We departed Denver at dawn last Friday. Two guys don’t need makeup or last minute packing. Just get up and go. Two thousand miles and a bunch of wonderful memories lay ahead. Going East is a bit of problem at that hour. Visors down and shades on as the sun begins its journey across the Western sky. My son Scott had his playlist with “On The Road Again” and “Good Day Sunshine” leading the way. Johnnie Cash stopped by and was interspersed with Fleetwood Mac and Dire Straits. He was yielding to his old man’s musical tastes.
We both had been relishing this trip. Not for the miles but the time to be spent together. Three years in London left too many voids to be filled. Thoughts to be pursued and a wonderful friendship to be put back on the front burner. As with my daughters it is sometimes hard to comprehend I have son who is 43 and is married with two adolescent boys. The transition is from father to close friend but how do I play it? Do I hold back and act mature? He’ll never buy that. Maybe I’ll just be me.
I asked a lot of questions and yes I DID listen. We covered the world from Trump to cyber attacks. We got deep into parenting and God. I tried to explain our methodology in raising him and his sisters. Not as an apologist but as a veteran. There is no book per se even though the Spock’s might tell you otherwise. You go with your gut.You look at what worked for you growing up and what didn’t. In flight adjustments so to speak.
There are only two real rules Kathy and I have lived by. Never, ever freak out when your kids tell you something. If you do, they will never reveal anything to you again. When they leave the room you can look at each other and say, “Did we just hear that?” But somehow it all works out. The other piece is roots and wings. We love our kids and want them to be part of our lives…if they choose to. No guilt trips but always a safe place to call home. Yet that gets thrown askew today from kids that don’t leave home or even if they do their problems become yours. It is not a matter of being fair but of being responsible.
As Scott talked on it became more evident what a truly wonderful young man he is. Good thinking going on there and a good citizen of the world to boot. I don’t say that to brag but to just have a lot of respect for him and how he handles things. When I have that same opportunity with my girls I know the outcome will be the same but in a totally different way and that is beyond cool. I guess that is why I have such an affinity for young people. They just have great ideas and perspectives.
We agreed that the future was perilous in so many ways from the environment to our financial follies. That is not as two worry worts but pragmatists. Pension liabilities and entitlements will bring us down if we don’t get our act in gear. Scott was an environmental engineering major at Notre Dame. He understands the pluses and minuses of climatology. I felt like I was in class as he told me of the different land masses and how they were formed. Did you know Colorado was completely covered by water and the red hills are remnants of beaches where the aqua receded over millions of years? I didn’t.
We covered that two thousand miles in two days. We got used to a NASCAR type pit stop with one pumping the gas and the other hitting the head. By the time I get to Nashville or wherever was our song with apologies to Glenn Cambell. We saw all sorts of idiocy in neighboring cars. Many were texting or reading while driving. One woman was putting on makeup doing 80mph. Of course there were the left lane Louies who were doing the exact speed limit and you were not going to move them. Such is the open road.
On our last night here at Harbor Ridge we had an especially neat discussion while sitting on the dock with a drink and of course a cigar for TTG. The water has a way of getting to your depths. I admitted mistakes and faults not to cleanse my soul but to let him know things don’t always go according to plan. Best laid plans of mice and men. Kath and I have had a wonderful life with pratfalls and pitfalls but if you keep your sense of humor and your wits about you it all works out in the end.
Enough of my prattle. I just wanted to tell you mostly of how wonderful it is to get close to those you love and let them do the same to you. We had a marvelous trip and visit and I can’t wait to do the same with my girls. Well, maybe not the NASCAR part. But don’t waste time or opportunities. Don’t look back and think if only. Pick up the phone or make a visit. Today we only think busy. Do it before it is too late. Realize just what you have.
Ted The great
Six people a day die from distracted driving. It could be you texting or someone else. What an incredible waste of life.
Many of you expressed frustration with me for not presenting a solution to our healthcare problem. I do not want to dictate but I will give you some hints as to my thinking.
The amount of fraud is enormous. Over $80 billion for Medicare alone. The bizarre part is they are using your and my Medicare numbers. Set up a whole group of investigators to get the bad guys…and girls. One time I talked with the Inspector General of HHS and asked him why he didn’t have more investigators? He said he could demonstrate a 14 to 1 ROI but Congress would not let him hire more people. Give the consumer an incentive to report and receive a portion of the monies retrieved.
2. Speaking of incentives let’s establish a base line for people with regard to Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index(BMI) and Blood Sugar. If you decrease your numbers and thus reduce your risk you get a reduction in your insurance premiums. Your call.
3.Repeal the section of Medicare relating to the banning of bidding out drugs. The VA pays one half what Medicare for the same medicines. Fini! No More!
4.Severely limit the use of emergency rooms for everyday illnesses. If your problem is deemed non emergency then you pay the bill. We are not limiting acute care but using other outlets to treat colds and sore throats than these astronomical billing machines.
5.Put money into telemedicine and the use of nurse practitioners for routine procedures. I have used them myself both at the VA and the University of Colorado and they have been more than adequate. In the long run they save a boatload of money.
6. FEHB Federal Employees Health Benefits and FERS Federal Employees Retirement System are comprehensive health and retirement programs for federal employees. I would immediately make this system which covers Congress et alia, either open to the rest of the populace or that the feds become part of Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. We should not have two systems. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. At least that should get their attention.
How is that for openers?