Usually when I write this blog, I’m ranting and raving about some sort of political chicanery that’s taking place in our country. But with the last few days I have suddenly discovered that there are more important things than politics and it seems that occasionally we have to stop and take a look at and wonder about it all.
Let me tell you the story of an 85-year-old man who during his life accomplished many great things that would help just about everybody in this country. He started out as an electrical engineer and he created things with electronics that touch our lives on a day-to-day basis. In his young days he started out working for Bell aircraft in White Sands New Mexico, where he was a part of the X 15 project. Later when Bell aircraft close down its operations here in New Mexico, he went to work for the electronics lab in White Sands missile Range. Among the many things that he accomplished while working there was the basic layout and plans for the VCR, which played a major role in entertainment both professionally and in the home. I forgot to mention that while working for White Sands. He also was sent to NASA a Cape Canaveral, Florida, now Cape Kennedy (or is a Cape Canaveral again? They keep changing it so it’s hard to keep up with), where he designed the world’s first plug and play circuitry systems. Later in life he took a job as the chief administrator for Texas A&M University’s oceanographic laboratories, in Panama City, Florida. I remember those years with a great deal of fondness because during the summers I used to go visit him and see things that I’ve never seen before having been raised in the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona. After that he worked for a company called Marine acoustical services, where he developed a small portable radio that specifically tuned into all the weather notification channels. This was a boon to sailors everywhere around the world and helped save many lives. After spending several years at MAS, he decided to go into business for himself and he and his partner began to develop what he called Ferro-cement boat hulls which eventually became the basis for free-form housing and construction.
After several years of this, he decided to sell out his portion of the company and returned to the state of Arizona where he helped his father who was a land developer and eventually ran to become a member of the Arizona state legislature. While a member of the legislature. He accomplished many things for his state and for other states also. He was the very first individual to pass a bill within the Arizona state legislature to remove sales tax from all food items, shortly thereafter almost 15 states followed his lead.
I tell you these things because I want you to know that this man touched many lives and did great things. But at the same time you have to be aware that he was a man and like most men had his own foibles, and problems. That doesn’t mean that he was any less great. Nor does it mean that he was an individual that deserved any more recognition than what I am giving him here in this blog. But I do want you to know the man.
Like most of us, as time passes, he got old and along with old age comes the maladies that many have to face as they age. The one thing about him, though, was that as his body began to deteriorate. His mind remained as sharp and cognitive as ever. The only problem was that with weakness he had a tendency to fall and injure himself a great deal. The State of Arizona has a law that specifically was meant to help and protect the elderly, but one of the problems with this law is that it removes the dignity and independence of those who have known nothing else their entire lives. As time passed, the falls became more and more frequent, and two of his children who were caring for him decided that the only option for them was to place him in an assisted living facility. You see, he had fallen one more time and broken four ribs, and the hospital decided that he could no longer take care of himself and they refused to release him to go back to his home, his memories, his independence, and his life. In essence what they did was they shelved him, so that they would not have to take time out of their lives to care for this old gentleman who did so much for them and for others.
I guess that what I’m trying to say with all of this is that sometimes we have to take a step back and look at the things that really truly important in our lives. We have to give some thought to those who lead the way in our country. Sometimes it’s important for us to look back on the contributions made by family members to the history of the family and not only to our country for their story is the story of our nation and it is them who have made our nation great. I entreat all of you to look at the elderly and your family and sit down with them and talk to them about the things that were important to them and important to your family. I discovered a long time ago that sometimes the everyday things that take place ultimately affect not only the family but the world around the family, and creating the people that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. It is also these people who help shape America and who help shape our everyday lives.
I also ask you to remember that there will come a time in your life if you are fortunate enough to live to be 85 years old when you will most probably experience what this gentleman is experiencing, and understand the pain, the depression, and the indignity we inflict upon the elderly. Give a great deal of thought to this, the time will come, let’s just hope that America will begin to realize and understand that it is these individuals who have made this country great, and who deserve better than what they’ve been given.
I love you Dad.