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It happened when I was deep in a brown study on some suitably recondite
conundrum of cosmic significance. There, walking along the uneven sidewalk that lines the
Common, there right in front of me I saw two lucky people who only had eyes for each other. Their
presence was arresting; taking me immediately out of myself, focusing full attention on them, two
people learning just how exciting and fulfilling togetherness can be.
You're skipping ahead of me now I daresay. You're expecting one young thing entwined with

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  1. 1. Family
  2. 2. Preface / Introduction@~~~>The LAST Time I Made This OFFER I was BURIED in calls so I am limiting this to theNEXT 5 PEOPLE ONLY CALL ME NOW - dont miss out! CALL ME NOW for your FREEInternet marketing consultation. $100 value. Let an expert show you RIGHT NOW how to profitonline every single day without leaving home. CALL ME -- Liz English -- NOW, (315) 668-1591.LIVE 24/7/365.
  3. 3. Table of Contents1. The joy and lifelong comfort in a parents voice. Some thoughts.2. ... before the darkness falls. Thoughts on my fathers last home, changing places and the painsthat make us human.3. Am I getting old? Oh, no, not you. The wonders of the Internet... the stubborn obstinacy of fartoo many Senior Citizens. Generations colliding in cyber space. Some thoughts.
  4. 4. FamilyThe joy and lifelong comfort in a parents voice. Dr. Jeffrey Lant.Authors program note. It happened when I was deep in a brown study on some suitably reconditeconundrum of cosmic significance. There, walking along the uneven sidewalk that lines theCommon, there right in front of me I saw two lucky people who only had eyes for each other. Theirpresence was arresting; taking me immediately out of myself, focusing full attention on them, twopeople learning just how exciting and fulfilling togetherness can be.Youre skipping ahead of me now I daresay. Youre expecting one young thing entwined withanother, in love perhaps, or making good progress thereto. But if you think this, youd be wrong,quite utterly mistaken. For the two people I saw, and could not take my eyes off, were a youngfather and his young daughter. He looked to be on the sunny side of thirty; she was three or four.And a more enraptured couple I did not see that day... nor had I seen for long before. They only hadeyes for each other.The young father was in the process of enchanting his daughter; he was very much in the middle ofnot merely telling her a story... but acting it out. His animals were not just words from his mouth.They lived! They moved! They entranced! He didnt merely talk of their movements... he moved asthey would in life, going where they meant to go.... and to show her deep and sincere appreciationfor his constant efforts and exertions... she laughed, completely, merrily, with a glee she had alreadymastered... and which she spent liberally, recompense for her adored father.No wonder I couldnt take my eyes off this scene of radiance and sunshine. I could only wish themboth one thing to make what they had perfect... and that was the gift of clear memory.Unbidden tears.After a minute or two my way diverged from theirs; they went on without thought or recognition oracknowledgement that such a one as me even lived. And whether it was because of this thought orone like it, I felt tears. Its the kind of thing that happens to too many silly old buffers if theyvedined unwisely but too well or dwelt too long on things that might have been... and why theysquandered so many opportunities, because they were certain theyd come again, but didnt.6 or 7 or so, the softest hands, the most caressing voice.Then my own memory yanked me as it so often does these days. And I was not pining aboutmight-have-beens and loves I tossed away without thought, doubt or pangs. Instead I heard a voice Iknew as well as my own, a voice that represented all I valued and had every reason to be gratefulfor. Her voice. And this voice didnt just rise from memory. I heard it because she was there with meagain... and everything was there, just as it should be. And just as it all sounded sixty years ago andmore."My little love, do you feel a little better? I have something youll like." And she always did. Abook. A tale carefully considered before being read to me; sometimes one she knew I loved;sometimes one she was certain I would come to love, because she already did. Thus in her ownsoothing hands she would bring me, between covers, pages sometimes not yet cut, the unimaginableriches of the world, sometimes when I was ill; sometimes to sooth the way to dreamless slumber.And no matter how much she gave me, there was always more summoned by her practised magic.But the real magic did not come between covers with uncut pages; nor even with tales ofmesmerizing effect. The supremest spell was the one wrought by her voice and a few deft Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 4 of 13
  5. 5. Familymovements which denoted care, craft, artistry and above all else, love."By the shores of Gitche Gumee."Given a moment or two, a hint and a clue, I could probably name everything she read to me... notjust because of the lyric power of the authors words but because of her voice. Its cadence. Itsresonance. Its sonority. Its shear beauty and allure. Each word counted and so she neglected noword. Each line counted and so she delivered each line. Each paragraph counted... and so not asingle paragraph was overlooked or forgotten. Thus, she rendered one of our favorites; "The Song ofHiawatha" by my near neighbor on Brattle Street, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published touniversal acclaim in 1855. I can hear her now... see her... she lives on as I hear her reading thewords she loved:"By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis."But her magic was by no means exhausted, hardly even begun. For now she told me to close myeyes, to see the shores of Gitche Gumee, the shining Big-Sea-Water, the wigwam, and most of allNokomis, Daughter of the Moon Nokomis. And as she bade, so I did until these were no longermere words, but grand vistas, places of consequence and truth. Such was the magic of her voice."But there is no joy in Mudville."One of her favorites, which became one of mine, was "Casey at the Bat", "A Ballad of the RepublicSung in the Year 1888." It was written by Ernest Thayer and first published in "The San FranciscoExaminer" on June 3, 1888. No voice ever delivered it with greater gusto and the American idiomthan she, perhaps because she was a zealous supporter of her hapless Cubbies, the Chicago Cubs.Thus, as she spoke she made every captivating gesture:"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, andsomewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; Butthere is no joy in Mudville -- mighty Casey has struck out.""And the highwayman came riding."Over the years, in sickness and in health, her voice unlocked one treasure chest after another...Thomas Gray, Tennyson, Frost, Sandburg, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Browning, DylanThomas... but this was always one of her favorites, for her dramatic sense worked well with AlfredNoyes, the great poet of the empire on which the sun never set, ruled by the Great White Queen afterwhom my grandmother was named. He published it in 1906, and it made him a world figure."The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossedupon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwaymancame riding -- Riding -- riding -- The highwayman came riding up to the old inn-door."And, as was now usual, she closed my eyes and opened my minds eye to see the ghostly galleon, theribbon of moonlight, and the highwayman, "a bunch of lace at his chin", the highwayman who keptriding, riding, riding. With every word, with every image, she helped make me the man I am today.Your children deserve as much from you, and as you love them, do so; for this is one certain way toensure not just their constant improvement but that you and your voice descend to them and keepyou a forever living presence in their lives.Envoi.For the musical accompaniment to this article, Ive selected the brilliant suite composed by NicholaiRimsky-Korsakov in 1888. It is called "Scheherazade". Its the story of a shrewd woman whose Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 5 of 13
  6. 6. Familyability to keep the Sultan amused by telling stories kept her alive. Based on "One Thousand and OneNights," my mother loved it from its opening bass motif to every evocative note that follows. Shewas always happy to acknowledge the talents of other wizards and soothsayers. Youll find it in anysearch engine. Go now and play it. Its richness enriches this article... and your life. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 6 of 13
  7. 7. Family... before the darkness falls. Thoughts on my fathers lasthome, changing places and the pains that make us Dr. Jeffrey LantAuthors program note. It is 3:07 a.m. here in the East. It is not so much that I cannot sleep. Rather,its that I dont want to. I am thinking about my father as I often do. He is undoubtedly asleep now,has gotten safely through another day and will awake in due course to the promise of another. Inother words, he is being well taken care of, and I dont need to worry, the Number One Son inMassachusetts; he in California. But I do worry..."Jeffrey, let me ask you..."He called me the other day, with that note of concern Ive come to know and which bites me so."Jeffrey let me ask you..." and so it started. Another chip to the father-son relationship whichdefined and guided us for so many years, now as ancient as the hills. Things between us, once welldefined and wary, are changing now; changing, changing... we neither of us like it, but the realitiesof living always pulverize our mere wishes... and because we are living, we must still live, no matterhow painful that may be. And it often is...He asks."Jeffrey, youve never had a house have you?" "No, Dad, I never did.""Youve always lived in an apartment, havent you?" "Yes, Dad, I have.""You like it, dont you?" "Yes, Dad, I do.""Whys that?" "Well, for openers I dont have to take out the garbage... or plant the flowers... or paintthe fence... " And the list goes on."You used to hate doing those things, didnt you?" "Yes, Dad, every minute, every single one. Iwanted to read. You wanted me to wash the windows." There is more than a little bit of asperity,accusation and unresolved irritation in my voice. I am 65, it all happened a half century ago andmore; it shouldnt matter, but it does. Memory makes the long ago the active and unresolved, still onmy agenda of things compelling attention. I might wish it doesnt matter, but it does."I do not plant or reap."Now the benefits of apartment living pour forth. I discover I am defending my choices, as childrenof any age feel compelled to do from time to time. To live the life I want takes teams of peopletaking care of me. I am used to this and rely on them to do the necessary. This is how the privilegedclasses of history have lived; it is how I always wanted to live; it is how I live; it is how I want himto live; it is how he should live in this his too fast dwindling of days.But he is of a different time and place, a time of self-reliance, where if you wanted warmth inwinter, you chopped fire wood and so warmed yourself twice. I hated this work... and I hated allsuch things... things that obstructed the life I wanted; the life waiting for me, beckoning me,insinuating itself into every thought. "I am what you want, what you must have," and I couldnt waitto seize it. The myriad versions of chopping wood were important, but they were never imperative,like the dream that enthralled me. And thus there were problems and a battle that waxed and waned,but never stopped.However he is not criticizing, judging, he is seeking something perhaps only I can give:confirmation that he has done the right thing, for with assisted living, without responsibilities, comes Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 7 of 13
  8. 8. Familyan avalanche of doubts, uncertainties, and the kinds of anxieties which force one to sit bolt upright indead of night... and wonder..."Jeffrey, I dont like not having a home anymore."But he does have a home. Its in a wonderful facility that looks like a college campus or place on agolf course. He and Miss Ellie, his wife, did not rush their choice. They looked at the full range ofpossibilities, moved with due deliberation, not haste. Visited, revisited, discussed, revisited. Therewas no rush about it, though it was apparent to both a decision must be made and made while theywere both entirely able to make it.He recalls each house he has ever owned.He is remembering now and my role is clear. I must hear what he says, completely... and I mustpledge (though he doesnt say so) to remember. And so a chant begins; of houses built or bought;houses turned into homes and profits; a lifetime of patient acquisition and certain return. "I havealways made money on every house we ever lived in." And he recites them now, not to brag, but sothat he is sure I know and will remember. My memory is tenacious; he knows that, and so the litanybegins... from 4906 Woodward Avenue, which he built with his own hands (and partly mine)...His eyes are closed now and as he recalls, he recites; my eyes are closed, too, and I am rememberingwith him... and these, his memories of being a good father, chary of his resources, patiently awaitingthe results he foresaw and planned for, are clear, poignant, bittersweet. And triumphant.For he wants me to know, and to sear into my mind that he made money enough for his family,enough for himself and Miss Ellie so they would burden no one, and something for the nextgeneration, too. He was proud, as he had the right to be; not arrogant. He knew what he was due...and knew that I would give it, full measure. We who had often engaged in combat and dispute fullyunderstood each word now, each recollection, each and every nuance, delivered with sureness andfinality... for on this subject there was nothing more to say... and we were both glad he had done so,so well, every word apt, every description complete and accurate.He was tired now. So was I.It is often said that as parents and children age they reverse roles. But this is not entirely true.Instead a situation infinitely more complex and difficult emerges; a situation where the parent mayremain the parent as well as the child and where the child may be in an instant not just one but both,thereby dramatically increasing the possibilities for confusion; things clear to one, misunderstood bythe other. It would be easier, far easier, if a simple role reversal took place, clear to each, but this isnot the way it is for either party. And so, before the darkness falls, we need to learn, again who weare, who they are, what they need and must have, what we have that we may give and give stillmore. In short, we must at their end begin again, new roles to learn and urgent, too, for the darknessis nigh and there is much to learn and do before the end.Thus one of the most important, revealing and timely conversations of my life ended; we wereweary and needed rest. The meeting, by phone, ended as easily as a sigh. We had done what neededto be done.But I had one more thing to do, one more thing to listen to, to ponder. Bruce Springsteens 1982evocation "My Fathers House." And I went to a search engine to play it. I urge you to find it now...and ready yourself for a melody and lyrics which cut deep and place an unrelenting memory in you.""Last night I dreamed that I was a child... I was trying to make it home... before the darkness falls Iran with my heart pounding down that broken path... I broke through the trees and there in the nightMy fathers house stood shining hard and bright the branches and brambles tore my clothes and Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 8 of 13
  9. 9. Familyscratched my arms But I ran till I fell shaking in his arms."Now I can do as much for him... and must. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 9 of 13
  10. 10. FamilyAm I getting old? Oh, no, not you. The wonders of theInternet... the stubborn obstinacy of far too many SeniorCitizens. Generations colliding in cyber space. Dr. Jeffrey Lant.Authors program note. Did you ever see "Gigi" the 1958 musical by Alan Jay Lerner and FrederickLoewe? You should. It burned through a fortune to recreate lush, opulent Third Republic Paris andbesides the music is lovely. One song in particular touches my heart -- "I Remember It Well".Its a duet between Honore (Maurice Chevalier) and Mamita (Hermione Gingold), long ago loverswho meet up in the twilight of their lives and reminisce about what happened way back when... andwhat they remember; definitely not the same thing.Honore gets his every reminiscence slightly wrong; Mamita is spot on with hers. Honore isembarrassed, chagrined at his errors... but the lady doesnt mind. She retains an abiding affection forhim... and even in his errors she sees he retains an abiding affection for her. Yes, its a lovely,beautiful, bittersweet tune... go now to any search engine. Listen well. Tenacious memories are justone touch away and waiting now for you to release them. Bring an extra handkerchief.Another missed phone call... another missed opportunity. Another irritating moment for each.It just happened again. The Missed Call Syndrome. This time he called me.... and missedconnecting. So I called him back... and missed connecting. So now both of us, my 88 year old fatherand I (aged 65), remain disconnected, and irritated with each other. "Why cant the boy be there atjust the moment I want to talk to him?", he mutters. In return I say with pronounced pique, "Whywont he use a webcam? It would make life so much easier for both of us."Welcome to the clash of the titans, where one old goat continues to cause unnecessarycommunications problems.... and his know-it-all IT son fails (yet again) to show Dad the error of hisways. Thus the Mexican stand-off continues... with both parties irked, irritated, and more than a littleexasperated with each other. Whats going on here? Just this. Two obstinate generations, each used togetting its way, are battling to make their communications with the other easier... for we do, I think,truly want to communicate with each other, so long as the other party is dictated to, not dictating."Get an email address that works."Technology to be effective must be simple and easy to use and must not create more problems thanit solves. By this test the email program used by my technically clueless dad is useless, for it causesnothing but problems, not least the fundamental problem that it actually blocks all my email to him.As you may imagine this causes a ton of problems of the "Did you get my email the other day?"variety.Why does he keep this completely ineffectual program? Not because its "easy", because it mostassuredly is not; not because it delivers his mail promptly without hassle because it fails that test too.Ill tell you why he does it... because he feels (though he has never given me the satisfaction ofputting his unconvincing case in my unscrupulous hands) that he, having worked a long lifetime forothers, is entitled, the end approaching, to have those others (chief amongst them me) work for him...never mind that a completely fast, thorough and easy email system is at hand.Rigor Mortis before death. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 10 of 13
  11. 11. FamilyWe all know that rigor mortis comes with death; is in fact an undeniable symptom of that death.Sadly, for many, especially in regard to tech skills and proficiency, rigor mortis comes well beforethe end. Common sense dictates that if you want the substantial and undeniable benefits oftechnology, you must keep up-to-date. But obstinate seniors, like dear old dad, wont keepup-to-date. They have done much for others; they have little time remaining. They dont wantcontinuing education and the "joys of learning". They insist upon being catered to, waited on,kow-tow desired but not required.Thus if they fail to listen, fail to learn the necessary steps to put technology to work for them and socreate a heap of unnecessary problems, this is unfortunate, but so what? And so they approach theultimate arrogance and deep-seated selfishness of the "Let them eat cake" lady herself, the late,unlamented, backward looking Marie Antoinette, sovereign queen of unthinking, unrepentant,adamant ossification. (If he ever discovers Ive written this, Dad will kill me, especially as thecomparison is true and apt! One can, after all, forgive anything but the unanswerable truth.Fortunately he doesnt know how to access my articles at Hes tried; no cando; and thats that.)"Get a webcam! Get a webcam at once!"Writing emails, particularly if you are of the "bread-and-butter", copperplate hand generation likedad, takes time and careful attention. Words matter; finding just the right word is a courtesy theynever neglect. And they all honor Mark Twains trenchant line, "If I had more time, Id write you ashorter letter." As a result their emails are not just written but edited, corrected, refined, no textmessaging allowed; a real letter sent but never responded to in kind by anyone less than 70 or so.And so another failure-to-communicate incident is born, to smolder and explode without warning.How different things would be if hed use a webcam -- a webcam Im wiling to GIVE him!Consider the following: I have a webcam; my brother has a webcam; my sister has a webcam; herson and daughter each have webcams. Only my father does not have a webcam, considers thevexatious unsettling matter settled and considers all attempts to get him hooked up and active a graveimposition; unjust; an affront; the very idea lese majeste.He has for just such moments of offense and insolence and outrage his certain response: "Im old, Imtired, I cant do it, Im falling apart; its hard; its difficult; its...", but you get the picture. How cananyone transgress against such a paladin, now ancient, frail, venerable... and absolutely determinednot to change anything, not by a jot, much less a tittle?And so the matter unsatisfactorily continues day after day. We are both of us getting older, which isjust another way of saying we are getting more and more obstinate by the minute. He frets becausehis time is dwindling with anxious celerity and so each day the little he still wants becomes moreurgent. Why cant I see that?... But I do see that. That is why I want him to be on a webcam, easily accessible to me and his otherwired progeny, not least the only two grandchildren he will never know as well as he ought becausehe is ludicrously behind in what it takes to touch them, share, learn as they hobnob everywhere onEarth and never care to think or understand what he wants, much less help him get it.His failure to master even the rudiments of the communication techniques and services that existreinforces the very thing he fears most; disconnection from family and friends, alienation, a feelingthat worsens daily that he is not merely aged but irrelevant, obsolete, passed it, already not merelymoribund but actually dead by inches.He sees a webcam as a threat, exposing all that he does not know. I see it as my only and best chanceto connect with him easily and always before that chance is gone forever and I am forced to lament Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 11 of 13
  12. 12. Familywhat might have been... a state of affairs that chills me now and will haunt me until I, too, am dustand an inadequate memory to those I have loved."This too shall pass."This is one of my fathers favorite expressions. He has used it with me over and over again as ameans of lessoning lifes plethora of pains and even some moments of exuberance and euphoria, astoo much of a good thing. Now I shall render these words in quite a different way, as an admonition,a warning, an already far too late wake- up call, a clarion to action before even the little I can donow becomes far more than the days ahead will leave me.And so, I shall again do what I have tried to do so often... I shall say, out of a love which must neverbe forgotten, what needs to be said and which was never said better than this: "Do not go gentle intothat good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light". Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) insisted onthis to his father. I cannot do less to mine and so I shall tell him this...Aristides de Sousa MendesDo you know this man? You should. Born in 1885 in the Centro region of Portugal, he became adiplomat in the days when Dictator Antonio Salazar ruled. He was stationed in Bordeaux in 1940when the Nazis invaded France. Bordeaux was a prime exit port, a city engulfed in war and chaos; aplace to which refugees, many of them Jews, fled, looking for any way to escape. Mendes wasordered by his government to provide no aid, no escape. That was a decree of death. But Mendes wasa man of life.Thus, between June 17-July 8, 1940 he issued over 30,000 exit visas to refugees and displacedpersons, some 12,000 to Jews. One man, just a few days, thousands saved. Needless to say, hisgovernment disowned him, stripping him of diplomatic status, his legal profession, of everything infact except the certain knowledge that he had done the right thing, the righteous thing, the lifeaffirming thing.And you must do the life affirming thing, too. Thus understand that it is out of our love that weinsist upon your advancing, focused on whatever span is left; still opening windows, howeverdaunting, not closing them. If you will not do this for yourself; then do it for us, as yet another gift ofthe father. For in such a way, you choose life and hope, something we will surely address andcelebrate when we have our first joyous meeting online by webcam. May it come soon. Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 12 of 13
  13. 13. FamilyResourceAbout the Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., providing a widerange of online services for small and-home based businesses. Services include home businesstraining, affiliate marketing training, earn-at-home programs, traffic tools, advertising, webcasting,hosting, design, WordPress Blogs and more. Find out why Worldprofit is considered the # 1 onlineHome Business Training program by getting a free Associate Membership today.Republished with authors permission by Elizabeth English Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 13 of 13