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Berger’s Berg: May celebrates spring with older Americans

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But the merriest month in all the year, is the merry, merry, month of May. Ð Anon.May is the "Springtime of Life" month. Can't you just smell the intoxicating odors of lilacs and petunias bursting forth and feel the milkweed spreading its charms o'er and under everyone's noses?And who is not waiting with baited breath in anticipation of a glimpse of the first wave of migrating birds winging back to New York City on May 10 from their warmer, winter, climes and running for cover when they fly overhead? No, dear reader, I'll spare you. This column will not be about flowers and birds.Will this column be about May's other celebrations such as May Day (May l); National Day of Prayer (May 3); Cinco de Mayo (May 5); Children's Day in Japan (May 5); Mother's Day (May 8); Brown v. Board of Education decision desegregating schools on May 17, 1954; the most popular wedding day in China (May 18); my granddaughter, Kerrin's fifth birthday (May 19); the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (May 24, 1902); Armed Forces Day (May 31); and my mother's birthday (25)? No, no, none of the above.And who can dare forget National Nurses Week (May 5-12); and Labor History Month? Don't ask, both are also "no's!" So, pray tell, what will this column be about?Well, if you must know, May has two other events falling within its parameters. The first is "Older Americans Month" in honor of those folks who are constantly being criticized for every conceivable deficiency of the modern world, real or imaginary, and are probably my most loyal readers. To illustrate that last remark, I once gave a lecture at a senior center and my message was so moving and inspirational, by the time I was through, there wasn't a dry seat in the house.However, if you haven't noticed, I soon will be entering the gates of "geezerhood" myself. But I will let you in on a little secret, Gloria hasn't celebrated one birthday since we were married and I am left to grow old by myself. But to her credit, she never lies about her age. Gloria just tells people she is as old as I am. Then she lies about my age. Nonetheless, people who knew me 30 years ago say that I still look like I looked then - old. They even think I use a wooden computer and I am a second Andy Rooney.But I have company. My neighbor, Wally, is going through a second childhood. He went to a dentist recently and had braces put on his dentures. He should know there is only one thing wrong with going through a second childhood. You can't blame your parents.As far as intimacy is concerned, both sexes have gone from "why not?" to "why bother?" Neighbor Pablo, at the age of 80, tells me at his age there are four women for every man. "What a time to get odds like that," he moans. "But Pab," I replied, "a recent scientific study discovered that the best time for men to have babies is when they reach 80. That is when they have to get up 10 times a night anyway."Old age is when a man goes from passion to pension and all women look alike to him, said observant neighbor, Carmine. On the other hand, my swinging neighbor, Britney, a very mature woman, bought a sheer nightie but doesn't know anyone who can see through it.Venerable neighbors, Kwon and Anoushka have been pressing 55 so long they became pleated. But hope still rings eternal for the persistent senior romantics. My neighbor, Ulysses, just died the other day at 106. He was shot by a jealous husband. And neighbor Cicely passed on at 102. Thank God they were able to save the baby.I must admit, however, that I suffer from forgetfulness! Yesterday I asked Gloria, "Where are my glasses?" "On your nose," she answered. "Can't you be more specific?" Ah, those senior moments.Yes, the years slip by so rapidly, you never see them go. But, as writer Mark S. Ross said, "Always keep an eye on the gold (sunrise). Never lose sight of the green (beautiful pastures). Keep out of the sun lest you end up in the red (sunburn). Continue to collect your monthly checks and if you keep clipping those coupons, you will always be in the black (solvent)."And if you manage to stay out of the doctor's office, you will be in the pink (health). As far as I am concerned, old age is always 20 years from the present.Then there is "National Teachers Day" on May 10. If you are like most people, you have a favorite story about a teacher who made a difference in your life. I have one.I am the second youngest of eight children. One by one, my siblings began to marry and before I knew it, I was the only single one left. My sisters began hounding me to marry. Since I didn't want to leave my widowed mother (although she also pressed me to marry), I dodged the onslaught by performing several deft moves, such as dating a girl once but never a second time.Well, sister Anna arranged a blind date for me with a girl who lived in the Bronx (horrors!), a long drive from lower Manhattan where I lived. Against my better judgement, I drove to the Bronx for my first date with Gloria.She was a City College student and had those pedagogical attributes such as patience, concern, compassion, empathy, sympathy, optimism, love of children, diligence, dedication, creativeness, the desire to do something over and over until you got it right, neat penmanship, bell-tone speech and especially patience - perfect for the would-be teacher. They say that everyone should thank a teacher. I not only thanked a teacher but married her as well.So, readers, enjoy the merry month of May along with older Americans, teachers, flowers, birds, Gloria and me.Contact columnist Alex Berger at timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300. Ext. 141.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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