The Tale Spinner

Vol. XXIII, No. 8

February 25, 2017


  • Tom Telfer forwards suggestions for growing old gracefully
  • Doris Dignard writes about a site that she enjoyed
  • Barbara Wear forwards a blog about coyotes
  • Tom Williamson shares a story about feeling old
  • Marilyn Magic sends answers to an exam question
  • Burke Dykes' story is about an optimistic friend 
  • Irene Harvalias forwards a story about a baby
  • The editor has another suggestion for aging
  • Sites are suggested by Judy Lee and Tom Telfer

Tom Telfer forwards this list from his friend Alan Bame:


1. It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it.  Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard-earned capital. Warning: This is also a bad time for investments, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries. This is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.

2. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter, and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.

3. Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well,and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor, do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.

4. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other. The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then, enjoy it together.

5. Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.

6. Regardless of age, always keep love alive. Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbour, and remember: “A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.”

7. Be proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.

8. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you - keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.

9. Always stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active e-mail account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised what old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.

10. Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them that yesterday’s wisdom still applies today.

11. Never use the phrase: “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.

12. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.

13. Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.

14. Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.

15. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven’t seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don’t get upset when you’re not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.

16. Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.

17. Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

18. If you’ve been offended by someone - forgive them. If you’ve offended someone - apologize. Don’t drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said: “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

19. If you have a strong belief, savour it. But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.

20. Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what’s not to laugh about? Find the humour in your situation.

21. Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking. They’ll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Let them talk and don’t worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!


Doris Dignard writes: The site suggested in last week's Spinner by Shirley Coutts of the London Symphony playing the William Tell Overture is one of the best videos I have ever seen. They have a good conductor and very obedient members. I enjoyed it immensely.

ED. NOTE: If you missed it, you can still check it out at

Barbara Wear forwards another blog from Dac Crossley:


One evening when I was about six years old my father woke me up to hear coyotes howl. We were living in Kingsville, Texas, out in the brush country near town. Dad told me that he grew up listening to coyotes, and he thought that development in the West meant the end of coyotes. He wanted me to hear them before they were gone forever.

Boy, was he wrong! Coyotes are adapting to rural areas across America. You don’t have to go too far from Athens, Georgia, to hear coyotes. At my cabin on the Ridge we see signs. I haven’t heard them, but my daughter has (I don’t hear so well). And I did see one, one afternoon, while sitting on my porch. It sat on its haunches, about 30 yards away, motionless, eyeing me. When it suddenly vanished I got a glimpse of its bang-tail.

True, there are dogs in the woods, but this was no dog! I’ve heard that coyotes are interbreeding with dogs.

In “The Voice of the Coyote,” Texas historian J. Frank Dobie brings together a bunch of tales about coyote behavior, habits, and interactions with people. Fun to read but with raised eyebrows. Old Texans are tellers of tales, tales that grow with repetition.

There’s a message here. Don’t be too soon to write off any group of animals. True, we’ve lost some, improbable losses of abundant species. Yet, given any chance at all, animals have this drive to survive. Think - well, Chernobyl, the radioactive zone in Russia where big mammals do quite well.

But please, no more Chernobyls!

Tom Williamson forwards the story of



That's what the kid behind the counter at Taco Bell said to me. I dug into my pocket and pulled out some lint and two dimes and something that used to be a Jolly Rancher. Having already handed the kid a five-spot, I started to head back out to the truck to grab some change when the kid with the Elmo hairdo said the hardest thing anyone has ever said to me. He said, "It's OK. I'll just give you the senior citizen discount."

I turned to see who he was talking to, and then heard the sound of change hitting the counter in front of me. "Only $4.68," he said cheerfully.

I stood there stupefied. I am 56, not even 60 yet! A mere child! Senior citizen?

I took my burrito and walked out to the truck wondering what was wrong with Elmo. Was he blind? As I sat in the truck, my blood began to boil. Old? Me?

I'll show him, I thought. I opened the door and headed back inside. I strode to the counter, and there he was waiting with a smile.

Before I could say a word, he held up something and jingled it in front of me, like I could be that easily distracted! What am I now? A toddler?

"Dude! Can't get too far without your car keys, eh?" I stared with utter disdain at the keys. I began to rationalize in my mind. Leaving keys behind hardly makes a man elderly! It could happen to anyone!

I turned and headed back to the truck. I slipped the key into the ignition, but it wouldn't turn. What now? I checked my keys and tried another. Still nothing.

That's when I noticed the purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. I had no purple beads hanging from my rear view mirror. Then, a few other objects came into focus: The car seat in the back seat. Happy Meal toys spread all over the floorboard. A partially-eaten doughnut on the dashboard.

Faster than you can say ginkgo biloba, I flew out of the alien vehicle.

Moments later I was speeding out of the parking lot in the proper vehicle,relieved to finally be leaving this nightmarish stop in my life. That is when I felt it, deep in the bowels of my stomach: hunger! My stomach growled and churned, and I reached to grab my burrito, only it was nowhere to be found.

I swung the truck around, gathered my courage, and strode back into the restaurant one final time. There Elmo stood, draped in youth and black nail polish. All I could think was, "What is the world coming to?"

All I could say was,"Did I leave my food and drink in here"? At this point I was ready to ask a Boy Scout to help me back to my vehicle, and then go straight home and apply for Social Security benefits.

Elmo had no clue. I walked back out to the truck, and suddenly a young lad came up and tugged on my jeans to get my attention. He was holding up a drink and a bag. His mother explained, "I think you left this in my truck by mistake."

I took the food and drink from the little boy and sheepishly apologized.

She offered these kind words: "It's OK. My grandfather does stuff like this all the time."

All of this is to explain how I got a ticket doing 85 in a 40-mph zone. Yessss, I was racing some punk kid in a Toyota Prius. And no, I told the officer, I'm not too old to be driving this fast.

As I walked in the front door, my wife met me halfway down the hall. I handed her a bag of cold food and a $300 speeding ticket. I promptly sat in my rocking chair and covered up my legs with a blankey.

The good news was that I had successfully found my way home.

Marilyn Magid sends this story of an


Students in an advanced biology class were taking their mid-term exam. The last question was, 'Name seven advantages of mothers' milk.' The question was worth 70 points or none at all.

One student was hard put to think of seven advantages. He wrote: 

1)  It is perfect formula for the child. 

2)  It provides immunity against several diseases. 

3)  It is always the right temperature. 

4)  It is inexpensive. 

5)  It bonds the child to mother and vice versa. 

6)  It is always available as needed. 

And then the student was stuck. Finally, in desperation, just before the bell rang indicating the end of the test, he wrote: 

7)  It comes in two attractive containers and it's high enough off the ground where the cat can't get it.  

He got an A.


Burke Dykes forwards this story:


The story is told of a king who had a close friend with whom he grew up.

The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, "This is good!"

One day the king and his friend were on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. In preparing one of the guns, the friend had apparently done something wrong, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off.

Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual, "This is good!"

To which the king replied, "No, this is NOT good!" and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in a dangerous area. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to it.

As they approached to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone that was less than whole. So after untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend.  He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend.

You were right," he said, "it was good that my thumb was blown off." And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened.

"And so I am very sorry for sending you to jail for so long. It was bad for me to do this."

"No," his friend replied, "This is good!"

"What do you mean, 'This is good'? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?"

"If I had NOT been in jail, I would have been with you."

Irene Harvalias sends this story of


With all the new technology regarding fertility recently, a 65-year-old friend of mine was able to give birth. When she was discharged from the hospital and went home, I went to visit.

"May I see the new baby?" I asked.

"Not yet," she said. "I'll make coffee and we can visit for a while first."

Thirty minutes had passed, and I asked, "May I see the new baby now?"

"No, not yet," she said.

After another few minutes had elapsed, I asked again, "May I see the baby now?"

"No, not yet," replied my friend.

Growing very impatient, I asked, "Well, when can I see the baby?"

"WHEN HE CRIES!" she told me.

"When he cries?" I demanded. "Why do I have to wait until he cries?"



The article on aging has many useful suggestions about growing old and how to make the best of one's circumstances. However, I believe it has left out one important suggestion - that of volunteering. 

I know from personal experience how much volunteering adds to one's life after one has retired from work. After I stopped teaching at the age of 65, I volunteered at a home for veterans in Burnaby, hoping to make use of the experience I had gained in my career as a librarian. I started out by organizing the library, but that job became redundant after they hired a librarian to look after two libraries in institutions run by Veterans' Affairs.

The coordinator of volunteers, Shirley Conlon, soon found other ways in which I could be useful, and eventually I found myself acting as treasurer of the volunteer society. I was still acting in that capacity when I retired from the society at the age of 91, and I still miss the feeling of being useful that gave me a reason to get up in the morning. I still miss the friends I made among the volunteers, though I am still in contact with some of them.

I believe it is a good thing to look after oneself, to keep in touch with friends, to spend money to make oneself comfortable, and if possible, independent. However, being useful and helping others can be a very satisfying feeling too, and I heartily recommend it.

I think that Randy French, Stan French's son, would agree with me. He has helped the East York Rotary Club present it auction on Rogers' Cable TV every fall since 1986, and in recognition of his work, they have sent him a certificate of appreciation for his "exceptional support for the Rotary Club, empowering the club to help dozens of charities in Toronto."

Way to go, Randy!


Judy Lee forwards this link to a funny video of a dog eating in a fashionable restaurant:

Tom Telfer sends the URL for a video of the kids' edition of People Are Awsome, which shows talented kids showing off some incredible skills:

Tom also forwards the URL for a series of photos of cats and dogs climbing into improbable places - your antidepressant for the day:

From GoodNewsNetwork, this site tells the story of the first-ever therapy dog trained to help paramedics in Ottawa:

From the same source, here is the story of how a girl's lemonade recipe to save bees has turned into a giant Whole Foods deal:

More info at link

If you believe that postal banking in Canada would be good for taxpayers and for the post office, sign this petition:

The citizens of the island of Samso in Denmark got together, formed a co-op, invested in a series of wind turbines, are now completely carbon neutral and make lots of money selling energy back to the grid! They recouped the investment within five years:

S-Oil was on a mission to save oil in South Korea's capital, which had some of the highest gas consumption in the world. This video shows how they did it:

This video is about how fast technological progress is going, how much technology has improved the world, and the potential for technology to solve our most pressing challenges:

This three-wheeled auto is not very practical, but it is fun to watch in this Top Gear video:


Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

- Mark Twain

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