Message from Harold:

I met Karen Schamaun in George Pehler’s science class on the first day of high school, 1959. “The Martians have landed” were my first words to her. Pathetic pick-up line, perhaps, but a “lite” year later its nuanced humor eventually penetrated her defenses, and we’ve been in the same orbit ever since, sometimes spinning in opposite directions, though.

For example, I indulge my granddaughter, but Karen makes her buckle down; she buys lottery tickets, but I dollar-cost average; I have a temper, while K will carry a grudge; she reads labels and decrees corn syrup, processed wheat, and caffeine as hazardous to my health; she loves to fly Sun Country somewhere West, but an eastbound Amtrak is more my speed; I’d be a teacher all over again, but K would be drawn to medicine, sharp instruments, and the occasional letting of blood;

I took Social Security, but Karen says, “You should have waited”; I dislike insurance people, but K won’t answer the door for Jehovah’s Witnesses; I still like our old country split-level, so why is K attending open houses in town?; and she hikes and bikes long distances, which tire me to think about.

This brings me to June 20, 2008, where many of my classmates became aware of Karen’s indictment of my favorite retirement activity. “Ass-sitting” is not such a bad thing, and in fact I vigorously recommend it. To further my case, I will close with some recommendations to enhance your personal experience with that relaxing practice.

Books

Evensong – Kent Haruf
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
19 Minutes – Jodi Picoult
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Blue Heaven – C.J. Box
Regeneration – Pat Barker
Say When – Elizabeth Berg
The Double Bind – Chris Bohjalian
Montana 1948 – Larry Watson
All Creatures Great & Small – James Herriot
Class Action – Bingham & Gansler <--adapted as-->North Country (USA)

Films

The Lives of Others (Germany)
Two-Family House (USA)
Shall We Dance? (Japan)
A Very Long Engagement (France)
Map of the Human Heart (UK)
This Is My Father (USA)
Das Boot (Germany)
Red (Poland/France)
Nightwatch (Nattevagten-Denmark)
Cinema Paradisio (Italy)

Updated July 2008

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