Monday, May 31, 2010


My feet have always been exceptionally tender on the soles. Over the years I had envied those who could painlessly run barefoot over the gravel and rocks. In the dark and without a flashlight, I slipped and stumbled over the gravely creek bed, falling several times before reaching the Springville side from which we had come. On dry land, the going wasn't much easier.

Terrified of the barking of a dog, I limped to a farm a short distance down the road. The dog's alarm brought the farmer to the porch to see what was going on. Bedraggled from my experience - dust mingling with the wetness to make mud - I must have been quite a sight as he lifted his kerosene lantern and peered down from the porch at me. As best I could, I explained our predicament.

Without a telephone, he couldn't call anyone to pull us out. His horses, he explained, were not in the barn but had been turned out into the pasture as it was Saturday night. I pleaded with him that we had no other options. By this time I was shivering in the cool night air and a brisk breeze was adding to my discomfort. Eventually he relented.

"Go back to the car," he grumbled, "and I'll try to catch a team to hook onto your car."

I asked him what time it was. "Ten o'clock," he muttered, as he consulted his battered old watch. Lantern in hand, he disappeared behind the barn as I struggled back to the stalled car.

I found Bob and Esther cozily cuddled up, keeping each other warm. Realizing my soaked condition, Bob clearly disapproved of my getting into the car with them and sitting on the upholstery. Instead, he insisted that I open the trunk and climb in there. I rummaged around in the dark but could discover only the jack and tool kit along with the spare tire. There was no blanket, not even a rag to help me dry off and get warm. I tried to partially close the trunk lid to keep out the breeze.

Time dragged. I was much too uncomfortable to doze. The sounds of night were amplified. The chirping of crickets, the hoot of an owl, and the murmuring of the creek as it swirled around the car were not intimidating. But somehow they all accentuated my sense of aloneness. Even the sounds from the front seat added to my sense of isolation.

From time to time I could hear the farmer up on the hill trying to round up his horses. I couldn't be certain whether some of the glimmers were from his lantern or were merely fireflies flashing their mating signals. The moonless sky was filled with pinpricks of light but chills from my clammy clothing greatly reduced my capacity to enjoy this celestial sight. Time never went so slowly except when I was on the outside of the bathroom door.

Then worry began to nag at me. Even though I was a college student, midnight was an established deadline for being home. Observing this deadline was a firm expectation of my parents. What might my concerned parents try to do? Such contemplation added nothing to my comfort. Trying to marshal the facts with which to face them, I realized that truth might well sound like fiction.

After what seemed an infinite time, I heard sounds up by the barn. Subsequently, the farmer appeared on the creek bank with his team. After some discussion, he decided to pull the car back to the side from which we had come, as the horses could work better in shallower water. The horses were harnessed to a pair of whiffle-trees to which was attached a log chain.

Since I was already wet, my assignment was to feel around under the back of the car and find a secure place to hook the chain. After several failed attempts in Braille, I fastened the hook around a spring shackle. The farmer made sure Bob had the gearshift in neutral before signaling his restive team to take up the slack in the chain. I was to help by pushing on the car.

But the horses didn't act like a team. Instead of pulling together, they each took turns pulling and seesawed back and forth muddying the water. The farmer indicated he had been unable to find the two horses of his regular team and that these had not worked together before. Time after time he urged them forward with the same futile result. His language soon indicated extreme frustration and included unflattering adjectives to describe the team. Standing in the creek with my teeth chattering, I began to feel as if I were part of a cruel nightmare that kept on and on.

Then it happened! I'm sure it wasn't by the will of man or beast, but by sheer coincidence that the two horses pulled together for a few critical seconds. The Chevy was dragged slowly from the center of the stream up onto the gravel bank.

Now with the familiarity of practice and the aid of a soiled rag the farmer pulled from his overalls, I once more tried to dry out the distributor and wires. Total darkness was no aid. But the starter turned and the engine wheezed several times before it reluctantly began to turn. Several minutes passed before it recovered enough to propel the vehicle up the bank to the road.

Bob paid the farmer five dollars - a significant sum in those times. As our rescuer disappeared with his team into the darkness, Bob's watch showed a quarter after midnight. By then the heater was throwing out some welcome warmth. Somewhat reluctantly Bob let me get into the front seat if I would be "careful to keep the mud off the upholstery."

"It's late. Let's go right home now," I pleaded. Bob had different ideas.

"I'm hungry. Let's go to Springville and get something to eat," he insisted.

"I can't go in anywhere looking like this," I argued.

His response was, "We'll bring you out something."

Up the steep Breakers to Springville Bob drove as I soaked in the heat. In those days, small towns closed up relatively early even on Saturday nights. Since by then midnight had long gone, not a single food dispensary was open.

The drive back to Gowanda was almost totally devoid of conversation. Esther snuggled close to Bob with her head on his shoulder while I sat on the opposite side of the seat, feeling a bit like the proverbial leper.

Pausing in front of the parsonage, Bob let me out before taking Esther back to the Cole residence. Old parsonages are not conditioned to provide even the stealthy with a silent entrance. Carrying my shoes, I tiptoed up the front steps, opened the front door gradually to keep the hinges from squeaking and negotiated the living room without bumping into any furniture. The most difficult part of my passage was the stairs leading to my second story bedroom that I shared with my brother, Irving. About one-third of the way up the narrow stairs, one of the worn pine treads complained loudly. I stopped. But it was too late.

Mother appeared at the top of the stairs and lit the gaslight. "Arnold, what time is it?"

Peering at the clock, she answered her own question and posed another: "Where have you been and what have you been doing?"

Gradually absorbing my disheveled appearance, her next question was: "What happened to you?" Motherly concern came clearly through at this point.

My honest but abbreviated account of the evening was dutifully delivered to an audience of two, as by this time father had also appeared. I think my parents tried to believe my story - although they struggled with unbelief. Father remonstrated that this wasn't a "proper way to prepare for the Sabbath which has already begun." Butt to this day, whenever I cross the bridge over the Cattaraugus Creek leading to Brooklyn valley, I re-live again the events of that memorable Saturday night when we were stranded in the creek.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The motor of the Chevy sputtered, fluttered, caught again briefly, and then died. The three of us were stranded in the middle of the Cattaraugus Creek. What a soggy end to our carefully-planned Saturday evening of fun!

After school on Tuesday afternoon my friend, Bob Rabe, stopped by my house. Clearly he was excited, not at all in character with his usual stolid mien. "Let's go outside and talk," he urged.

As soon as we were out the door, he demanded: "Arnold. Did you know that there is a new girl working at Dr. Cole's house?"

I confirmed his observation. During high school I had done grounds work for Dr. Cole who lived just across the street from the parsonage. Although I had a summer job, on several Saturdays he still had me do a variety of tasks around the place.

"Do you know her name?" he persisted.

"Yes. She is Esther Pritchard from East Leon," I responded.

"How do you happen to know her?"

"When we lived over at East Otto, she was in some of my classes at Cattaraugus High."

Then Bob came right to the point. "Since you know her, Arnold, and you're my friend, would you ask her for a date for me? Please!"

Two obstacles loomed at once. First, I was very bashful and didn't feel comfortable asking any girl for a date. Second, I had already considered asking her out myself.

Esther's delicate facial features were framed by brown hair that she kept carefully brushed to a sheen. When she spoke, her voice was low-pitched rather than shrill like so many girls' tones. Her smile, which came easily, was indicative of the kindness that she regularly exhibited. Because of this, she didn't intimidate me as did most girls.

Bob pushed his points of leverage: our long-standing friendship and his ownership of a car. The importance of the latter was not to be underestimated.

Sensing my hesitation, Bob said: "If you ask her for me and she accepts, you can go with us." To me, this seemed better than a Saturday night at home, so I agreed to try. Feeling a bit like John Alden, I went over to Coles the very next evening and asked for Esther. She seemed pleased to see me, but showed surprise that I was asking for someone else. When I explained that I would be going too, since she didn't know Bob, she accepted.

Bob had polished the Chevy until it gleamed. Every piece of chrome was a mirror. He arrived early to pick me up, excitement showing in his eyes. Promptly at seven we were at the Cole's door to escort Esther to the car. A delicate trace of perfume was in the air as she slid to the middle of the seat between us and we took off. The radio, tuned to WGR, provided background to our cheerful banter.

Bob was anxious to show off his car. At fifty MPH a series of short, sharp knolls and dips on Bagdad Road seemed designed to produce thrills reminiscent of a roller coaster. The sudden relaxing of the pressure in the succeeding dip followed the force of each steep rise in the road. Caught off guard, Esther gasped and then giggled in the excitement of this performance. On that last dip, the downward force had made the springs bottom out.

Suddenly the motor roared as Bob accelerated - but instead of speeding up, the Chevy slowed down. Bob's face instantly registered shock, replacing the gleeful chortle of the moment before. Again he tried applying more gas, but with the same result. In panic, he pulled to the shoulder of the pavement. "What have I done to the car?" Bob moaned. "What will my dad say?" Suddenly all of his joy had evaporated.

"Bob, why don't you put it back in gear?" I suggested. On that last big leap, Esther's knees had hit the gearshift lever and moved it from "High" into "Neutral," permitting the engine to race. Relieved but sheepish, Bob tried my suggestion. The Chevy responded normally. With an embarrassed grin, Bob asked me where we should go next.

"Zoar Valley is my first choice." I didn't have to think twice, as this winding road, roughly following the twisting of the Cattaraugus Creek from Gowanda to Springville, was scenic with steep grades and great vistas. With Dick and Bob Cain, I had explored it on bicycle innumerable times in the previous four years. At Collins Center, we took the shortcut to the Zoar Road and soon were enjoying this narrow valley carved by the creek.

"BRIDGE OUT," warned the sign as we reached the junction with Hammond Hill Road leading to Brooklyn Valley, my birthplace. "We forded the creek two weeks ago when I was over here with my father," I commented.

Bob immediately responded, "Let's do it now. Where do we cross?"

"Just beyond the approach to the bridge, that dirt track leads down to the water level. Go upstream and cross directly where the water is shallower over the gravel bar. Better shift into second and keep the wheels moving so they don't sink down into the gravel," I cautioned. Esther made no comment.

Dusk reduced visibility as the tires kicked up swirls of dust and the alder branches scraped the fenders, making Bob wince as he thought of his precious vehicle. His bravado ebbed as we started the crossing, and his foot eased on the accelerator as the churning wheels encountered shifting rocks made unstable by the current.

The motor of the Chevy sputtered, fluttered, caught again briefly, and then died. The three of us were stranded in the middle of the Cattaraugus Creek. What a soggy ending to our carefully-planned Saturday night of fun! In the dusk, Bob had missed the ford and had entered about twenty feet downstream where the water was deeper. The upstream current on the driver's side made the water pile up against the driver's door. Since I was on the downstream side, I was elected to "Do something."

Taking off my best Sunday shoes and rolling up the legs of my slacks as far as I could, I gingerly opened my door and stood on the running board to keep from going in up to my waist. Closing the door, I cautiously crawled up on the fender and slid over the hood to the fender on the driver's side. Bob cautioned me to be careful to not mar the finish!

The hood was divided, so I was able to lift the half on the driver's side to get access to the distributor. Water caused the spark to fail in reaching the plugs.

I removed the distributor cap and with my white handkerchief carefully dried the inside of the cap and the wires to the coil and spark plugs. After laboriously replacing the cap, I instructed Bob to try starting the car. "If it starts, gun it." To our surprise, the engine caught for a few moments, and then was again extinguished as water from the fan, which was partially submerged, was directed back onto the wiring and distributor.

Reluctantly Bob surrendered his handkerchief after voicing the concern, "What will mother say to the grease on my best one?"

Again I went through the drying process, even more carefully than before. In desperation, I waded into the stream behind the vehicle in a position to try to push should the engine start.

"Now, Bob," I called out.

And, miracle of miracles, the motor roared, I pushed, and after advancing about a foot, it died again. However, its brief lurch had embedded it even lower in the gravel. Water now flowed in through the cracks around the lower part of the driver's door, eddied over the floor mat, and exited on the opposite side. By then, Bob and Esther had to raise their feet to keep them out of the water.

Hope of extricating ourselves faded with the now-spent light. Outside help was our only answer. Since I was already thoroughly soaked, Bob thought I was the logical one to go for help while he stayed with the car - and with Esther.

[to be continued next week]

Monday, May 17, 2010


"What's that funny thing on your bike?" Bob Cain inquired. He pointed to a metal yoke attached to the forks of my old red Elgin.

"It's knee-action designed for a bicycle," I replied. Just a year before, Chevrolet autos had come out with a new feature in the front suspension for which the engineers had coined the term "Knee-Action."

"How does it work?" Bob persisted.

"These coil springs stretch out when the front wheel hits a bump. That allows the wheel to move upward, softening the impact. Want to try it?"

"Sure do," he responded. Down the driveway Bob pedaled, hitting every bump he could find.

"Works great," was his valued judgment. "Where did you buy it?"

"Through the mail. Saw it advertised in last month's BOY'S LIFE and sent for it. Yesterday I installed it."

For the next week or so I was elated to have my old bike the focus of interest by my friends. Since getting a new bicycle was out of the question, having the chance to demonstrate this new accessory fed my pride.

Then came that fateful Saturday morning.

Flying low over Gowanda, a small plane seemed to skim the tops of the trees before disappearing from view. I thought no more about it until Bobby Miller went racing past our house.

"Aren't you going to see the plane that crashed?" he puffed.

"Stop. Where did it crash?" I demanded.

"In a field south of town. I'll show you if you'll hurry along with me."

"Let's take my bike. That way we can get there quicker," I suggested. "You can ride on the handlebars."

Younger and smaller than I, Jimmy hopped up, got a firm grip. Off we streaked in the direction he indicated. Soon we found ourselves part of a small crowd of persons, young and old, bent on satisfying their curiosity about this unusual event in our normally sleepy little village.

Pedaling the bike at top speed, I soon outdistanced most of the moving spectators. With much of the load over the front wheel, the knee action worked efficiently in smoothing out the bumps.

"Turn down this lane," Jimmy pointed.

The dirt track through the turf had been packed hard by farm wagons. Just a few hundred yards ahead we could see the plane, nose down and tail pointed skyward. Now even more excited, I pumped harder. We were really clipping along at a fast pace. Although I noticed a sharp dip in the track, I failed to slow or consider the possible consequences.

The force generated by Jimmy's added weight on the front wheel was more than the springs could compensate for. The front tire rose, contacted the arch of the forks, and the front wheel stopped turning. Pivoting on the front axle, the back of the bike rose in the air, catapulting Jimmy and me headlong into the dirt.

The next thing I knew, I was staring blearily up at talking faces that seemed fuzzy and far away. Responding to questions that floated in and out of my consciousness was impossible. Vaguely I heard a babble of voices inquiring "Are you hurt?" - "What's your name?" - "Where do you live?" - "Do you need help getting home?" Answering required thinking and at the moment that was out of the question.

With the breath knocked out of me by the impact, a few minutes passed before I could get oriented, as I was unable to recall why I was there or what I had been doing. Finally I realized why everyone and everything looked unclear.

"Where are my glasses?" I stammered.

After searching in the grass around where I had landed, someone located the metal frames twisted into a bizarre puzzle. Both lenses had splintered, gashing my forehead, cheeks and chin. Blood now was oozing from a variety of lacerations.

My next concern was to get home. Embarrassed by the attention, I declined offers of assistance. Picking up my bike, I discovered the springs so stretched that any weight on it caused the front wheel to rub. So I trudged towards home, pushing my damaged means of conveyance.

My whole face was swelling into an ugly mask. The blood mixed with dirt and the tears which began to seep unbidden from the corners of my eyes, now nearly swelled shut. With my limping gait, I thought I never would reach 156 West Main Street.

When I burst through the screened side door into the kitchen, my mother gasped. So distorted was my face that she didn't even recognize me. Still dangling from one hand were the remains of the glasses.

"Mother, I'm really sorry I broke my glasses again." I confessed.

"Don't worry about that now," she tried to reassure me. "Let's get you to the doctor at once!"

As usual, father was out calling on parishioners, so my mother steered me stumbling along the sidewalk. Fortunately the home with attached office of Dr. Robert Tuttle was only a block away. Amazingly, the doctor was in.

The next few minutes were excruciatingly painful as the kindly physician carefully removed fragments of glass, dirt and debris from my wounds. After copiously applying antiseptic, Dr. Tuttle began the process of stitching and bandaging. When the task was completed, the only parts of my face visible were my eyes, nose and mouth. My head looked like that of a mummy.

Mother's insistence that I stay home from church on Sunday I accepted without objection. School on Monday was an entirely different matter. Tom Hart and I were vying for top academic honors in the high school. I didn't want to miss out on anything that might possibly jeopardize my ranking. Minus both my glasses and parental approval, I made my way to classes on time on Monday morning.

"Who are you?" and "What happened to you?" greeted me on all sides as classmates stared in disbelief at this spectral head moving among them. I tried to be blase, but secretly reveled in the attention that brought me unaccustomed celebrity status.

It took time - the wounds healed without infection but left some permanent scars on my cheeks. I was able to purchase replacement springs to restore the knee-action to my Elgin bike. The plane was relatively undamaged, but had to be hauled away on a flatbed truck. And Jimmy? He had slid off into the grass uninjured. My lenses and frame required replacement as they had been totaled.

Even I had to agree with mother's grim assessment of my forced landing: "Arnold, you could have broken your neck or lost your sight."

Monday, May 10, 2010


Following World War II, Houseknecht Motors in Batavia had taken on the Hudson dealership. In 1950 I purchased a 1948 Hudson sedan. A sturdy vehicle, it featured unitized body construction. A step-down design lowered its profile while maintaining inside headroom. Roomy, comfortable and powerful, this was the last of my cars to have a spotlight installed on the driver's side, a feature that I enjoyed using.

In May 1951 my brother Irving was graduating from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Naturally my parents wanted to be present. Betty and I decided to go and take them. The Hudson was more comfortable and had a hitch to pull father's old trailer to bring back Irving's belongings: mainly books he had accumulated during three years of study. Son Danny went along but daughters Bettina and Judith stayed with friends. The uneventful trip down was pleasant.

On Commencement day the noon meal followed the impressive ceremonies. As soon as that was over, packing Irving's things into the trailer was the next urgent concern. To my consternation, he revealed that he had promised to take along boxes of books for other students. Some detouring from our direct route home would be required to make these deliveries. The next bombshell was the sheer quantity and bulk of these boxes and other items.

Never an expression of beauty and form, the trailer had been fabricated from an old truck rear end by my Uncle Earl Goodwin. Father had purchased it from him in 1929 to use in the farming endeavors while he pastored at Brooklyn during the Depression. Its scarred box had seen cargos such as wheat, manure, hay, hogs, potatoes and supplies for camp meeting. Over the years numerous parts had been replaced or repaired as age and misfortune had taken their toll. Its current tongue or drawbar had been fashioned of wood.

In shock, I left the loading up to Irving and father, as my brother seemed to have no qualms about the equipment. We had progressed only fourteen miles to Lexington when I noted a railroad crossing ahead. In spite of slowing the Hudson's speed, I heard a sickening crunch and the car was jerked to an abrupt stop. The wooden tongue had broken off next to the trailer box, dropping it right onto the railroad tracks. Not being knowledgeable about train schedules, we decided drastic action was called for. The safety chain was still linking the car and trailer. With father and Irving franticly tugging and lifting, the Hudson was able to drag the fractured trailer free of the tracks and over to the curb. With the temperature in the nineties and the humidity high, we were literally sweating out a tough situation.

From the wisteria-draped porch of a house nearby, a woman's voice invited Betty and mother to come up and have a cool drink. With the aid of a telephone book, we were able to locate a nearby repair shop that would attempt to make repairs. After unloading the cargo onto the curb, we jury-rigged the trailer tongue so it held together the necessary few blocks to the shop where the proprietor set to the task of fashioning a new tongue out of steel.

My work at Oakfield & Elba Growers included interaction with long-haul truckers who transported loads of produce to various destinations in the eastern half of the United States. The prior week I had mentioned our projected trip to two haulers from Moorhead, Kentucky. They had given me their home phone numbers and had told me to call them if I had a problem. Our present situation seemed to fit that description, so I phoned them. They were home for the weekend and urged me to stay put in Lexington until they could get there.

They arrived in a pickup truck, having covered the 55 miles in less time than it took to get the trailer tongue replaced. With alacrity they proceeded to transfer the heap of boxes on the curb to their truck bed. With night approaching, they insisted that we follow them home and stay over night with them. The now-empty trailer bobbed along behind the Hudson as we attempted to keep the pickup in sight. Upon our arrival at one of their houses, we found that real Kentucky fried chicken with all of the fixings had been prepared by their wives. What a meal that turned out to be.

Discovering that both father and Irving were ministers, an impromptu service was requested. Father was never one to pass up such an opportunity. Word went out through the hollow and soon the house seemed almost bursting at the seams with friends and neighbors. Stringed instruments accompanied the enthusiastic and extended hymn sing. Father led in prayer and commented on some scripture. In spite of the lateness of the hour, the people were reluctant to have it conclude. But it was urgent that we leave early the next morning. Between the two households, they found comfortable beds for the six of us.

When we prepared to load up the next morning, my trucker friends declared the weight too heavy for the trailer even with the new tongue. They offered to bring some of Irving's heavy boxes of books up to Elba on their next trip. With a lightened load and refreshed spirits, we headed northeast, thinking that our problems were behind us.

When encountering steep grades in the mountains, I felt something slip in the drive train. A loud clang from the rear of the car coincided with the slippage. The car jerked and then resumed pulling. After this had happened several times and its frequency and severity had increased, I realized that I needed to get to a garage - and soon! Unlike GM, Ford and Chrysler, Hudson dealerships were not plentiful. As we limped over the last hill and headed down towards the Ohio River at Ashland, Kentucky, the sign for a Hudson dealership came into view.

I drove right up to the Service Department. The manager rendered a fast diagnosis: the bushings for the spider gears in the rear end had too much play and had allowed the gears to wear and slip a cog. To drive the car any farther would ruin the rear end. He had the required parts but the following day was a holiday and the shop had other jobs promised. Pleading the urgency of our need caused the service manager to relent. He immediately set a mechanic to work on it. Even so, pulling both rear axles and installing new spider gears was a lengthy process. The sun was setting as we crossed the Ohio River at Ashland.

I was supposed to be back at work the following day. The only way this could happen was to drive all night. Over mother's objections, Irving and I took turns at the wheel and I was back in the office the next day. It was some time before the truckers returned to Western New York bringing Irving's precious books.

Some time later a further difficulty developed. The engine on the Hudson started running rough. Diagnosis pointed to a faulty camshaft. Fortunately, this was a problem due to a manufacturing fault for which the Hudson Motor Car Co. paid the cost of the recall for repair. By this time we knew we were going to be moving to the west coast. While it was at the garage for the camshaft replacement, I had their body shop change the ugly gray color to a two-tone green and cream. This facelift provided a touch of class for making the big move.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Setting a value on time is a complicated affair. What appears to be a simple arithmetic function can turn into a complex equation with many variables. Let us consider a few of the issues.

Time exchanged for work is one place to begin. It can be observed that free time can be swapped for a given amount of work. But are all units of labor equal? To one person who surrenders his time for wages the cost to him in alternative uses can vary greatly. If the worker would otherwise be idle (doing nothing), should the cost be nothing? Or does having free time have calculable value?

Since I am retired, does that mean my time has no value? Does the freedom to do whatever I choose have worth? Using as a yardstick the alternatives that are mine, I can take this hour today and turn it into a letter to a friend, listening to good music, zooming around the community in my jitney, watching TV, helping a friend or merely sleeping. It appears that the possibilities are infinite. It might seem that the choices are endless to the point where I could squander all my available time just trying to figure out what to do. After considering the host of possibilities, I could find that the opportunity to do any of them has slipped away.

Is the value of time related to the amount of it remaining? Is time more valuable if it is apparently running low? An elderly lady waiting patiently to be seen by a doctor is expected to be content in the delay. The young doctor, with a much longer life expectation, is considered to have more claim on the moments he grants to this person. Is his time more valuable than the lady's if he is headed for the golf course?

I am standing in line for a table at the café when a young man with a party of three steps in front of me claiming attention of the waitress to be taken before ours. A youthful person's wants clearly superceded the needs of an elderly couple. Part of the problem is the general cultural bias with respect to time in preference to youth.

On the other side, I was heartened by the alacrity of several young people who wanted to help me. There are those who are clearly attracted to assist people who are disadvantaged and will go out of the way to assist if given the opportunity. That day I was rewarded with smiles genuinely offered along with the assistance given.

What is the value of time? Is it hours to be squandered with no loss of priceless opportunities? Or are we to redeem the moments that pass so swiftly from our control? Am I using my days in ways that say: Time is a valuable commodity. Life is too short to let it slip past without adequately wringing out its true worth.