The Cranky Old Man is down on the Jersey Shore. Our home for the next three weeks is a little two bed room, nothing fancy unit off a garage. The rooms are small, the bed uncomfortable, and yet it doesn’t get much better.
Today was a beautiful summery day. The water warm, warm enough for this old man to take several dips in the ocean for maybe the first time in thirty years as early as in June. After showering, Mrs. Cranky and I took the step-boy and his girl friend to dinner at an obscenely expensive wonderful dinner. After dinner Mrs. C left for a wake of a relative of a relative who passed away too early. Mrs. C is Catholic and goes to any wake of anyone she knows or is a friend or a relative of anyone she knows.
The Cranky Old Man stayed home.
I went to the beach which is about twenty yards from the tiny home we rent every year.
One of the nice things about getting old is you appreciate things so much. It was a beautiful night on the beach tonight; maybe as beautiful as a night on the beach can be. A few years ago Hurricane Sandy rolled in and this same beach was a war zone. Homes were lost, people’s lives were turned topsy turvey.
Tonight the ocean was calm, the air warm and refreshing. I sat on a bench with the last glass of a bottle of pinot grigio and a good cigar that my son-in-law had given me.
I reflected on life as I watched life on the beach. I watched the seagulls and the shore birds, and was glad that their hard life was not mine. I watched two Ospreys hunting for fish and thought how their success or failure meant the very existence of their young back home in their nest. It is much nicer to be on a bench with a glass of wine and a good cigar than to be either of these beautiful birds working for survival.
I watched a young dad surf fishing with his five year old son. The son was so excited to be fishing and wanted so bad to catch a fish. He thought he had a bite at every bump his line took from the movement of the tide. He continually reeled in his line only to find there was no fish, and his dad patiently cast his bait back into the ocean for his young son. I thought how even though this young boy would probably not catch a fish he would remember this night with his dad for the rest of his life. Catching a fish was nothing for this little boy compared to the life or death importance catching a fish was to the osprey.
There is so much evil in this world. There are so many people who live lives of desperation much the same as the patient ospreys.
I know I am one of the lucky ones. I know I should do more to help others less fortunate. I should probably feel guilty for not sacrificing, for not giving up some of what I have and to be more of a giver than a taker. I have worked hard for what I have, but I have had more advantages than most. Simply being born in this wonderful country has given me more advantages than ninety-nine percent of every human ever born, even more, if you think about it, than princes and kings of years gone by.
I’ve had my bumps in life, and there are for sure more to come.
At least on this day, this perfect day on the Jersey Shore, I appreciate and thank God for what I do have.