a more intimate relationship with your primary physician. You begin to get those looks that say, "Well, what did you expect?"

Then there is social attrition. Friends die or move away. Spouses leave you or you leave them. It doesn't matter when in life these things happen. It is a devastating event at any time but it can be deadly when you are old. Unless, of course, she was a real bitch or he was a perfect bastard, then the event can bring on a season of true euphoria.

Today has been a great day. Sunny and cold. We had a fine chunk of beef on the grill with a bottle of good wine by the fire. There were presents. How lucky can one man be? Family in Florida speak of 82˚ and I count 82 years behind me and number is climbing as we speak.

Birthdays? Bring them on! It has been said many times before and I say it again: so far go good.

Thank each of you for your well wishes and greetings. You are the best. I wish for a warm hug from each of you.

Love Jerry H

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I knew immediately something was wrong the moment I woke up this morning.  First it was Sunday.  I have no particular problem with the day itself - it's just that I have so much old baggage full of Sunday issues dragging along behind.  Secondly, it was a cool dreary damp beginning that did not improve with time.  Thirdly and likely most importantly, I have not rested soundly lately for some reason and that alone has the potential to impair one's gait, to cloud one's focus, to cause one to doubt.

Suddenly I knew - I had a serious case of ennui.  I spent most of the morning letting this cloud engulf me as I probed around for another cup of coffee and finally realizing that a proven remedy for this condition is a sandwich made of an English muffin, a patty of Jimmy Dean sausage (hot) and a wad of scrambled egg with a liberal dose of Tabasco Chipotle sauce mixed in.  

It was a temporary fix, so to speak, as the sense of boredom again descended over the day.  I began to reason out the situation like this:  Do something - anything - just get busy.  I have so many things to do that it would take the rest of the day to list them.  That sounded way too boring to do.  Problem is, I didn't want to do anything.  Ennui is like that.  It's self sustaining, or defeating if that makes more sense.  Like a self fulfilling prophecy.  "Oh, that's probably not going to work out."  Sure enough it didn't.  

I had a partner years ago when we were therapists together who used to say that when sad, or depressed, or bored or whatever you want to call it, just go with it for a while and you'll see it evaporate right before your eyes.  Don't resist it for the more you do, the more it hangs in and grows in intensity.  This is a technique that has worked for me over the years but it requires one magic element that only you or I can provide: the desire to move on in the sunlight.  Ah, I just knew this was going to come up.

I am really not having that much of a problem with ennui, or whatever.  I have managed to blot out two thirds of the day dealing with this condition and before you know it - after a session on the treadmill, a little stretching and a hot soaky, it will be cocktail time and the Devil can just get in line and wait her turn.  See, I feel better already.

It just occurred to me that a trick I have used all my life to combat the ever present presence of self pity, boredom or sadness is to snack.  Since May of this year I have not snacked at all.  I mean it.  OK, maybe one or two times but I have limited my eating to two meals a day, period.  Nothing in between.  With a little effort this system has aided me in loosing a bunch of ugly fat.  I ain't going back to dealing with negative feelings with food.  Drink?  Perhaps, but not whole cans of salted nuts.

Getting back to today, I was looking in my freezer for some frozen green peppers for CA who is making turkey chowder for the evening meal and there was half a frozen pistachio muffin laying there in a plastic baggie.  I have no idea how long it had lain there, but I immediately began to feel the load of the day lift off my shoulders.   I probably should have just let the idea of the muffin do it's healing work but instead I re-heated some of the morning's darkroast and heated the remnants of the muffin and ate it.  

I could just feel my pancreas firing off insulin I did not need but I now have hope and can see the sunshine in my soul once more.  Ennui, my old friend, I know you are there.  Give it a rest for a while.  Perhaps I'll see you on the next dreary Sunday morning - OK?

Monday, November 4, 2013


I suppose that there are numbers - which of course do not lie - that would prove that daylight saving time is singlehandedly saving the planet from destruction. But I doubt it.

It's that time of year when time is the timeliest of subjects and daylight is in short supply. And if we were burning handmade candles for our light we would be shifting our schedules to conform to available light to minimize the burning of the labor intensive wick.

While in Paris in 1784, Benjamin Franklin, proposed some kind of adjustment to the available sunlight rather than adhering to the actual clock time which placed one end or the other of each day in darkness, which, as I have stated, required the consumption of expensive tapers.

While most of us nowadays forgo the use of open flame for light, the same principle holds that we try to conserve the use of expensive energy.

Just between you and me, I dislike the time changes we go through twice a year. It is, however, hard to argue with the saving of 10,000 barrels of oil through the use of the time shift as was reported during the oil embargo in the 70s.

Sifting the work day into the daylight portion of the day became an issue during war time to conserve energy. In the 40s it was called Eastern War Time, Central War Time and Western War Time. As a young teenager then, I remember vividly how everything was defined by the war. Everything.

What I remember about all this as a boy is a bus ride home from a music lesson downtown Baton Rouge at 5 PM in total darkness. I didn't even wear a watch then. I couldn't have cared less, as I recall. I always seemed to arrive at my appointed destination on time. Is there a lesson there?

Anyway, we are now on what I call real time. The time that is set by celestial pulleys and chains, set in motion by the hand of God, or Goddess, I am sure. And we'll muddle through with that until darkness falls in the middle of the afternoon next month. If I were not such a dignified old man, I'd scream!

I still have to set the clock in my car, on my stove and microwave and coffee maker. Oh the clock at my bedside as well. Better get on with it before it gets dark.