2017-05-20 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

BY HOWARD ‘MAC’ MCDONALD

That cyber attack that journeyed all over the world must have made a stop at my house. My computer kept telling me, “Server Cannot Be Found.”

We have had this fight before. After trying all the tricks I learned from previous skirmishes, I finally won this most recent battle.

Most old folks have this urge to just slam the latest electronic gizmos with a sledge hammer, but we keep finding out that everyone else expects us to be in the mainstream. So we struggle on.

Progress cannot be held back to please this unhappy old buzzard. We have too many modern marvels in this world and the technology is moving faster than the people. It is hard to sit and watch the world streak by and leave the old-timers in the dust.

But frustration is not a good practice for seniors. It raises your blood pressure and, if your brain is weak, here comes a stroke. Even if we don’t use our brain – and I see plenty of evidence of that -- it is doing its job.

All of you have heard the phrase, “A penny for your thoughts.” That coin has rolled far into the past and been replaced with a dollar coin that hardly anybody uses. Penny candy is long gone, as is the nickel ice cream cone and the dime novel. The penny post card is a collector’s item. They have these places called “dollar stores” now. Anything of value costs a whole lot more than a dollar. Some of the stuff that’s only a buck is of lousy quality. We American consumers have made China a prosperous nation by buying its junk and selling it at Walmart and the other merchandise chains.

The second leg of horse-racing’s Triple Crown goes off this weekend with the Preakness Stakes. That reminds me of the story I heard about this rich widow who wanted to buy an aging thoroughbred. She decided she should first have the horse examined by a vet. After the doctor finished his exam, she asked him, “What do you think? Should I race him?” And the vet looked her in the eye and said, “Sure, but I wouldn’t put my money on you to win.”

When I was bumbling through my computer woes, somebody told me to look for a certain icon on my screen. That got me thinking about that word. A long time ago a man moved from Elk County to Cameron County and watched the Emporium job market go down the tubes (no pun intended). Sylvania Electronics had moved to greener pastures. Ken Gerg and three other guys started Pennsylvania Pressed Metals and watched it grow to a very profitable business. Keeping a business profitable can take a toll on a body. After years of bucking the tiger, along came a bigger company and PPM was sold. Ken is one of the powdered metals icons. I am glad he has been speaking out to the school board and anyone else who will listen about the employment opportunities for the youth of Cameron and surrounding counties. The field of metallurgy is high-tech. The jobs are not all on the assembly line. I hope the people will wake up and listen

to Ken.

Did you know that West Point was called Fort Arnold? When Benedict Arnold tried to sell it to the British, he got the heave-ho. Thomas Jefferson made it the Military Academy and named it West Point because of its location.

The North Koreans have two satellites orbiting over the U.S. and there are concerns that they could be carrying a low-yield nuclear weapon. Weapons in those satellites could knock out our power grid and cripple this country. We have the weapons that could blow them out of the air. Don’t be surprised if it happens.

I thought a lot about my mom as another Mother’s Day came around. If she was around today she would be 117 years old. Mom taught me a lot of things that I use today. Her cooking lessons have come in handy. I am the chief cook and bottle washer in our household. It does not take a lot of fancy recipes to satisfy our menu, but I do try to make the meals interesting.

When you drain a swamp, you had better watch out for alligators and don’t be bringing in other gators to swell the population. There are all kinds of games that are played in D.C. and no umpires to call you safe or out. If you are going to play the political game, you had better stack the deck and learn how to deal off the bottom. You need to be a card shark, because you are swimming in a sea of polluted waters. There are predators out there just waiting to ambush you.

U.S. Armed Forces Day arrives on Saturday, May 20. I am guessing it will come and go with few taking notice. On its heels is Memorial Day, which is an important holiday for our nation. God bless the hard-working volunteers from our military organizations who continue to place flags on the graves of our fallen heroes and remind us of their sacrifices. The marching band, pretty majorettes and other parade units always bring Memorial Day alive. Most important of all is the display of Old Glory. Americans, by and large, are still quite patriotic and let’s hope they show it this year. If you are an old-timer, you may remember it as Decoration Day. Many communities claim that they originated Memorial Day, but this holiday’s birth occurred in Waterloo, N.Y., on May 5, 1866. It was to honor the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. The date has since been changed and it is always on a Monday later in May.

Remember the fallen troops, support the ones at war, don’t burn yourself on the barbecue grill and have a safe and fun-filled Memorial Day weekend. Also, as always, keep your eyes open and your powder dry.

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