Comings and Goings

I want to welcome Ron back to Activities. It is so good to have him back especially to lead ROMEO on it’s monthly excursions to different restaurants. Yes, ROMEO is back to its original form (the pen is mightier than the sword) . Now Activities can get back to his norm and on it’s luxurious way. Again, welcome back Ron.

As I have said before, it is so nice to be retired and to be able to go to places without worry of having to do this or that to your house. My wife and I went to our favorite casino places, Maryland live, Horseshoe and MGM casinos. We spent three days and two nights away without a care in the world. Who says you can’t do things when you are retired? That is what retirement is for, to do what you want to do when you want to do it. The only reason that we came back so soon was because we had another engagement Saturday evening, where I ran into a guy I used to work with more than twenty years ago. Again, good food, music and lots of fun.

Last Tuesday, as it is every Tuesday, the White Squirrel have it’s live music along with good food and fun. The Thunderbirds, who plays every other Tuesday, were really great in the music playing and selection. The White Squirrel have a new menu and the food was really good. I am glad to see the upgrade in the food because, for a while, the food was going downhill. I talked with James, the assistant manager of the dining facilities, who is back and he seem to be doing well. He is still crazy and it was really great to see him running around acting crazy with everyone.

Now that warm weather will soon be here, it is time to get my bicycle, and other things, ready for good weather so that I can go outside and get some pleasant exercise done. Being cooped up all winter have really gotten me out of shape, as if I was in good shape to start with. LOL Being in the age group that I am in, doesn’t take much to get me out of shape. Keeping myself active and not sitting around doing nothing should keep me healthy and vibrant ( I hope). Of course going to the casinos, like we do, and all the other things, doesn’t leave much room to cram in the exercising. I really don’t like going down into the gym and going through the exercise routines that a trainer would give. Good shows on TV does not help the situation any either (smile). I will keep trudging along and doing the best I can to stay in shape so that my wife and I can continue to go to the casinos.

Really, there’s not much to put in to today’s blog. I am just looking forward to the warm weather and the upcoming activities from the Activity Department here at the Imperial Plaza. The Activity Department have the cherry blossom/boat ride coming up as well as other exciting outings. I don’t know how many I will be able to go on because I know that some will clash with my schedule. But, of course, I cannot miss ROMEO. So I say to all, get out there and be active. Maybe I’ll see you somewhere along the way.

Black History Programs

With February being Black History Month I was a little busy. Actually, the way I feel about it, there should be some way Black History is incorporated into each and every month. There is too much history, up front and much, much more hidden (think about the movie Hidden Figures), that is relevant and should be remembered. I have thought about the direction I wanted to go while writing this particular blog but there are many directions and my mind was mixing them all. I think I have a grasp of it for now.

I did not want to write anything that I have read or heard about. I want to give you personal experiences, experiences that are in line with what I am writing. My mind seem to drift off the main subject and I could write much more than I post. I’ll try to make it short and to the point although it is difficult when writing history or about historical figures. For instance, when I wrote about The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman, I only wrote about the time before he went into the military up to his graduating as a Tuskegee Airman. If I had written his entire story (I have him telling it to me on an over an hour long digital audio recording).

I was a part of one program where I was portrayed as Sen. Obama and then as President Obama. I read his speech when he was running for president and his farewell speech (I used my radio voice from my radio days). That was a nice program and I was told I did well. The audience was very small and I only counted three Black people in the place. Imperial Plaza have enough Black residents to fill the auditorium yet they come to very few programs and this was about them and for them. Yet, they complain there aren’t any programs for them, etc.

The second program was at the Virginia War Memorial. I was on the stage panel for a discussion plus a question and answer period. There were six of us and among us were Tuskegee Airmen, a woman (Army Retired) whose story would make you think of one of the women in the movie Hidden Figures), Viet Nam and the Iraq era. I can’t tell you who was more interesting, the Tuskegee Airmen or her. My input into the program did not hold a candle to theirs and I could have been listening all day to their stories.

The crowd was small and , here again, there should have been many more. After the panel stories, question and answer period, we went outside for a wreath laying. Franklin Military Academy presented The Colors and I assisted in the wreath laying ceremony. We pledged allegiance to The Flag, a female Franklin Academy Cadet sang the National Anthem and a cadet blew “Taps” on his trumpet. The weather co-operated. PBS was there and it aired the next morning and the papers were there but I did not see the article. All of it was beautiful. I could do this all year, not only during February.

The thing I am sad about is for the young people. Most are not interested in history, especially Black history. They know about some of the famous Black people but they do not know about the small things that were accomplished. Most do not want to know who did what or why. They seldom understand what the conditions and hold backs were. I have even found they have a lot of misconceptions about ancient history, like the Pyramids or the oldest operating library in the world. Things like this are important to me, personally, and it helped shape my mind and all my actions through life. The few that soak up history seem to be better because of it.

All of us on that stage at the Virginia War Memorial was a tiny sample of the history that is sort by historians. It was sad only three of four kids were there to hear about the tiny portion of history from the people that produced it. Yes, I am a part of it although I rarely talk about it. It started with Civil Rights and ended at my retirement from the military.

To those before me and/or accomplished more than I have, thank you. To those that are learning about past history, keep digging. There is a treasure trove to find. And, as I have said before, you will never know who you may be talking to because most will not say unless asked. That person may have a background that would shock you. Keep digging…

ROMEO

Remember the acronym ROMEO I refer to from time to time? The group of men from Brookdale Imperial Plaza? Well, I guess all of you could tell from my writings that I really loved being out once a month with the guys. There are only around a dozen of us that do this and we really enjoy eating and drinking together. All men with jibs on each other and language to boot. I’ve been here a little over three years and have been on thirty nine out of forty outings.

ROMEO…Retired Old Men Eating Out. Before now, the only two men that were not old nor retired were the bus driver and the Activities Guide. That was before the last two. The last two have had a woman or two and a non-resident young male. RETIRED OLD MEN EATING OUT. It was great saying what you wanted to say, the way you wanted to say it and everyone understood and did not get offended. They understood the old way of speaking and how to rib someone. No explanation necessary. Cursing was not a no-no because no one but us guys were there.

The last two outings had women. The first one was from the Activities Dept. because she said she always wanted to eat at that particular place. The last time was because our normal man, from the Activities Dept., had to drive the bus (short of bus drivers) therefore a female from the Activities Dept. was selected because that is all there is. In the past, the activities guy driving the bus had been the driver, tour guide and aide all rolled into one. That was then but not this time. Then, when we get there the other female joins us. Then in walks her boyfriend. We had to make room for him.

The only place to make room was beside me therefore I was jammed in beside them and small talk was made with them. The usual banter with light jibs was never made and, it seem to me, tense. We ate, got on the bus and returned to Imperial Plaza. By the time I got home (I stopped outside for a while to smoke a cigar) my wife knew I was sitting with the women. That was not a problem, considering who the women were. The wives always kidded us about the time we returned. It was a standing joke that we needed a written excuse to get into the house if we were running late that evening. Most times we were late but it was always the usual laughable joke. Never who we were with or what we talked about.

The group’s name is ROMEO and I will drop out until it comes back to an all male group. That is what I signed up for. I did not sign up for a mixed group. I can do that with my wife and have even more pleasure. There will not be any telling of what I did or that I was sitting with the women because she is with me. I can stay as long as I like because she is with me. I can go back to being a loner and not the point of speculation. Good-bye ROMEO! Or is it now PEO People Eating Out?

Alarm Clock

It is great to have an alarm clock, but here at Imperial Plaza I don’t think I need one for the normal getting up in the morning. It is normal at around 7:30am, Monday through Friday, to hear a leaf blower cleaning the sidewalks and streets. Therefore, for that time of morning I do not need a manual alarm clock, only for very early appointments. Even with the windows closed I can still hear the leaf blower and I am on the seventh floor. It is still loud.

Then between 8am and 8:30am the trash truck comes to pick up from the dumpster. I hear the beep, beep, beep of the backup alarm and I hear the hydraulics of the truck raising the dumpster. Then I hear the clanging of the trash being dumped from the dumpster into the truck. The next thing I hear, which really gets to me, is the truck backing up, loudly beeping all the way. And all of this noise is from the building beside mine. The truck then comes to my building and the noise starts all over again, only closer. I don’t need an alarm clock with all of this going on.

I am well aware that all of this is necessary. I am also acutely aware of how immaculate our lawns and streets are. The trash rarely fills to overflowing, except on a long holiday weekend or someone moving in or out. Who can complain about that? With me and my wife always going to bed late I guess we will have to put up with the morning noise. It’s a small price to pay for the enjoyment that we get afterward. I will never complain about it because I do not want Brookdale Imperial Plaza’s Management making drastic changes and mess up the good thing that we are having. Retirement is beautiful and I want to keep it that way.

I remember when I had my house I had to do all of the work myself. Once or twice a week I had to drag my trash cans from the back of the house and put it on the edge of the curb for trash pickup. When he came to lawn care, I did all of it including the bushes and hedges. How can I gripe about having it all done for me at no cost. My grandmother and my mother used to constantly say “do not look a gift horse in the mouth”. This is truly a gift horse and I’m trying hard not to look at it and pout. I am thankful for what I have and don’t want to mess it up for anything.

Thinking about timing, it is ironic, while trying to get this done, testing of the fire alarm was being done. There wasn’t a notice that this was to occur where usually we would have some type of warning. Then again, the warning that was usually given was inadequate. We usually have a testing once a month at 10am in the morning. The notice for the morning test is usually put out the day before, or it should be but, I have been complaining ever since I’ve been here, that notice usually go out in the wee hours of the morning (night?). Everyone is asleep when the notice comes out and, if you don’t check your message box in front of your door when you wake up early, you will not get the notice. When the alarm sounds you will be wondering if it is real or not. I usually look out my door into the hallway to see if a notice is in my message box. If a message is not there, then the alarm is real. If a message is there, then it is a test. I am usually already up and messing about because the leaf blower and the trash truck have already sounded an alarm (LOL).

So, here at if Imperial Plaza, there are all sorts of alarm clocks. This have only been three out of a few others I can think of. However, it is better than when I had a house and had to do all of this myself. Now, as I have a cup of coffee and look out my window, I can say those were the days when I had to do all of that myself. I smile as I reminisce. (slurp…aaahhh)

Casinos

Had another good week last week (this week was just for relaxation and recharging my energy) with a four day trip to Maryland. If you looked at my Facebook page you saw the picture of my wife holding our latest great-grandchild when we made a stop on our way back to Virginia. We were in Maryland to do our usual thing, gamble at the casinos. We headquartered at Maryland Live’s hotel which put us between Horseshoe and MGM. We get perks from all the casinos but decided to use Maryland Live’s because it was between the other two.

Look at it this way; four day stay at their hotel, their perks and our acquired points gave us all our meals and each gave us slot machine money. All I needed was the gas money and a little more to keep it interesting. In fact, we came back with money in our pocket. Can’t beat that for a four day stay at three casinos. Plus we got to visit the baby on the way back (got through Washington the day before the inauguration).

Thinking about that, this is what we ran into. Usually, on week days, the hotel does not have many people staying. I noticed the parking lot almost full and more cars were coming. All the other hotels had the same thing. Then I started calling myself a dummy because, after talking to a couple that was checking-in, I was told that they were getting the hell out of DC before the crowds hit. Then I noticed that most of the cars had DC plates.

After visiting the baby it dawned on me that it was the same area that The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman (an article I wrote) lived. In fact, I am still trying to get the article printed for the general public. It have been approved by the MPP (Mighty Pen Project) and they have a copy but the Richmond-Times dispatch turned it down. The newspaper say it does not have a Virginia connection although the man live in Ashburn, Virginia. It does not make any sense to me, but who am I to say? Also, the man is Black and his wife is White, they had to live in Washington because of segregation, that is the same as the Loving story that hit the movies last year.

The highlight for this week came on Monday. Four of us from the Mighty Pen Project had a townhall type panel discussion, at The University of Richmond, for a freshman class that is writing about war. They included my two writings on protests in the 1950’s. The question and answering went well and, in fact, we could have gone on much longer than we had time for. This is our second time doing this. The first time was at the Library of Virginia and that went very well also. I hope to do it again.

This year I work on my birthday and my wife is out of town. As I get older, holidays, birthdays, etc. does not mean as much as it did when I was younger. I prefer peace and quiet plus time to read or write. I stay busy, although my wife say otherwise, and I believe staying busy help the body stay active, younger and spry. Inactivity bring on more aches and pains, more than usual, and it can be avoided without medication for that particular ailment. I see too much inactivity around here (Imperial Plaza) although there are so many programs and events for the residents. Most do not attend any of them. Alas, what can I say or do about it? Not a thing.

Until next time…Stay warm, keep on keeping on. I’m out!

It’s Good To Be Retired

Lately I have gotten off the trail by talking politics instead of talking about retirement here at Imperial Plaza. Well, I guess I will get back to talking about Imperial Plaza and tell you that things are as usual, not as smooth as it should be. We are losing people, good people, that we should not be losing at all. That is because of management or supervision or whatever but it still boils down to losing good people.

We just lost a bus driver/supervisor who has gone onto more, or you could say, better endeavors. It seem as though he was angry about something that occurred, here at Imperial Plaza, and he said he had to move on to another job. I do not know exactly what it was but it made him mad enough that he has found a new job, we’re going to miss him. It seems as though Imperial Plaza is short of personnel in all departments. From what I could find out, through talking with some of the other individuals, it seems to be that there have been problems with supervision. I cannot say whether supervision is correct or whether supervision is wrong, but it seems that it needs looking into to find out what is going on.

ROMEO went to Morton’s and had a really expensive dinner. The dinner was tasty but boy did it cost a lot. The drinks were very expensive plus I have never seen a Long Island Iced Tea in a wine glass. The side dish was large enough to share with three other people. What a waste when so many are starving and this place is over feeding. I can say that I do not want to go to Morton’s again but it was nice to at least go one time. Next month we are to go to Hardshell. Hopefully that is not too expensive but to be with the ROMEO guys once a month is worth it.

My wife and I are headed back to Maryland Live. We are to stay three days because this way we can go between Maryland Live, Horseshoe and MGM. I really don’t like MGM but, as they say, a happy wife is a happy life. Seems as though we called it just right because the weather should cooperate for us. Ice storms and a little snow is scheduled for this weekend but we are headed out Monday morning. I am glad that the bad weather is north of us because I have spent enough time in bad weather while serving in the military.

I am using this new voice activated program and it seems to be working very well. I decided to buy the program in order to write the two blogs and other writings that I have scheduled. It seems to take less time and making corrections is easy. All I have to do is edit. I have to edit because I do not have everything correct in order for the program not to make mistakes. However, so far so good and practice make perfect. The more I use it the better I’ll be and I’ll probably be using it a lot. So far what usually takes me an hour to write has only been 15 minutes. Needless to say, it’s money well spent.

This last snowstorm really bought to the forefront why I decided to move to Imperial Plaza. When you think about not having to rake leaves, shovel snow or worry about frozen water pipes, it brings a smile to your face to know that you’re at Imperial Plaza and don’t have to do any of that. So, I’ll take the good with the bad and stay right here at Imperial Plaza and have a good time looking out the window at the bad weather. Everyone take care until the next blog. Don’t forget to check out my other blog, faithingodministries.net. I write on the weekend that this one is not written.

Happenings

Hoping all had a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and did not forget what and/or why the holiday is. It’s not for commercialization but for the religious beliefs that is meant. In fact, here we are just a few days after Christmas, New Year is not here yet, and Valentine stuff is already up. Now we are in the new year with new things that will occur (especially here in the USA). There are other worst things that are occurring in the world. Let us not forget good old Imperial Plaza have it’s problems also. Oh well..Life goes on.

Being retired means having fun so I’ll mention only a couple things that is happening at Imperial Plaza. Our head of food services is out although he just got here. I’ve talked about food services before therefore I won’t get into it again although my heart is pulling me to speak more on the subject. Alas, I will not, for now. Also, there are a lot of people that is crying about the rent going up but it is just a little bit. I know that being retired put most people on a fixed income but this is not unexpected. No matter where a person go, the rent takes a yearly rise. Not much but it will rise. There is a very old joke that mention “like age, rent goes up” and it does. And we have a new director for Imperial Plaza, Mr. Don Jones. I am patiently awaiting the good things that is promised to happen.

In Imperial Plaza’s weekly travels, this week we went to the Virginia State Capitol Building. I have been to the U.S. Capitol many, many times but not my own state’s. Why and how, you would ask. Easy. The word is “segregation”. As a kid I lived in Washington, D.C. and we used to play in the capitol building and go to many other places. It was not like it is now. The Virginia Capitol is beautiful, not because it has been through a recent renovation but it is. The first capitol was in Jamestown then it moved to Williamsburg and, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War it moved to Richmond.

I took many pictures and listened to the tour guide with fascination. Much of what was said bought back my teachings in school. When I started school, it was a requirement to take the course, Virginia History. This was a requirement all through elementary school. It would have been nice to come to the capitol, when I was in school, but two things were in the way to keep that from happening. First I lived in Petersburg and Richmond was twenty miles away with zero school buses and second, it was during segregation and that meant many places I could not go and that was one of them.

I’ll cut this short for now and go on to another pressing thing. Before I go I want to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR and want you to keep reading and please pass this on and on and on. I need followers and likes for encouragement to continue and, most of all, for the blog to grow. Suggestions for topics to write about would also be great. See ya and remember my saying…Be kind to your neighbors because you’ll never know when you’ll need them. Also, ensure your words are soft and sweet because you’ll never know when you’ll have to eat them. Bye, bye…