In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 10, 2006 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5766

Why a man should turn 64

By Garrison Keillor

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Twenty-four people packed into the dining room for my 64th birthday dinner and made a steady dull roar from the salad course right on through the cake and coffee, and I hardly got a word in edgewise. People kept inquiring if I was having fun, which is irritating. The answer is no. I don't want to be 64. I want to be 43. But that's life. Life is one disappointment after another. Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth, but so far all we've gotten is Minnesota and North Dakota.

The crucial questions when you turn 64 are: will I be needed and will I be fed? Feed should be tied to usefulness, I suppose. A man should earn his daily bran flakes. And what you need a 64-year-old for is ornamentation. We are here to show that power is an illusion. You don't know that at 43, and at 64 you do. Man is a passenger on the bus and has little influence on the outcome. A newspaper columnist has no more clout than a horsefly. We inveigh, we fulminate, we sing our little aria, and something else happens.

As Solomon said, the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong nor success to a guy with connections in Washington. The poor Coushatta Indians of Louisiana got suckered into funneling money to various congressmen to make friends and protect their casinos. They came out looking like dopes. Kenneth Lay raised buckets of money for the Current Occupant and what did it avail him in the end? Not much. Anybody who tries to buy political influence is kidding himself. You could just as well throw the money from a moving vehicle. The bums who pick it up out of the gutter will do about as much for you as the bums in Washington.

It dawns on me that my Minnesota Twins do better if I'm not there cheering for them. I leave town and they have a big winning streak. I go to a game ,and our pitcher gets in trouble right away, our clutch hitters hit into double plays with the bases loaded. The team rallies when I go out for a bratwurst, but once I'm back in my seat, our relief ace gives up a cheap home run. This is humbling.

But any parent knows about humbling. Children grow up, and your influence over them declines precipitously. You begat them because you pictured yourself as a wise and beloved patriarch, but instead you become the warden of San Question. Your offspring yell at you and bang their tin cups as you walk through the cellblock. You try to enforce a few rules, and they ignore you. They become painted women in tiny shorts and tank tops and lascivious boys dancing in dim basements to bands with names like Stark Raving Idiots and Degenerate Thrombosis.

Either they will slide into a life of crime and addiction, or awaken in time to get into medical school and become pediatricians. One or the other. Either they'll wind up in the Big House, sullen, chain-smoking, heavily tattooed, or they'll be making the rounds in a starched white smock, placing a stethoscope against the chests of tiny infants. And you, Mom and Pop, will have had mighty little influence on the outcome.

What a 64-year-old guy believes in, finally, is preservation. If you have no new ideas, maintain the old ones, such as kindness, generosity, humor. I live in a graceful neighborhood of old homes, a comfort to pedestrians, the work of hundreds of dedicated restorers and renovators. There are classic texts to be read again, Horace and Marcus Aurelius and A.J. Liebling. Old guys sit and sing old songs and lend some breadth and majesty to the world. Last month I wrote a sonnet. It wasn't bad. My cousin Susan has, in the midst of encroaching tract houses and mini-malls, kept a magnificent country yard and garden that carries on the elegant spirit of Aunt Josephine. In a low dishonest age, to raise tomatoes and marigolds is to testify to the loveliness of the world. Some people dare to dream big dreams and others find the world almost unbearable.

At 64, a man is too old to dream or to despair, but he can recite a sonnet, sing "Frankie and Johnny" or "Old Paint" or "The Frozen Logger," reminisce about a trip to New York City in 1953, and be a staunch liberal. One could do worse.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Garrison Keillorís "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country. Comment by clicking here.


© 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.