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Postscripts from Roland Minda

The Joy of Naps

I have been a dedicated napper since I was a teenager—when I first mastered the habit during afternoon study class. Yes, many studies currently show that naps improve cognition, response time and overall good health, but I never required medical justification for my addiction.

I fine-tuned my napping skills in Manila during World War II, where the siesta was a national institution. However, in my early working years as a company employee, my napping habits were frowned upon by Philistine-like employers. I had to employ all my cunning to find undetected locations, even mastering the ability to find repose in a stairwell.

Later, when I was self-employed, I always saw to it that my office chair enabled me to comfortably put up my feet on the desk and instantly go under.

Now, as seniors, we can all enjoy the leisure and luxury of an unregimented life. And if you have not yet explored the potential of the nap, I urge you to quickly do so and discover for yourself the instant magic elixir!

Still Another Birthday!

Recently I endured another birthday, a reminder of my increased seniority. It wasn't a major birthday occasion; that happened a couple years back.

However, one good thing came out of that earlier, "biggie" birthday: I decided that since there were realistically few decades left, I should immediately establish whatever remaining priorities I hoped to accomplish -- and then yearly check out my progress.

Here are several of my top-of-list priorities; you might compare mine with yours.

  1. Exercise is a necessity, so I can stay well enough to accomplish other priorities---three times a week—always in the morning or it won't get done.
  2. Travel is a must. Every year my significantly younger wife says that we better do it now because who knows if next year you will be up for it! However, being practical she now concentrates more on ocean and river cruises.
  3. Keep up with friends. A recent high school reunion was a bit of a shocker: some of the heretofore stalwarts were missing, either ailing or departed.
  4. Initiate that long-term promise to start reading from that hoary list of books. When we work, there are many more urgent priorities, but now we have the time. Here my wife is a remarkable example. While I organize reading lists, she plows through still another tome with daunting speed and retention. It inspires a mate to do likewise!

I Remember Sports Champions

In a recent interview on Strictly Seniors, Hall of Fame Lakers star Vern Mikkelson talked about the Minneapolis Lakers and their five National Basketball championships, which they amassed over a half century ago. That reminded me of another Minnesota team which also achieved a five stunning national championship records -- the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team.

During the 1934-41 time periods and under the coaching of Bernie Bierman, the Gophers took five championships in 1934, '35, '36 and again in 1940 and 1941. In 1941 we even had a Heisman Trophy winner, Bruce Smith.

I had the opportunity to see the 1940-1941 home games, including the 1940 game against Michigan when the Gophers bested the remarkable Tommy Harmon. I was at the stadium courtesy of the Boy Scouts organization that arranged for Boy Scouts of a certain rank to serve as ushers.

So I was a spectator at both Lakers' and Gophers' championship years—those are glorious memories.

Let's Not Waste the Final Third!

According to current actuarial tables, a healthy sixty-five year-old is very likely to live to his or her mid-80's, and many financial planners are now allocating funds to last into seniors' nineties. So it is no longer a question of how to spend a brief retirement. Now the issue is how to organize the final third of our adult life.

When we worked, we had to fit in the rest of our life; work was the dominant feature. Now we have the time to concentrate on our special interests. So we should start off each year by deciding how to maximize the gift of these marvelous years and decades.

It can be: travel; volunteering; hobbies; creative projects; school courses; helping other family members, or, if so motivated, how about a new part-time career? Whatever the choice, it has the potential to be the most fulfilling period of our lives.

Judy, Deanna and me

When I was a very young age, my parents took me visiting for a month in Los Angeles. And since this brief saga deals with a moment of historic significance, I must mention that the date was July, 1936.

My father's good friend there was a close acquaintance of the legendary head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, Louis B. Mayer. Through this friend, we received a special invitation to visit MGM, the epicenter of the film industry at that time, in Culver City.

We arrived early in the afternoon and were escorted to a large outdoor set in a park-like setting with many benches. In the center was a large grandstand filled with musicians. Our guide told us that a short subject was being filmed and that this would be the debut film occasion for two musically talented young girls - their names were Judy Garland and Deanna Durbin. (Again, the date was 1936, two years before Judy's starring role in "The Wizard of Oz" and Deanna's lead in "Three Young Girls".)

The park was soon filled with extras, including the three of us, and shortly the two future stars came to the grandstand. There was a short period of set lighting and musicians rehearsing, and then the duet with Judy and Deanna began. Although I didn't know much about singing then, I knew right away that they were really GOOD! Little did I know then what stars they would both become. The film short that was shot that day has been seen over and over again in highlights of Judy's career, in particular - I always look for myself and my family in the background but have never seen us.

After their performance Deanna disappeared, but Judy briefly hung around and I was able to see her up close. I was awestruck. (At a later date I learned that she was only two years my senior, but at the time, at the moment she smiled at me, I only knew I was participating in a legendary, magical moment.)

That night we went to "The Brown Derby", a famous Hollywood restaurant. During the meal, and from a distance, I saw Hollywood stars William Powell with Jean Harlow. How's that for a climax of a memorable day!

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