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UNDERSTANDING CHANGE OVER THE YEARS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 11, 2022

BRYCE ON AGING

I recently wrote this for a good friend on the occasion of his 80th birthday. He is a great guy and I wanted to encapsulate a lot of what we have discussed over the years.

As Jack Benny said, “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.” And if you don’t know who Jack Benny was, you’ve missed a lot.

My friend is now entering his 9th decade and is doing a bit of trail-blazing for our group. I started to think about what both he, and all of us, have learned along the way. So, I want to review this by decade.

IN OUR FIRST TEN YEARS

Early on, we develop a dependency on our parents who try to teach us valuable moral values. If they do not, it defaults to churches, scouting, teammates on the playing fields, schools, or the media (which has a lousy track record these days). Parents check out our friends to see if they are good for us; if not, we hear about it. “Stay away from that punk, he’s an idiot,” they said (and quite often they were right).

If we are lucky to have them, we love our grandparents, not because of opulent gifts, but by the love and attention they provide, such as homemade baked goods, trips to the zoo and museums, knitting and sewing, fishing, and attendance at our first baseball game. They also try to teach us the history of the family and our cultural background which, hopefully, we will heed.

We attend school and develop friends, some for life. Some of us love school, others revolt against it for many years, and fight the system.

This is the “Age of Discovery.” You learn what you like to eat and what you abhor. To this day, I still can’t bring myself to eat lima beans or liver.

It’s a glorious time and your only true vacation from life, you just don’t know it at the time.

Boys and girls discover the charm of the other sex, but don’t understand why. We learn to dance with each other, most doing it badly. Boys either know how to get along with girls or are clumsy as they fear catching the deadly “cooties” disease.

You learn about death, through a grandparent or other favorite relative. Suddenly there is a void in your life which we do not understand. Most of us never figure it out, other than to say we wish we had spent more time with the person.

We enjoy the simplicities of life, such as a root beer barrel, rock candy, an ice cream soda, your grandmother’s homemade cakes and pies, owning your own bicycle (which you take everywhere), picking some fruit, catching a fish, or buying a comic book. As a kid, you discovered a dollar could go a long way and we saved every penny.

We suffer numerous bruises, breaks, cuts and accidents. At first, mothers panic, but as it happens more repetitively, they begin to say, “Oh, he’ll get over it.”

Mothers never sleep and constantly listen for signs of mischief. They offer classic maxims like, “If you’re not careful, you’ll put your eye out,” “Be careful or you’ll blow your hand off,” and “Wait until your father comes home.” If you really got out of line, you got swatted. In my house, you got “the strap.” Even my grandmothers kept a flyswatter or switch nearby to keep us in line.

TEENAGE YEARS (11-19)

We are quickly moving towards maturity, and stand in awe of puberty. Mother’s maxims change to, “Stop it or you’ll go blind.”

It is at this age where we learn we have to make our own decisions. What our parents had to say was important, as well as our peers, but we reluctantly learn we are ultimately responsible for our actions and decisions and nobody else.

Physically, our bodies grow and change, and our hormones rage. This is when the parents give us “the talk” which we’re all surprised by; but I think Hollywood has changed all that. I think our grand-kids can now give us a better “talk.” It would be scarey if we replied, “Gee, I didn’t know that.”

We take on small part time jobs, be it at a gas station, drug store, flipping burgers, or whatever. From this, we learn the important concept of “responsibility;” that we will have to work with others who depend on our abilities, regardless of how mundane we think the job is. My first job was as a SOHIO station attendant in Cincinnati where I pumped gas for $1.65 an hour. At our station, gas was 35 cents per gallon (but I also knew places where you could get it for 29 cents). Regardless, this simple job taught me responsibility, how to work with the public, and the necessity for portraying a proper image; I was not just a “grease jockey,” I was a representative of a big company who taught us to wear a clean uniform, cut our hair, and make everyone feel welcome so we could cultivate return business. Now, it is just the reverse.

As we come to the end of the teenage years, we knew we were running out of time, and adulthood was just around the corner. We also knew we would have to seek independence soon, and it scared us.

Our choices were simple:

* Get a job

* Go to college

* Attend a trade school

* Attend the military – where you learned structure, discipline, and gave the person a sense of purpose.

What we choose during these critical years affect us for the rest of our lives.

It is during the teen years when we learn to drive, scaring the hell out of mothers, and driving fathers crazy as they watch their car insurance skyrocket. Driving a car, teaches us the joy of independence, and to be a responsible driver; because if we screw up here, we can hurt more than ourselves.

We develop an attachment to the music and film of our time. At first, we listen to our parent’s music, but we quickly gravitate to our own. Parents don’t understand the music and constantly yell, “Turn that garbage off!”

Teens also start to experiment with booze and drugs as a form of escapism. The sad thing is, particularly with drugs, it can lead to death. As such, understanding addiction becomes incredibly important.

OUR TWENTIES

Studies from around the world show there is a proper sequence to follow in order to succeed in life: Education -> Career -> Family

If you get this wrong, you will have a difficult time in life. This has been proven all over the world, and starts to become obvious at this stage.

As my father-in-law used to say: “We have 30 years to learn, 30 years to earn, and 30 years to burn (the money).”

This leads to marriage. I tend to believe you should be certified in order to get married. I’ve seen too many people marry for the wrong reasons, particularly one based on sex only. As a Notary Public in Florida I have had the opportunity to marry people. I always admonish them to think of marriage like the Tango, that beautiful Latin dance requiring the skills of both partners; and that is what marriage is, a partnership requiring commitment, and like the Tango, marriage can be just as beautiful if you do it together.

The seeds of religion were planted years ago in Sunday School, but they begin to blossom now. As a youngster you weren’t sure what everything meant. Baptisms and confirmations were mysteries, but we begin to understand it was mostly lessons in morality. Now, in our twenties, we seek such morality, we want to pass it on to our offspring, and we take comfort that a higher Supreme Being is out there.

With a family underway, we become a little more self-conscious about the world around us. We take out life insurance to take care of our family and put aside money for college tuition (Yes, this all begins in our twenties, if we are lucky). We also start to become sensitive to our civic responsibilities, such as voting and jury duty, something nobody prepared us for.

At work, we are aggressively learning our craft. We discover there is a big difference between a career and a mere job. We all seek enjoyment in our chosen craft, but many settle for just a job. The ultimate goal of work is to leave the world a better place than before we got here.

OUR THIRTIES

Sometime during this decade we start to ask the disturbing question, “Have we become our parents?” Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you interpret it), the answer is, “Yes,” as we find we have to make the same decisions our parents made.

Our house becomes a major investment for us, we now have an un-Godly amount of insurance on our houses, cars, and medical. So much so, insurance agents start to smile when they see you are calling them.

We now have little ones underfoot who demand our attention, particularly at school functions, clubs and on the athletic fields. Now is the time to teach them the importance of good grades and being courteous, such as writing a sincere thank you note to someone, particularly grandparents.

It is at this time you become more active in nonprofit groups, such as churches and temples, fraternal groups, professional associations, homeowner associations and school groups. You do this more for peace of mind than anything else.

At work, you are becoming a master of your craft; people look to you for resourcefulness in getting a job done.

Yes, we are definitely starting to become our parents.

OUR FORTIES

When we reach the age of forty, we say “Whoops,” as it dawns on us that our life is half over and we better get moving. This is when we start to take on more responsibilities and become managers and department heads.

Our management style either involves micromanagement, telling everyone how to do their job, or we manage from the bottom-up by carefully training our people, empowering them, and turning them loose on their work. You learn you cannot afford to have people love you, as you’ve got to get a job done. Nor can you afford to be Atilla the Hun. Your goal is to promote teamwork and discourage rugged individualism, thereby creating win-win situations for everyone.

OUR FIFTIES

I’ve found that once you enter your fifties you become more reflective on where you’ve been and where you’re going. Now, more than ever, you embrace a sense of family, particularly as your children graduate, get married, and start families of their own.

One nice thing about becoming a grandparent is you are now at liberty to spoil your grandchildren. You give them money, candy, and toys, and their parents begin to wonder, “Who is this guy?” “Is this the same guy who made us do chores, cut the grass, and keep the house clean for fifty cents?” While your children scratch their heads, you finally get the last laugh.

At work, you have earned senior status, and become an important resource to the company as you mentor and try to educate the younger people. If they’re smart, they will listen as you possess the history of the company. You also can describe what has been tried and failed, and what works. Hopefully, they’ll listen.

OUR SIXTIES

I call this, “The Big Slow Down.”

When you turn 60, people start treating you differently. “Ok old man, sit in the corner, eat your cookie, and we’ll take it from here.” You still have a dance or two left on your card and still want to make a difference, but management and the younger workers begin to shove you aside.

It is also at this time when Retirement raises its ugly head. Some people welcome it, others resist it. Now we have to think about Social Security, Medicare, Insurance supplements, and keeping a constant eye on our portfolio.

You find personal conversations with your peers change from such things as management, production, and the competition, to things such as sciatica, macular degeneration, Milk of Magnesia, GasX, hemorrhoids and impotence. And it occurs to you, it was more fun the other way around.

You consider attending your 50th high school reunion. Some will go and have a great time catching up with old friends; others will remember the jerks of their class who are still witless. Consequently, you decide wisely to stay home. After all, we have Zoom don’t we?

OUR SEVENTIES

This is when we become more cognizant of the changes around us:

* We cannot relate to the fashions of the day, preferring clothes and material from our younger days. For example, we can no longer find the type of underwear we wore for years.

* We no longer understand the vernacular. For example, people say things like “Woke,” “Meme,” “Apps,” and “Social Equity,” and we scratch our head.

* We do not understand their music and dancing. Frankly, it looks like a group of people in heat.

* We start forgetting things, be it a name or word, or even worse, to shave, brush your teeth, or wash your hair in the morning. You’ve done it for so many years, you believe you already did it. You are also apt to lose TV remotes, cell phones, and keys.

* The political world has changed. It is totally different than what you remember. You just don’t get it. Nor do you understand the morality of the day. It is not what you grew up with.

* Due to our gastrointestinal problems, we now eat food in smaller portions and it’s more bland.

* Travel, which was considered a great joy earlier in life, is now considered loathsome. Besides, we no longer have the strength to climb mountains anymore.

* We have difficulty with the technology of the day. We use smart phones for nothing but communications, and ignore the hundreds of icons on it. Plus we still write checks and balance bank accounts using paper; either because we do not know how to set it up, or we simply do not trust the banks. Regardless, we develop a dependency on our grandchildren to fix the TV remotes, cell phones, and change all the clocks.

* In terms of romance, we chase each other around the bedroom but quickly forget why.

* Friends pass away without notice and we find ourselves alone.

Basically, we are afraid of getting beat up by age. We’re a little heavier now, we’ve lost or are losing our hair and hearing

It is around this time, we lose a spouse, and life is not the same anymore. There is an emptiness inside us and feel like we’ve lost an appendage. For those lucky to have stayed married all these years, enjoy every moment together and cherish your time. You are very lucky.

We now find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of being matriarch or patriarch of the family, something we didn’t sign up for, but now expected to pick up the check at family dinners.

You may not be strong anymore, but you’re smarter now. You are no longer able to pick up large stones or move refrigerators in a single bound, so you find other, more imaginative ways to get the job done, such as picking up the phone and calling a son or grandson.

You start planning for your demise by making sure your wills and related paperwork is in order. You also begin to consider who was good and bad to you over the years. You also negotiate with funeral homes for services and your final resting place. Many people think this is morbid, but you want to do what is right. One suggestion before making the final decision: alcohol. It’s easier to face a mortician when you are inebriated as opposed to clean and sober.

You find you spend more time in doctor offices than any other place, for tests, biopsies, consults, or routine checkups. You find your trips to medical facilities commands your social calendar, and you object to it. Interestingly, in doctor offices you can still find the same issues of “Boys Life” and “Sports Illustrated” you read back in the 1960s.

Physicians tell us to take a multitude of pills and medicines, thereby becoming the largest meal for us during the day. We take so many pills and medicines, we feel like a walking test-tube experiment. It’s very dehumanizing.

Then again, everyone insists you get some form of exercise, even if you’ve got bone-on-bone in your knees, neuropathy in your feet, your spine is out of alignment, bone spurs in your shoulders, and you now wear an adult diaper. Nevertheless, to keep people happy you go to a gym to stretch, lift weights, walk, and use bicycles. Does, this honestly make you feel better? Hardly, as your arthritis is still in a “seek and destroy” mode in your body.

What is most important is to keep your mind active. You read more, particularly history. Most people think you’re crazy for reading a hardbound book as opposed to a computer tablet. They think you are not in step with the news, but you are actually more aware of what is going on than younger people. You are also much less interested in being “politically correct,” and more interested in just enjoying life.

You finally discover that the simple things in life are the best. Trinkets and expensive toys no longer impress you. All you want is:

* the love of a good woman.

* a good drop of whiskey, perhaps a cigar, and some stimulating conversation.

* Plus a good root beer barrel every now and then.

Your mantra is now KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid.

OUR EIGHTIES

I really cannot speak about this decade with any authority, but I presume it is time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and keep it simple.

Again, to quote Jack Benny, “Give me golf clubs, fresh air, and a beautiful partner, and you can keep my golf clubs and the fresh air.”

I guess the point of this essay is to realize we live in a constant state of change, and our ability to adapt over time. This that tests our fortitude. Some recognize change for what it is, and others openly resist it. Some people think the secret to longevity is simply to remain current with technology. I tend to believe it is an amalgamation of such things as technology, fashion, our vernacular, customs, and changing moral values. This is difficult to assimilate, particularly when you grew up with certain values. As for me, I don’t worry about such things and try to treat people courteously and professionally, with a little common courtesy thrown in.

Just remember, there is no denying an old Bryce’s Law, “If there is anything constant, it is change.”

Keep the Faith.

Tim Bryce is Host of “Senior Voice America” in Clearwater, FL, Mon-Fri, 8-10am, TAN TALK RADIO, 1340AM, 106.1FM.

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Copyright © 2022 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART IV

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 15, 2022

BRYCE ON LIFE

– My concluding entry.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

tbliver1* In PART I – I discussed learning of my liver cancer and what went through my mind.

* In PART II – I described the first phase of my treatment.

* In PART III – I discussed the second round which was a turning point for me.

Now, in PART IV, I want to conclude the series and discuss where I stand and what I have learned.

As many of you know, I have been on a roller-coaster ride with my liver since last October; today marks six months which may not sound very long for treating cancer but it seemed like an eternity to me. I am not fully cured, but I have made remarkable progress. I underwent two procedures to kill two sizeable tumors, then began Immunotherapy representing a monthly drip to cause my immune system to attack the micro-tumors in the liver. I have taken several such treatments already this year. The fact is, I may never be 100% cured of cancer but things are shaping up nicely. However, I’ll likely have to monitor it for the rest of my life.

My last operation was in January and I’ve been undergoing the Immunotherapy ever since. In late February, I underwent a CTscan to check on my progress. The doctor’s office called and left a Voice Mail message informing me the results were good, but little else about my condition. I ended up playing “phone tag” with the doctor, but we never hooked up. I was beginning to worry about this, but assumed if the CTscan was bad, I would have received an urgent call from the doctor. Fortunately, I was right.

Finally, on March 10th, I sat down with the doctor and reviewed the results. First, he claimed I made great progress and I am actually getting better, but I still had a way to go on my road to recovery.

“Think of it this way Tim,” he said, “Your liver was in a boxing match and got pretty beat up. It is now on the mend, but it still needs some time to heal before it climbs back into the ring.”

For all intents and purposes, my two tumors are dead and the Immunotherapy has done its job in terms of arresting the micro-tumors. The CTscan showed some lesions on the liver from the operations, but the doctors were impressed on how well I responded to the treatment. As I said, I am certainly not cured, but I have made significant progress and hopefully, later this year, I can stop my monthly Immunotherapy drip.

Although this was all good news, the one tidbit that caught my attention was that I was now allowed an occasional glass of Scotch, something I haven’t tasted in six months. Oh-la-la!

Because of my condition, this will be my last installment on this subject unless something Earth-shattering occurs. So, what did I learn from this? Am I any wiser? I would like to believe so. Here is what I learned:

LESSONS LEARNED

* Be sure to attend your primary care physician appointments and take pertinent tests. As for me, routine blood tests detected my problem. Fortunately, we caught it early.

* Take nothing for granted; life is precious and we should enjoy every day.

* Make sure your estate paperwork is in order. When was the last time you checked it? In my case, it was thirty years ago.

* Maintain a positive attitude. Now is not the time for depression or resignation. Contact your doctor if you have such negative feelings. I went into this mentally preparing myself like I did when I was a young man playing football, with determination and “stug” (as my old football coach said, “That’s guts spelled backwards.”) We used it as a code-word.

* Surround yourself with good people who can offer sound advice. I was fortunate to have two retired doctors who coached me accordingly. The support from my family and close friends was also invaluable. I was also fortunate to have a good medical team on my side, people I literally trusted with my life.

* Listen to your body and allow it to heal. The two procedures I underwent took the wind out of my sails. I would try to do some simple chores, but my body said, “No, you’re going to sit down and rest!” Fortunately, I acquiesced.

* Prayer works – I experienced an avalanche of messages and e-mails from people all over the world praying for my recovery. This inspired me greatly. With so many pulling for you, it can motivate just about anyone. However, you must first believe!

Actually, I feel rather lucky. Sure, I wish I hadn’t gotten sick in the first place, but to turn things around in six months is not too bad. In hindsight, having been a full-time caregiver for my wife and mother over five years was rather exhausting. When the last one passed, I think my body succumbed to the pressure and I slept hard afterwards. It was during this time when I believe the cancer took root. The point is, even though I took care of them, I wasn’t taking care of myself. As we get older, it is necessary for us to pace ourselves and know our limitations.

Finally, God bless all of you fighting this horrible disease, and all of you who support them.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2022 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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IS TRUMP STILL IN CHARGE OF THE GOP?

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 9, 2022

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Most definitely.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

trump4I am frequently asked if President Donald Trump intends to run again for president in 2024. I have met many former Trump voters who would like to see another candidate, claiming the president is too abrasive and polarizing. I counter by asking, if it was between Trump and Biden, who would you vote for? They all respond, “Trump.” If it was between Trump and Kamala Harris or Hillary Clinton, what then? Still, “Trump, Trump.”

Republicans may have a problem with the 45th president in terms of his personality, but they do not deny he delivers on his promises and believes the world would be better off with President Trump in the White House. Democrats understand this, which is why they continue to harass him in the courts and Congressional committees, as they know he represents a challenge to their control of the government.

It may be too early for President Trump to announce his candidacy for office, but make no mistake, the answer is an unequivocal, “YES!”

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held last month in Orlando, President Trump handily won a straw vote for president:

59% – President Donald Trump
28% – FL Governor Ron DeSantis
02% – Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

You’ll notice there was no mention of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Chris Christie, or any of the other Republican candidates who ran in 2016. This speaks volumes in terms of who leads the Republican Party.

The victory for Trump was similar to the 2021 CPAC straw poll. Both polls also reflect the popularity of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will likely be the Vice Presidential candidate and the successor to Trump. This would be a wise move, as the two candidates get along, and Trump could turn over to DeSantis a country running smoothly under Republican control.

As I mentioned in my 2021 column on this subject, Trump has three objectives to overcome should he be elected:

1. ELECTION REFORM – to rectify the farce we experienced in 2020.

2. ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROHIBIT CENSORSHIP – e.g., disbanding “Big Tech” companies who controls social media and bans conservative talk.

3. WEED OUT THE RHINOs – the GOP needs strong new leadership. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s days are likely numbered, as are Sens. Romney, Sass, Collins, Murkowski, Toomey, and certain members of the House, particularly Rep. Liz Cheney.

As evidenced by CPAC, President Trump still runs the Republican party and is preparing for a fight with the Democrats and news media. When you think about it, no other Republican is qualified to take on this challenge which will inevitably become a fight for the American soul.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2022 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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SENIOR DATING

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 3, 2022

BRYCE ON LIFE

– in the 21st century.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

handsoldThanks to the Internet and personal ads, senior dating is growing in popularity at an astounding rate, especially since the Baby Boomers are reaching senior status. However, it can be awkward to those who have been out of circulation for a long time due to marriage or are unfamiliar with how to use a computer. As a widower myself, I found myself at odds with today’s dating scene. I had to learn the protocols of dating all over again. In a way, it reminds me of the first time you asked a young lady out at age 16, you’re simply not sure of yourself and the date becomes a bit awkward. The same is true in senior dating.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a moment to consider what we want from a dating partner. In my case, I had been married for nearly 40 years and, as such, have no real interest in getting married again. After all, I understand the purpose and responsibilities of marriage and I cannot see it applying to me any longer. Plus, there is the problem of divvying up finances late in life which can kill any relationship, as well as alienating your heirs. So, I do not see another marriage in my future.

One of the first things you have to ask yourself in dating is what kind of person are you looking for? A friend or companion, marriage, someone to help take care of you, or simply a sexual partner? Personally, I have found those relationships based solely on sex are without sand and doomed to failure. However, some people just want this simple primal need satisfied.

When we select friends, we are looking for people to play with and confide in; in business, we look for people we can respect and trust, be it another employee, a customer or vendor; when selecting a spouse, we’re looking to the future and hoping to build a family. As for me, at this stage of my life, I am looking for a person who is candid and honest in conversation, and has a great sense of humor (very important). I also want intellectual, emotional, and physical compatibilities. Morality and common interests and experiences are also important. Age is not very important, but I limit it to people who are four years younger or older than me, thereby we can relate in terms of history and entertainment.

In my searches on-line I typically find divorcees and widows. The divorcees seem to be very active, wanting to climb mountains, go kayaking or canoeing, skydiving, running a triathlon, raising a herd of animals, go hiking or backpacking, and travel to Timbuktu. The widows tend to be more sedate and confident, and preferring walks on the beach and a glass of wine now and then. I have found them typically more fun to talk to as they have already climbed the mountains, but now just want to enjoy life like I do.

The point is, it is very important to know what you desire before you embark on your search as you will save time and will more likely find the right person. Please be honest with yourself.

There is a plethora of resources to help locate a person. If you are afraid of technology, let me suggest you stick with the “personal” section of newspapers. Here you will find people with a variety of interests and ages. When responding to someone, do not come on too strong as you may frighten the person away. Suggest a “meetup” at a neutral public place, such as a restaurant, tavern, or coffee house.

If you are more adept at technology, let me suggest one or more of the dating sights on the Internet. Here is but a handful (there are actually many more):

Match

Match Seniors

Our Time

Silver Singles

Singles Over 45

eHarmony

Match Seniors

Many of these sites work the same way, but there are some nuances that make them unique. Some are free to use but most include a subscription fee.

Perhaps the most popular dating site is Match.com. Like others, they prompt you to formulate a profile. For Match.com, they want you to define the following attributes about yourself:

– Age (DOB)
– Height
– Condition (e.g., athletic, curvy, a few pounds over, etc.)
– Marital status – single, divorced, widowed, separated.
– Location – used to match people and alert you when someone has physically been near to you through GPS technology
– Range in miles – used for search purposes; For example, by establishing a range you can limit your search to people within a 50 mile radius of you if so desired as opposed to the whole United States. This dramatically cuts down on the number of people you meet, which is a good thing.
– Education
– Religion
– Political persuasion – e.g., conservative, liberal, moderate.
– Hometown
– Line of work
– How often you exercise
– Vaccination (Covid-19)

These attributes are used by people to search for a suitable partner. Please note: You enter only what you want, but the more precise you are, the better the chances of finding someone compatible.

You can also add photos and text describing yourself. The photos should be recent and not what you looked like in your twenties. The text is used to sell yourself and typically describes what your interests are and what you want in terms of a relationship. This section is perhaps the most important. Think of it as your “sales pitch.”

My female friends on Match tell me about outrageous photos they have seen of men, whereby they are bare-chested, reclining on a bed, with only one thought on their mind. In my experience, the ladies tend to dress more appropriately, but every now and then you come across a suggestive photo.

The ratio of women to men on these services is at least 2:1, probably higher though. This gives men a distinct advantage in terms of locating a person.

To make contact with someone, you can simply “like” them, and see if they “like” you back, or develop a text dialog with them. They may or may not answer. Not answering generally means they are either not interested or haven’t checked Match.com in quite some time.

When you use these services, you have to use a lot of common sense. Yes, there are deadbeats out there trying to mislead or cheat you. I even heard a story of a woman who loaned thousands of dollars to a man, never to see him or the money again. So, the biggest challenge in using these on-line services is to find a trustworthy person who shares your interests and morality.

I don’t want to paint a totally bleak picture, after all there are many good people on-line. I’m just warning you to look before you leap.

Normally, after making contact through the service, it is suggested you talk to the other person by telephone. If there is a connection, ask for a “meetup” at a neutral public place, such as a restaurant, tavern, or coffee house. If the meeting goes well, propose to meet again on a date; if not, just let it go and walk away.

Something I hear from my female friends is that men will sometimes stop a dialog cold without an apparent reason. This typically angers women. If you wish to stop the dialog, just send a message that you do not believe you are a good match for the other person, and wish them well in their continued search.

Like I said, these services are open to anybody, irresponsible people as well as courteous people. Some women have suggested to me there should be some form of psychological test in the service to evaluate a person’s morality, as well as their emotional and financial stability, particularly for men. Such a feature would probably make the service more rewarding.

One lady friend of mine came across a profile which included the initials “FWB” in the person’s description. She was at a loss as to what this meant and researched its meaning. It turned out “FWB” stood for “Friends With Benefits” meaning the person is open for sexual activity. This turned her off immediately. Most of the women I have met through Match.com want to be treated like ladies, with respect and not taken for granted.

If you are concerned about the other person, investigate their background. You can do a full background check, for a fee, but perhaps a check with your County Clerk of the Courts will reveal what you need to know. They have search engines listing any infractions the person has been involved in, from minor indiscretions to major criminal action. Obviously, you will want to avoid a person with a shady past.

I am often asked, what my final advice is for people interested in using these dating services. I simply say, “DO IT!” Fortunately or unfortunately we now live in the 21st century and computers have become the de facto means to find people with common interests to our own. You can hope to find a nice person at church, a nonprofit, at a party, in business, or introduced by a friend or relative, but using these computer dating services to locate someone while maintaining your anonymity is invaluable.

So, what have you got to lose? Quite simply, loneliness. The first step is entirely up to you. Good luck.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2022 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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WHAT’S AT RISK IN THE UKRAINE?

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 17, 2022

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– Russia is playing a dangerous game.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

putin

Russia’s threat to invade the Ukraine is reminiscent of Germany’s threat to invade the Sudetenland, Austria, and Poland beginning in 1938. Whereas Hitler made good on his promise, the western world now waits to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin will do likewise to the Ukraine. Tensions in the region are at the same high level as in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

We would like to believe Putin is smart enough not to engage in a military operation that would trigger a major NATO retaliation, but if we have learned anything about Putin over the years, he’s a man who doesn’t like to bluff.

In theory, the trouble is being triggered by the Ukraine’s desire to join NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization). This concerns Putin greatly as he doesn’t want a wall of NATO countries on Russia’s doorstep. Most of Europe supports NATO, but there are still a handful of countries who do not, fearing the Russian bear to their East. This includes Austria, Belarus, Serbia, and Finland who is particularly sensitive to the Russian threat and walks a tight rope between East and West.

The vast majority of European countries have banded together around NATO, primarily to keep Russia in check. If these countries trusted Russia, there wouldn’t be a need for NATO. The fact remains though, they do not, and this is an affront to Putin.

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Putin and publicly claimed a negotiated settlement is still possible. If so, this would allow a way for Putin to save face and not invade. We’ll see.

Let’s assume the worst for the moment, and Russia does indeed invades the Ukraine. The news media is saying it could come any day. I tend to believe it will be shortly after the Winter Olympics. This would mean next week after the countries and their dignitaries have split up and gone home.

From a military perspective, there is really nothing to stop the Russians from sweeping into the Ukraine and taking over. Neither the Ukraine, NATO or the United States have enough troops on the ground to push the Russians back. In addition, there is only one U.S. Navy Task Group in the area, featuring the nuclear aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman and five supporting ships. Do not underestimate the power of this task group, but it will not likely be enough to thwart Russian land-based aircraft and missiles. Hopefully, help is on the way.

Instead, the west will probably counter the Russians through economic and diplomatic sanctions. In response, the Russians will likely turn off the gasoline spigot to the world, thereby accelerating inflation, something we are already at a 40 year high. This would be a moot point if we were still energy independent, but this was curtailed by President Biden early in his administration as he wanted Americans to use less fossil fuels and move to “cleaner” energy.

Should Russia turn off their oil resources, not only will America have difficulty operating, but so will our NATO allies. Translation: prices are going to go through the roof, and our economies will be shaken to their core. This will inevitably slow business, raise unemployment, drive stock markets down and hurt portfolios; all because we rejected a policy of energy independence.

Let’s just pray the showdown abates. If it doesn’t, there will be short term gains for Russia but it will ultimately hurt them in the long-run, and regardless of how ruthless he appears, I do not believe Putin wants such a legacy as his 25 years in office slowly winds down to a close in 2024.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com Read the rest of this entry »

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NEW RADIO STATION FOR & BY SENIORS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 26, 2022

Based in Pinellas County, Florida

COMING MONDAY (JAN 31ST)

FOR SENIORS, BY SENIORS – THE ONLY RADIO SHOW SPECIFICALLY TARGETING SENIORS, THE LARGEST VOTING BLOCK IN FLORIDA

MONDAYS – 4PM – Tan Talk Radio 1340-AM 106.1-FM – Clearwater, FL, USA

or Stream the Live Broadcast: http://www.tantalk1340.com/

FEATURING AS CO-HOSTS: Columnist TIM BRYCE, and Financial Advisor BERKLY BADGER

WHAT WILL WE DISCUSS IN THE COMING WEEK? The decline of Nonprofits & Religious Institutions, Education, Morality, Food, Politics, Finance, Medicare & Social Security, Medical issues, Insurance, Retirement, Music, Comedy, Reunions, Technology, Election Registration and more.

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TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART III

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 19, 2022

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Turning the corner?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

tbliver1In PART I, I discussed learning of my liver cancer and what went through my mind. In PART II, I described the first phase of my treatment. Now, in PART III, I want to discuss the second round which, hopefully, will be a turning point for me.

In mid-December, I began my Immunotherapy, which is a homeopathic-like approach to treating my tiny tumors. Basically, I am injected with two chemicals, Zirabev and Tecentriq, designed to trigger my immune system to fight microscopic tumors in my liver and the blood vessels feeding them. The cost for these drugs is mind-boggling, even after Medicare and my insurance supplement. Nonetheless, I haven’t much of an alternative, and I’m pushing forward with it.

Just prior to receiving my “drip” of the drugs, my doctor reviewed the possible side effects; e.g., skin rash, vomiting, diarrhea, and potential death. Of course, I had to sign forms to hold the doctors harmless should something go awry. Come to think of it, they would probably have more men willfully volunteer to take the drug if they said a possible side effect would be a five hour erection. I imagine there would be long lines if they had such a proviso. My doctor thought I had a point, after all, this is how Viagra got started as a heart medicine.

Afterwards, I went in for my first “drip” which lasted about an hour and a half. Thinking of the side effects, I was a little nervous at first. Fortunately, the “drip” ran its course and I didn’t feel the worse for it. I just didn’t like sitting in a chair for an hour and a half to take it. This will now become a monthly routine for me (I went in for my second “drip” on January 6th). This time I was smart enough to bring a book.

Just before Christmas, I went in for a Post-Op consult with my surgeon, who performed my first procedure on one of my large tumors. We scheduled January 13th (a Thursday), to go after the second and final large tumor. God willing, this will be my last. A CTscan in a few weeks will reveal if all of this is working.

The second procedure went off fine but I was a little disoriented from the medication and sore at the point of entrance (the groin area). The surgeon thought it went well. I spent the rest of the day in an easy chair falling in and out of sleep.

As an aside, in my first procedure, I was asked to lower my underwear a bit on the table for the doctor to access the groin area. Okay, no problem. On the second procedure, “Okay Mr. Bryce, take off the underwear.”

“Excuse me?” I asked. I was instructed to drop them off the table. Now I understand these are professional people who have seen a lot of things, but having to reveal your modesty to the four female nurses in the room was a first for me. Maybe I would have felt more comfortable with a brass pole in the room. Afterwards, my lady friends laughed at my modesty. “Oh Tim, you don’t know what we have to go through. What you are describing is nothing new.”

Maybe, but it was a first for me.

The next four days were miserable. Unlike the first procedure where I felt the pain of the incision on Day 3, and had pain medication to treat it, this time I experienced severe stomach cramps and bloating. The pain was such, that I only slept two hours the first night, thereby turning me into a zombie.

Realizing there was a blockage somewhere, I turned to good old Milk of Magnesia which eventually broke the log jam. Nonetheless, I still had no appetite and couldn’t eat for four days, thereby causing me to lose weight. I drank plenty of fluids, but eating was a No-No.

To make matters worse, I had a plumbing problem outside my house. It seems the main water line from the street to the house was ruptured by a tree root, causing me to lose water. As this was the weekend, the plumbers wouldn’t come out. You cannot imagine how uncomfortable it was to go out to the main valve, get down on your hands and knees, and turn the water on and off, particularly after an operation. Fortunately, the plumbers had it all corrected on Monday.

For four days, I flayed around my house in pain and needing sleep. Finally, sometime on Sunday night the pain abated. I woke up knowing something had changed and I felt much better, So much so, I got up early Monday morning, ran the laundry, took a shower, made coffee, and did a puzzle at the kitchen table. I wasn’t 100% yet, but I was definitely in the 90s. I lost weight during this process. I’m almost back to my fighting weight as in my high school football days. This was unbelievable to me.

Bottom-line: it’s good to be back amongst the living. I just hope that I do not have to go through this type of operation again.

As you know, I like to find a little humor in everything, but this is not funny. I feel like I’ve been beaten down, thereby killing my spirit. It’s kind of like getting a “noogie” everyday, and you tire of it rapidly. I don’t know if it is depression, but I find I am more irritable these days, ready to snap at anything, and time has no meaning anymore. I may not have the most severe case of cancer, but what I have weighs heavily on me. It is hard to be be optimistic and positive when this hangs over you, but I will persevere.

In talking this over with some senior friends of mine, it seems as we get older, our problems do not decrease but actually multiply, be it health related, home, politics, health, financial, family, etc. In football, this is known as “piling on” which is bound to unhinge anyone. It’s a matter of how much “piling on” we’re willing to accept before we snap. It tests all of us.

Sometime in early February, I am scheduled to get a CTscan which will reveal where I stand on my road to recovery. Hopefully the surgery is over, but I’ll still have my monthly “drips.” Thank God I have enough books to read.

Again, many thanks to all of you who extended best wishes during this process. You’re wonderful people.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2022 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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2021 YEAR-END WRAP-UP

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 21, 2021

BRYCE ON BRYCE

– My most popular columns and audio segments this year.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

yearinreview1

This is my last column for the year as I prepare to enjoy the holidays and rest up for 2022. As has become customary, I’m using this opportunity to review my top essays from the past year.

As you know, I write on a variety of subjects, such as management, systems, technology, social issues, politics, and observations of our changing world. Sometimes my work is instructional and informative, other times it is controversial or humorous. I certainly hope it isn’t boring. By the number of subscribers I have, their comments, and the hits I have on my web sites, I do not believe this is the case.

This has been another fiery political year and, as such, my political columns did very well. Nonetheless, what follows is based on my “hits” on my web pages.

Interestingly, my readership has expanded beyond Florida. Currently, the following countries follow my work: USA, Ireland, Ecuador, Germany, France, Italy, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand, Norway, United Kingdom. This is based on circulation.

This was a difficult year for me personally. I lost my mother in the Spring, and I discovered I had liver cancer in Autumn, something which I have written about recently. On the plus side, I am now the proud Papa of my first grandchild, who has become the apple of my eye. I have also met a wonderful woman who has been very supportive during these troubling times. As such, I count my blessings as opposed to problems. I must remember to write about romance in our senior years. It’s rather enchanting.

Writing has always been an important outlet for me. It helps me maintain my sanity. As my illustrator buddy said, “If they were to make you stop writing, and have me stop drawing, they might as well give us a Viking funeral here and now and put us out of our misery. It’s what we do and who we are.”

My top columns for the year include:

1. THE CATCH-22 IN NONPROFITS – Jan 05, 2021 – This really didn’t surprise me as it was published at the beginning of the new year as nonprofit organizations are just beginning a new fiscal year. It questions the competency of the leaders of such groups. This is why I wrote the book, “How to Run a Nonprofit: It doesn’t Require Rocket Science.”

2. TRYING TO KICK TRUMP UNDER THE BUS – Jan 19, 2021 – Number 2 and Number 3 discussed the “Stop the Steal” Protest in Washington, DC on January 6th. So their rankings didn’t surprise me. People want to know the truth about what happened that day, and so far they haven’t received it. It disturbs me greatly that protestors are still locked up without a speedy trial twelve months later. This is simply outrageous.

3. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AT THE “STOP THE STEAL PROTEST” – Jan 9, 2021

4. TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART I – Nov 16, 2021 – Number 4 and Number 5 are also closely related as I described my approach to conquering my liver cancer problem. It is my hope these writings can start a dialog among cancer patients and give the general public a glimpse into our thinking process.

5. TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART II – Dec 07, 2021

6. REPUBLICAN CLUBS FALTER – May 27, 2021 – This grabbed the attention of Republicans where I essentially made the observation, “The emperor has no clothes.” Something that didn’t sit well with the GOP hierarchy. However, the grass roots people loved it as I spoke on their behalf.

7. FLORIDA PARENTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS – Aug 24, 2021 – this was a new bill within the State of Florida. Other states have also tried this. It ultimately is a reminder that parents should have more control over their children’s educational rights, as opposed to local government. This has spurred attendance at local School Board meetings.

8. “INHERITANCE AFTERMATH” – May 6, 2021 – Following the loss of my Mother, I prepared a punch list of items to consider when shutting down an estate. I hope a lot of people will heed my advice.

9. REPUBLICAN VALUES – June 15, 2021 – I discussed the core values of Republicans, something the general public simply doesn’t understand.

10. FOR THE LOVE OF WHITE CASTLES – May 4, 2021 – In early May, White Castle Restaurants finally opened a store in the Orlando area. This was enthusiastically greeted by displaced Yankees now living in Florida. Here I discussed what it means to them.

I also provide an audio version of most of my columns for those people on the go, courtesy of YouTube. I would like to believe people listen to me at the gym or beach, but more realistically, people tend to tune in while they are traveling or at work. Interestingly, the popularity of my audio segments is not the same as my written columns.

AUDIO SEGMENTS ON YOUTUBE

1-REMOVING PALMETTO PALMS – Thu, June 10, 2021 – This was far and away my post popular audio segment, which surprised me as I was describing only the removal of Palmetto Palms on my property. I guess a lot of people hate them as much as I do.

2-WHY IS EVERYONE HIRING? – Tue, June 8, 2021 – During the summer, I spotted several “Hiring!” signs. People would rather take government stimulus money as opposed to working. How can they look at themselves in the mirror?

3-“HOW TO BECOME A TYRANT” – MUST SEE TV – Tue, July 20, 2021 – This was based on a mini-series on Netflix which described the characteristics of Dictators over the years. A lot of what was described can be seen today in the political world.

4-BIDEN’S FIRST 100 DAYS – Thu, Jan 21, 2021 – my predictions of what Joe Biden would implement in the first 100 days of his administration.

5-WHO ARE THE DOMESTIC TERRORISTS? – Tue, Feb 9, 2021 – Well, according to Congress, it’s not Antifa of BLM, but parents voicing their displeasure at school board meetings.

6-FACE-MASKS ARE HERE TO STAY – Tue, Mar 2, 2021 – Regretfully so.

7-THE JIM CROW SHTICK – Tue, Apr 20, 2021 – I produced this as a means to educate people about Jim Crow laws. I’m amazed how many people do not understand their origin.

8-WHY TRUMP IS STILL A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH – Thu, Mar 4, 2021 – It is now rather obvious that our 45th President is still the figure-head of the Republican Party.

9-THEY ARE KILLING THE GAME – Tue, Apr 27, 2021 – This was an unusual piece where I discussed how MLB is changing the game of baseball through rule changes.

10-IS JOE GOING TO MAKE IT? – Thu, July 29, 2021 – I discussed the president’s mental acuity, something people are finally questioning.

I will be on sabbatical for awhile until I am ready to get back in the saddle for the new year. Until then, Merry Christmas to all, and to all, Good Night!

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 14, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– It is certainly not about the commercialization of the holiday, or Santa.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

woolcapNOTE: I originally wrote this piece back in 2013. I was pleased with its reception. I think it makes an important point about Christmas. I also believe it would make a great TV show for the season. Let me know what you think. – TB

He arose in the morning groggy and disoriented. He didn’t know where he was or recognized the surroundings. It was a small room, very neat and clean, with a sofa, desk, and big bed. Anyone would recognize it as a hotel with all of the amenities. He had no memory of how he had gotten there. Sunlight peeked between the curtains. The television was playing a Christmas gala, complete with classic holiday music. The entertainment was broken up by the occasional commercial where announcers were promoting everything from toys to clothes, jewels, and automobiles. Each announcer admonished viewers to hurry as there was just one day until Christmas.

“Christmas? Where am I, where have I been?”

He slowly stood up and went over to the window and opened the curtains to look outside where the grass and roads were covered with a thin layer of snow. It was cold, but not frigid. People could be seen walking on the streets carrying packages, cars moved quickly along a boulevard, and pine trees were adorned with tinsel, bulbs and lights. He didn’t recognize any of it which confused matters further.

He washed himself in the bathroom and then spotted some clothes neatly folded on the sofa, complete with shoes and socks. The clothes fit remarkably well. The shoes, which were actually a set of leather and rubber boots, also fit comfortably. He combed his hair before putting on the jacket and wool cap hanging on the chair at the desk. He unlocked the door and stepped outside into the cold air and surveyed the area around the hotel. Nothing looked familiar; did Europe look like this?

A woman dressed in a heavy black coat passed by him and greeted him good morning.

It was English, but the accent wasn’t recognizable. He replied, “Good morning,” to the woman who hurried away before any other questions could be asked.

He watched her hurry down the street heading towards a large building where several cars were already parked. A sign in front read, “Springdale Town Mall.” He was curious and thought people at the building might hold some answers. So He followed the woman to the mall, crossing the street carefully as it was busy with vehicles. The traffic lights seemed strange to Him, as well as the lines on the street, along with the the commotion of the cars and their horns. As He approached the entrance to the mall, He could hear the sounds of Christmas music coming from the mall’s PA system in the parking lot. In between songs, announcers touted their products and admonished shoppers there was just one more day until Christmas. He really didn’t grasp what was going on.

He entered the mall which was the largest structure He had ever seen. Inside was a cavernous multitude of lights, more music, and thousands of people circulating. There seemed to

be hundreds of shops offering a variety of wares; toys, cutlery, sporting goods, jewelry, and many other goods. Virtually all had signs in their windows promoting sales and reminding shoppers there was now less than a day to Christmas. He paused by an electronic store where many television sets were displaying Christmas shows. The shows were mesmerizing and He became somewhat intoxicated by the sights and sounds emanating from the televisions.

He wandered the mall examining the various stores carefully. Each was decorated in red and green colors, with wreaths, and the smell of pine and sweet candy hung in the air. Electric lights, snowmen, and miniature railroads offered animation. Gifts were wrapped in a special type of green and red paper and ribbons. All in all, it was a feeding frenzy of shopping. He wondered what the purpose of all this activity. There were several signs mentioning “Christmas,” but He didn’t make the connection.

There was the smell of food in the air which caused His stomach to growl in hunger. He passed the mall’s Food Court which featured several restaurants offering a variety of strange looking ethnic foods. He watched cooks prepare Japanese sushi and Chinese cuisine, none of which He recognized as something edible. The Mexican restaurant smelled of spicy hot peppers. The only restaurants which somehow resembled familiar food was the Italian restaurant, although He balked at pizza, and the Greek restaurant featuring gyros and souvlakis, both offered on pita bread.

He asked the clerk for a gyro as it appeared to be made of lamb. The young clerk prepared the meal accordingly, complete with French Fries and a cola drink.

“That will be $5 for the gyro special,” she said.

He looked perplexed by her request but quickly figured she was asking for money of which He had none. He tapped his trousers with his hand and heard the distinct click of metal. He reached inside his pocket where He retrieved some coins valued at $2 each. “Will you take these?” He asked.

The clerk took three of them and presented him with a $1 bill saying, “Here is your change. Thank you. Next!…”

He walked away from the restaurant with his tray and found an empty table to sit and eat. He studied the $1 bill carefully. He had never seen paper money before and didn’t recognize Washington’s portrait. He ate the gyro hungrily. He enjoyed the taste of cooked lamb as well as the pita bread. The French Fries seemed peculiar to him though. He picked one up and inspected it carefully. Nearby at other tables, people were eating them. He then broke one in half and tasted it, and it was good, even though He didn’t know what it was. “A French Fry? Hmm…,” and He ate the rest. He examined the cola drink suspiciously. He took a sip and found the taste medicinal in nature, and the bubbles tickled His nose. Spotting a nearby water fountain, He emptied the cola down its drain and replaced it with water which tasted remarkably clean to Him.

He saw others dumping the trash from their trays into the garbage and followed suit. The meal had served its purpose and He felt refreshed. He then returned to wandering around the mall. The music and hubbub was beginning to give Him a small headache.

It was mid afternoon when He came to the center of the mall where he sat at a bench on the second floor. He marveled at the immensity of the mall and as He looked down to the bottom floor He discovered a long line of children waiting for someone named “Santa Claus.” Dozens of children waited patiently to sit with a fat man dressed in a red and white costume. He assumed the man was elderly as he wore a white beard with matching color hair.

An elderly woman came and sat on the bench to rest her feet. She was loaded with several packages and looked tired from her trek around the mall.

“Excuse me, but who is that man down there?” He innocently asked the woman.

She looked down to see the object of His attention.

“Are you kidding me?” she said, “It’s Santa Claus and his elves talking to the kids of course.”

He said, “I’m sorry, I am not from around here. What is a Santa Claus?”

She looked at him inquisitively but gave him the benefit of doubt. “He is actually called by many names, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, and many others around the world. He is considered the patron saint of Christmas and is best known for delivering presents to children on Christmas.”

“Christmas, there is that name again,” He thought.

He watched the children one-by-one visit with the old gentleman. Some appeared timid and scared, others enjoyed a good conversation with the man, others were loud and animated, demanding certain presents on Christmas Day. It was all rather unclear as to the purpose of the meeting with Santa other than it was an outlet to promote the purchase of more gifts. He was amazed by the length of the never-ending line and requests for more gifts.

The greed and opulence of the season was too much for him to stomach any longer. He took his leave of the mall wanting to head back to the safety of the hotel room. Unfortunately, He became a bit disoriented and couldn’t find the same door from which He entered, and exited on the opposite end of the mall where nothing looked familiar.

He had spent considerable time at the mall and it was now late afternoon with long shadows and the sun beginning to set. All He could see were rows of neat wooden homes adjacent to the mall. He was unfamiliar with the architecture and wanted to take a closer look. He entered a subdivision and was amazed how orderly the houses were aligned and well maintained.

As the sun set, decorative lights were switched on and lit up the houses and the adjacent trees and shrubbery. Various statues of snowmen, Santa Claus, and angels were also lit and music could be heard in the air. There also seemed to be reindeer everywhere; on top of houses, pulling sleighs, or metalic statues on front lawns, some were animated appearing to be grazing. In was very reminiscent of the storefronts in the mall.

He walked several blocks in amazement as the houses turned darkness into light. Other people also walked the neighborhood in order to see the decorations. Cars began to enter the streets where they moved slowly so parents and children could admire the decorations. As pleasant as this all ways, He was at a loss as to what it all meant.

As He exited the neighborhood, He was presented with two large structures, one with a crucifix atop it, and another with the Star of David. He was appalled by the crucifix and began to wonder if people still practiced the tortuous custom. The large cross stopped Him in his tracks and He began to tremble. He noticed the other structure bore the Shield of David, a symbol He was familiar with through Judaism.

It was nighttime now and both buildings were active with people, the Temple celebrating a Bar Mitzvah, and the Church preparing to celebrate Christmas mass. Being more familiar with the Shield of David, He approached the Temple, where people were exiting for the evening. Still inside was the rabbi who was bidding goodnight to the attendees. He worked his way to the rabbi, a middle aged man who appeared to be of good nature.

He said, “Rabbi, I am a stranger to this area. As I have walked around the village I notice there is a fascination with ‘Christmas’ here. I would like to know more.”

The Rabbi smiled and said, “Well stranger, you are actually in a good place to learn. I would like to sit down and tell you more, but the hour is late and I have another appointment. However, I recommend you visit the church next door where they are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. I am confident they will tell you the full story tonight.”

He took his leave of the rabbi, who locked the Temple after He exited. Many people were entering the house of the crucifix, men, women and children. As it appeared to be safe, He overcame his timidity and reluctantly approached the church. At the door, He was warmly welcomed by greeters. The inside appeared to be a place for religious retreats, with several rows of pews, and an altar at the front.

As the service began, the congregation rose to its feet and began to sing, accompanied by an organ. He was startled by this, but found the music strangely comforting. He looked about and saw everyone singing in unison, along with a choir which sang as one. The pomp and circumstance was impressive. He looked on in horror as a small boy walked slowly down the center aisle carrying another crucifix with an effigy of a person nailed to it. The boy proudly presented the cross at the front of the congregation before placing it in a stand. He was bewildered by the display and was prepared to turn and run, but something inside him told him to stand his ground. After the entrance of the clergy, the music stopped and everyone returned to their seats.

The minister welcomed everyone to the evening’s Christmas celebration. This was followed by a sweet celebration enacted by the children of the church who were dressed in colorful costumes. The minister narrated the story of the birth of Christ and the children acted out the story. He listened intently. He heard the names of Joseph and Mary, which were well known to him, as well as a place called Galilee. He listened to their story of the birth of their savior. Aside from the shiny costumes and some obvious literary liberties, it was a story He knew well, and his spirits perked up noticeably. He was no longer afraid but felt quite at home.

After the play, the minister asked all first time visitors to rise and be recognized. One-by-one he welcomed each visitor, asking who they were and where they were from. The minister finally asked the stranger to introduce himself.

“I am known as Jesus of Nazareth,” He said.

The minister thought He was mocking the congregation and quickly confronted the stranger. Anger was in the minister’s eyes but before he could utter a harsh word, He said, “I am a stranger to this area,” and raised his hand in peace to shake the minister’s.

It was only then the minister saw the scars from the crucifixion. There was something in the stranger’s demeanor and eyes that made him realize he was now in the presence of something special. The minister froze until He placed his hands on him in comfort. The minister smiled and knelt to his knees. The congregation didn’t quite comprehend the situation, but followed the minister’s lead and knelt.

He said, “Please rise, you are all my children. I’m not sure why I was sent here but I believe it has something to do with the meaning of Christmas, something I didn’t quite understand until I witnessed your pageant.”

“Yes, this is your birthday, your eminence,” the minister replied.

“I have been among you this day and have witnessed many things, most of which I do not understand, particularly the greed of this day. I hope they are not using this day to celebrate such a weakness.”

The minister was embarrassed, “I am afraid a lot of people have forgotten its purpose. It is not about shopping, it’s about You.”

“In my time, we celebrated birthdays by the breaking of the bread. We didn’t have opulent presents. Instead, we offered our love, fellowship, and trust to others. If this is truly my Birthday, let us celebrate likewise,” and loafs of bread appeared in His hands.

Jesus moved to the altar and broke the bread into small pieces for everyone to consume. The minister assisted by pouring wine.

“Here, eat and drink. Do this for the remembrance of Me. My message is simple: I love you unconditionally. You may not believe in me, but have confidence that I love you. Do not dwell in hate. Practice love and do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It’s really not that difficult, is it?.”

As the last morsel of bread was consumed and wine drunk, He turned and disappeared into the ether with the exclamation, “Remember!”

First published: December 23, 2013

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

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TIM’S FIGHT WITH CANCER, PART II

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 7, 2021

BRYCE ON LIFE

– The treatment.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

tbliver1In PART I, I described how I discovered cancer in my liver; the emotions I felt and my approach to the problem. Here, in PART II, I describe the beginning of my therapy.

Previously, I discussed how my medical team recommended the treatment I was to pursue. Chemotherapy and radiation was not used because the cancer remained localized in the liver and had not spread to other parts of my body. Consequently, they were to go in and surgically cutoff the blood vessels to my two large tumors, thereby killing them. This was to be done in two separate procedures.

On November 15th I had a consult with my surgeon, a doctor who performed two biopsies on me earlier in the year, and someone I trusted. He told me the pros and cons pertaining to this approach, “As to cons Tim, I want you to understand this is not a cure, but it will improve your quality of life and lengthen your time on this planet. However, you will likely have to monitor your condition for the remainder of your life and take action if it resurfaces.”

I responded by saying I would just like to be rid of the tumors and see what happens.

I’ve discovered medical care is all about trust. I have confidence in my medical team, but their administrative support staff leaves a lot to be desired. You get the uneasy feeling the left hand quite often doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. This is particularly true when you have multiple parties involved. As for me, this includes my Oncologist, my Surgeon, my Primary Care Physician, and another surgeon from Tampa General Hospital. Scheduling and communications between all parties were at times confusing. I do not blame the physicians, but I have some serious doubts about their administrative processing. As I’ve mentioned before, I also grow weary of answering the same medical questions over and over again at time of check-in. Oy!

I also discovered Cancer is an equal opportunity disease. It doesn’t care about your station in life. In my many trips to visit doctors and test facilities, I think I’ve met people from all stratas of society. This leads me to believe you cannot buy yourself an easy out in terms of finding a cure. Consequently, cancer patients are on a constant quest for any cure that might help them, either legitimate or quackery.

Frankly, I am baffled why Cancer is proliferating and not abating. The waiting rooms at cancer centers are full. Is it because of the timing of the baby boomers or an insatiable pharmaceutical industry? Perhaps both, but I thought we would have made more progress by now.

On November 30th, shortly after Thanksgiving, I met with my Oncologist to discuss the road ahead. The surgery was scheduled for later in the week, December 2nd, to tackle my first big tumor. We would then perform tests to see if this was working properly and, if so, address my second tumor in early January.

My Oncologist wanted to go beyond this. As you may remember, I also have smaller tumors in my liver, and they are microscopic in size. In discussing my situation with his colleagues, he recommended Immunotherapy, which is a homeopathic-like approach to treating my tiny tumors. Two expensive doses of medicine would be injected intravenously to trigger my immune system to kick in and fight the microscopic tumors and the blood vessels feeding them. It sounded like a good idea to me as I could not withstand major surgery to remove the tumors. On December 16th, I will be administered the two drugs: Zirabev and Tecentriq. The cost for the one treatment is a whopping $19,509, but after Medicare and my supplement, I’ll have to pay $3,936.80. This will fulfill my deductible and the price should go down further for ensuing treatments. Nonetheless, I was noticeably startled by the costs.

On December 1st, the day before my surgery, I posted on Facebook, “Tomorrow morning is Round One with my fight with the Devil. I’m suited up and ready. Put me in Coach…”

I wanted to let my friends know I was mentally prepared for the operation. I wanted to see what kind of “Iron Man” I really was. I earned this title my senior year when I was playing football at Wyoming High School (Cincinnati). The award was given to the person who spent the most time on the field. As I was on every team, except the kickoff team, I won the award handily. I was proud of this, and it left an impression on me; it meant, if you wanted to get something done, you went through Bryce. This followed me through my professional career as I learned the importance of being resourceful and helping others, thereby making yourself invaluable. Now it was time to see if the “Iron Man” moniker would give me the strength to help conquer my Cancer.

The day before the operation, I occupied myself by running errands and making sure I had food in the fridge. I picked up a prescription of oxycodone for my pain medication, of which I never tried before, but my friends warned me it was strong stuff. I even washed my car, and put salt in my water softener. I did all of this to stay distracted from tomorrow’s ordeal. I was confident, but for some reason my stomach was upset, probably due to nerves. I took a pill to settle it down.

Late in the afternoon, I thought about God, and asked if I had led a good life. I recognize people do not always like what I have to say, both personally and professionally, but I always sought to honestly tell the truth, warts and all. I know a lot of people have trouble with this, thereby causing me to butt heads, but I couldn’t sleep with myself if I didn’t seek the truth. I miss my father with whom we held many animated arguments; not vicious, but cerebral where we hammered out a lot of problems for our product and customers. I miss his mental gymnastics greatly. I closed with a prayer.

The day of surgery, I woke early, got on the computer and checked my e-mails. I then showered and prepared myself according to the instructions given me by the surgeon’s staff. My brother came and drove me to the appointment and picked me up later. By 7:00am I was prepared both administratively and personally. At 8:00am I was the first one scheduled for surgery. They gave me my “martini” and I slipped off into La-La Land. I don’t know how long I was out, but I suspect it was an hour long procedure. I woke just as they were moving me out of surgery and back to my room where I would stay for the next two hours where the staff would observe me. Remarkably, I felt no pain whatsoever. The surgeon told me the procedure was very successful and went smoothly. One day later, I still felt no pain. “So much for the pain medication,” I thought.

Later in the day, I wrote on Social Media, “Just got home from surgery. First procedure was successful. Still dopey from the meds. Resting at home under new meds. First thing I ate after fasting was four White Castles, thereby completing the cleansing process.”

Basically, I wanted to let my friends know how I was progressing and that I still possessed a sense of humor.

Two days after the surgery, the pain finally kicked in, strongly I might add. I finally reached for the oxycodone which did its job rather well. I also felt lethargic and disoriented, so I settled into an easy chair for most of the day. The next day was a little better, but I still felt shots of pain whenever I coughed. Laughing was equally painful.

I guess the lesson for this chapter is realizing the mental gymnastics involved in planning for a cancer operation or any major surgery for that matter. You go in hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. This becomes rather taxing and wears you down. I’m not beaten yet, but I haven’t won either. The mental anguish wears heavily on you, at least it did for me, and grinds down your alertness and sense of humor.

Finally, I was very moved by the show of support over the last couple of days by well wishers. It was simply amazing and just plain good Ju-Ju! I literally heard from hundreds of people from around the world who offered kind thoughts and prayers. As I learned a long time ago, Prayers Work!

Next up: follow-up reviews of the procedure, a CTscan, and I begin the special meds on December 16th of which I am concerned about the side-effects. After this, the surgeon will go after Tumor #2 in early January and hopefully this will all start to abate. Then, of course, there are the Christmas holidays which normally means little to me due to the commercialization of the holidays and the loss of my wife around this time two years ago.

Many thanks to my family and inner circle of friends for your assistance during this time of difficulty, you were invaluable. A special thanks to “L.D.” for nursing me back to health.

I will write Part III of this log sometime in January as I learn more.

In the meantime, I will persevere!

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

tim75x75Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2021 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on Spotify, WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; SVA RADIO – “Senior Voice America”, the leading newspaper for active mature adults; or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

 
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