Stumped? Stymied? What to buy Grandma and Grandpa for the Holidays? Read On..!!!

The annual dilemma! What to buy Grandpa, Grandma, your nutty uncle and the other “seasoned” (aka old bag) loved ones in your life for Christmas? They’re usually the last ones you shop for and the toughest. I know, because I’ve been a proud, AARP-carrying card member for several decades. What gift can you get for the geriatrics in your life that they’ll actually want and use, and doesn’t look like you just grabbed it on your way to the check-out line at CVS? (Hint: Boxes of easy-to-chew, assorted cream chocolates is a dead give-away.)

On behalf of my fellow senior citizens, I’m here to tell families and friends alike that we know you dread shopping for us. Guess what? We get it – and, as much as we love you, we’re not so thrilled with the whole dog and pony show either. After all, how many desk calendars of scenic America, crocheted remote control holders and Sudoku books does one need? Here’s an idea! Take that money and buy little Suzy or Sammy an iPhone upgrade, whatever that is, instead.

Here’s what us old geezers really want: Your time! Clear the piles of old papers in our den, move the cranky cat aside, sit down to have a chat! Leave your various electronic gizmos at the door.

We want to lean back and relax and reminisce about holidays past. In my case: the Christmas my father and uncle dipped a bit too deep into the Christmas punch, and serenaded the clan with a very off-key rendition of “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,” while clutching their dental bridges in one hand and bottles of rum in the other and soft shoeing across the living room. Or the time my young daughter pitched such a fit when Santa brought her big brother a blazing red jacket with the name of his “squirt” ice hockey team emblazoned on it. I had to beg the local rink owner to open up his pro shop on Christmas day to buy her one. Or the December night when I dressed up like Santa to surprise my grandchildren only to have the door slammed in my face by my six-year-old-going-on-forty grandson screaming: “You’re not Santa. Santa doesn’t wear topsiders.”(Smart kid!) Or the New Year’s Eve after my father died – how I could swear I heard the sounds of Lester Lanin, his favorite band, playing when I walked past the little apartment attached to our house where he lived in his last years.

We want to share these stories with you – our beloved kids, grandkids, extended family and old friends – because we want to remember them and, just for a few moments, be transported back to those days, when long gone loved ones were still with us, when our children were small and still under our roof, and Christmas morning was a cacophony of joyous cries and the occasional sibling punching match.

Just as important, we want you to remember these stories and tell them again and again in the years and decades ahead, so we can be with you, and laugh with you, and celebrate with you – if not in person, then through a life’s worth – our life’s worth – of memories.

At 83, sometimes I can’t remember what it is that I forgot or where it is that I was going when I got lost. I have to keep written count of the daily pills and eye-drops I take, and sometimes I can’t remember what I just had for lunch, but the details of holidays come tumbling back in sharp focus when I hear the first notes of “Jingle Bells.”

What was I prattling on about? Oh, yeah, holiday gifting. Back to the task at hand! Go ahead, shop till you drop – but not for me! I don’t deny that I need a new sweater. I have a bunch already, and I only wear the two that I like best over and over until my wife protests and hides them. I have plenty of hats. The red, multi-colored tam-o’-shanter that my father gave me is my winter cover. I own an array of baseball caps to don in warmer weather. I have all the mugs, pens, pencil holders that I can ever use. The antlers on the desk-sized wooden moose eyeglass holder that I got three years ago have fallen off and broken – just as well because the moment I take my glasses off my nose I forget where I put them anyway. Don’t spend your money on electronic gadgets that I’ll never figure out how to use, or the red reindeer socks with a light-up tie to match (I’m a geezer  not a geek!) What Grandpa and Grandma and Great Aunt Sally want is your company.

However, if you absolutely insist on buying me something – a magnum of Scotch, single malt would be nice. Don’t tell Grandma! (You can also buy my book, by the way… no pressure:)

George S. K. Rider is the author of The Rogue’s Road to Retirement: How I Got My Groove Back After 65 and How You Can Too – a humorous look at how to stay young by staying in touch with your inner bad boy or girl, and how to preserve your stories for future generations. He sold and published his first book at age 82. You can buy The Rogue’s Road at R.J. Julia’s in Madison, CT, and online at:

http://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Road-Retirement-Groove-Sixty-Five/dp/1629147664/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rogues-road-to-retirement-george-s-k-rider/1120667858

http://www.walmart.com/ip/39964311

Dad Tam

 

Health Care and How to Fix It (According to The Rogue!)

Do not let your eyes gloss over, damn it!! It’s a universal topic that gets jawboned ad nausea and sculpted, all to often, to fit a political objective.

On Tuesday evening, May 12th, Dorothy and I returned to R. J. Julia for a book event and discussion with Jonathan Bush (nephew of George Herbert Walker), author of “Where Does It Hurt?” Jonathan’s dad and I have been friends for 62 plus years. Quoting from the book jacket, “A Bold New Remedy For The Sprawling And Wasteful Health Care Industry,” the tome is an entrepreneur’s guide to fixing health care.

“Where Does It Hurt,” was number six on The New York Times Best Seller List 6/1/2014.

One of the blurbs, authored by Jeffrey Flier, MD, dean of Harvard Medical School, highlights the dilemma that confronts all of us!

Flier: “Health care has successfully resisted organizational innovation to the detriment of our health and our economy. In ‘Where Does It Hurt?’ Jonathan gives exciting accounts of current innovation, and irreverently imagines an attainable future in which a vibrant medical marketplace is driven by health entrepreneurs, of which he himself is a prime example. Patients, physicians, and policy wonks alike would be well served to take the provocative and illuminating tour.”

Jonathan is CEO and cofounder of Athenahealth, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the country. He has worked in health care for two decades.

Aside from Jonathan’s remarks and the wonderful excerpts he read from his book, the health care discussion following his presentation proved to be enlightening and provocative with a great many in attendance joining in.

One memory that this 83-year-old will reflect upon fondly occurred as we took our seats. I’ve been distressed lately by the morass and quagmire that has overtaken this once proud country and pitted too many citizens against each other with little or no leadership from places and people vested with that responsibility. As we sat down, a broad shouldered, big, handsome curl-headed young man took his seat next to me and introduced himself. It was Ted Kennedy Jr. there to listen to his friend Jonathan and participate in the discussion that ensued. For me, seeing these two vibrant, accomplished, energetic young men – from dynasties at opposite ends of the political spectrum – engage in such productive dialogue gives me hope that their generation can help us stop the drift and avoid running aground, forever beached at ebb tide.

Returning to R.J. Julia five months after the launch of my book, “The Rogue’s Road To Retirement” in January was an added dividend to a remarkable evening. In the interim I’ve been busy, appearing on WTNH’s Connecticut Style show and speaking at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Essex, CT; Evergreen Woods, a retirement community in North Branford; the Enfield Senior Center; book signing events at Barnes and Noble in Fairfield and R.J. Julia in Madison; and signing books at a jam-packed street fair in my home town of Bay Shore, Long Island. This summer, I’ll be doing five events, leading off with a reading at Essex Meadows, a retirement community in Essex, CT. Daughter Jenny, my agent Anna Termine and my much better half Dorothy continue to be my chief cheerleaders and pit crew, with a big assist from our Staples store in Old Saybrook.

Writing has taken me in directions that I would never have imagined. I still believe that the best is yet to come. Stay well! Be sure to visit us – and the Griswold Inn Store in Essex (they’ve been very supportive of the book) – if you’re in Essex or on Fire Island. Keep writing!

George

Fun seeing old friends at the Fair in Bay Shore!

Rogue fair June 2015

Spring Blog Doubleheader

Part One: Special Easter Gift

The Spring thaw is finally hitting my blog, so I am catching up on events from earlier in the season…

Easter as a little boy! Dad would wake up early and blast us out of bed with a record of the glorious Alleluia Chorus blaring on the Victrola. My brother Ken and I would scamper through the house discovering a dozen or more Easter baskets hidden after we went to bed, all with toy bunnies and chicks, chocolate treats, jelly beans and gifts for the summer ahead, little pails and other candies and mother’s cookies. Our labs eagerly joined in the search and had their share of the goodies.

The Easter Bunny was good to us. Easter Sunday church was always special, the music, the hymns, the glitter of the ladies in their finery and the smell of the ham cooking and the visits with our cousins and aunt and uncle and gramp always made Easter day so very memorable.

When our children Graham and Jenny came along, we would experience the same joy as my parents shared watching Ken and me hunt for the Easter baskets. Dorothy and I tried to duplicate the fun of Easter, occasionally adding a different wrinkle depending on what date Easter fell. If it coincided with the kids’ spring school break, we would load the Cuttysark (My old 26-foot Chris craft skiff), kids, sometimes with their friends, cats and dogs, and head for our beach house for the holiday. After Graham and Jenny were tucked in Easter eve, I would head outside with a basket of eggs that we had dyed together in the afternoon and hide them under the deck, or the overturned rowboat and sunfish, behind posts under the boardwalk or other places on the lots either side of our house. Our dogs raced around the property and helped the kids in their hunt.

Easter is always special no matter where we are, as long as we are together. Since our move to Essex, Connecticut, six years ago, Dorothy and I have always started Easter Sunday at St. John’s Episcopal Church’s beautiful sunrise service held on the grounds of the River Museum at the foot of main street facing the river’s edge.

This year was different. There was not enough time between the end of the sunrise service and the eight o’clock service at St. John’s to go home and change from the cold weather outfit into proper church attire. We also wanted to have a good vantage location to take part in the service and getting there early, we would have our choice of pews.

This service would be very special, and Graham and Paulette, our son and daughter-in- law, and both sets of grandparents eagerly awaited the start of the service seated in the first two pews. I was seated on the aisle of the second pew next to Dorothy.

The organist began and the familiar notes of the stirring hymn, “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today.” As the sounds filled the church, I turned to the back of the church, swelled with pride, and tears appeared at the sight of our beautiful granddaughter Victoria age 12 leading the procession carrying the cross as crucifer, followed by torch bearers, brothers Bradley 13, and Duncan 10. Graham Jr. 15 ½ followed as Gospeler. The first three smiled and winked at me, as they passed on their way to the altar. Graham, Jr. was carrying the Gospel Book and was very serious, staring straight ahead. What a thrill for parents and grandparents alike! I thought of Mom and Dad and how proud they would be.

The part of the service where parishioners are asked to greet each other produced the thrill of a lifetime. I was shaking hands with the gentleman in the pew behind me, when I felt an arm reaching across my back. I turned to see Tory giving me a hug. Brad and Duncan were with her. Graham was helping the minister still on the altar. The other three had come down to give me a hug and greet the rest of the family. I’ll carry that memory with me forever!

Rector Folts remarked that, “now he knew how to get the older parishioners to take seats in the front pews” and mentioned the Rider family fondly.

Easter Sunday was also Dorothy’s 81st birthday. After the church service we read the papers and had breakfast. Daughter Jenny joined us. For Mom’s birthday we drove to Elizabeth’s Restaurant in Madison, CT, for lunch and then Jenny treated us to a great movie “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

At bedtime, we were really tired from all the day’s activities. I searched the TV for something uplifting to watch. Dorothy was fast falling asleep. I found nothing and was about to turn the TV off. I tried one last time and came across the movie “Easter Parade” with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland and fell asleep watching the dancing and listening to the happy music.

The end of a perfect day!

The older I get, the more convinced I become, that family is absolutely THE most important thing in life.


Part Deux: Emotions Highs and Low

Easter, April 5th, was such a sparkling day, one that I had written about, and was waiting to post. The warm memories still brightened my days. April 5th is Dorothy’s birthday.

Two days later, Dorothy and I drove to Evergreen Woods, a Lifetime Care Retirement Community in Branford, CT, for my after-dinner talk about Retirement, highlighting my book, “The Rogue’s Road to Retirement.” Daughter Jenny joined us at dinner and helped Lauren Agnelli, Vibrant Living Director, set me up for the lecture and reading.

The program was well received. A great moment occurred as we were setting up in the auditorium waiting for the audience to appear. One of the first to arrive was a guy about my age, no gray hair and a sprightly stride. He approached me and unzipped a cloth valise as he started to introduce himself. He handed me a framed picture of the 1955 Yale lacrosse team and asked if I recognized any of the players. I started naming the front row and suddenly realized that the one holding the picture was Bill Bunnell. I hadn’t seen or talked with him in 60 years. Along with Jim Rutledge, we were the 2nd midfield on a very good Yale team. Bill lives at Evergreen, knew that I had been invited to speak, and told Lauren that he wanted to surprise me. What icing on the cake for a great evening!

Evergreen’s auditorium is well equipped with a first class sound system stage and podium. I talked for 10 minutes about the book and how it came into being, the therapeutic value of writing, the joy of being published and the elixir of acclimation! I read three short chapters, and then fielded questions with Jenny’s help. We closed with a writing exercise, by asking anyone interested to write a page or two on their very first memory as a child or describe an article on their desk or night table that has a particular significance.

Then one by one the writers who participated read their work aloud to applause. Those who did participate thanked us later for the opportunity.

At the end of the program, I headed for the Men’s room at the back of the auditorium, opened the door and suddenly realized that my mike was still on. Slightly in extremis, I pivoted and caught Jenny’s eye pantomiming my predicament. She went into gales of laughter and proceeded to turn the damned thing off. Thank God!!

Dorothy was sitting a few feet away next to a very sharp lady who turned to her and said, “Tell him not to worry. We won’t listen!!” What a great evening!

The wonderful stretch from Easter Sunday through the Evergreen evening was about to be shattered. Dorothy and I arrived home from Branford still buzzing from the evening. I checked my emails. The second one started, “Sad News From Andover” reporting on the deaths of two wonderful Andover classmates, and football fellow linemen, Hall Higgins and Lloyd Cutting. That was April 7th.

April 8th brought the equally sad news that hometown friend and Yale classmate John Kousi had passed away. (John was Captain of the Yale wrestling team).

Later we learned of the passing of Betty Bevan, a wonderful lady we had met when we moved here 6 years ago. Betty and her husband Bill had become friends from the time of our arrival.

As class secretary of Andover ’51, reporting the deaths of classmates is an onerous task. John Scheiwe acknowledged my email reporting on the death’s of Hal Higgins and Lloyd Cutting with the following reflection, “The sun takes a reasonable time to set, but set it does.”

One other item occupied, those10 days, this one with a happier ending. We finished gathering and assembling the 2014 tax data and mailed the information to our tax accountant 4/1/2015, for delivery 4/3/2015 with tracking number. I called our accountant on the 3rd to make sure that it had arrived as trying to use the tracker on the computer or talk to someone at USPS was impossible. The accountant had not received our package. I called again on the 6th, still no package. I spoke with a gruff local post office manager, who advised that I wait another day. He informed me that in all probability, my tax information had been damaged and that Homeland had ordered the Post Office to shred all mail that was damaged or the address rendered illegible. With this chilling admonition ringing in my ears, and my red hair bringing me to a fast boil, all I could think of then and for several days later was the work Dorothy and I had done chasing down missing 1099’s and all the items needed to complete the 2015 tax forms, all being shredded and how we would have to start from scratch. What a mess!

Our account immediately filed an extension, a pleasant and diligent lady at the local post office worked to trace the errant package. I was still cursing under my breath and steaming at another government agency gone amok. Between the IRS and the USPS I was fast losing hope!!

With the phone calls I was making to retrieve 1099’s, the accountant filing for an extension and Dorothy and I beginning to reassemble documentation for all necessary items needed for filing, and thoughts of our previous labors being mangled in a shreder, my mood changed from Easter eve’s nostalgia and joy to dark thoughts of punitive retribution or worse!

Around noon the following day, Mary Ann from the accounting firm called to say that they had just received our tax documents, “overnighted” on 4/1/2015. The joy of the news was tempered by the aggravation that the delay had caused, but at least there was something to cheer about.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

My rebuttal, “Yes, but on the upside: there’s still always writing, spring and my beloved Black Seal.”

Rogue on the Road!

The Rogue’s Road to Retirement: On The Road…!!!

Hi everyone,

Since the book launch 1/6/2015 we’ve been busy. The first book signing at R.J. Julia was well attended (70+). I spoke about the book and read Chapters 21 (“Love Above All” about Yale high jinx), Chapter 24 (“Dad And The Pewter Tankard” about memories of my dad) and the Epilogue. While wine and snacks were served, I engaged the audience in a writing exercise, asking anyone who wanted to participate to write a 200-word essay about a small antique doll suitcase with ornate carrying straps supplied by daughter Jenny. “What’s inside and where did it come from?” Ten volunteered and later read their stories. Lots of good prose! You can watch the reading here:

On February 13th I was invited to tell the story of “The Rogue” for Channel 8, WTNH, New Haven’s ABC affiliate, for their daily Connecticut Style show, which aired on 2/16. The interviewers were wonderful, and my seven minutes on camera were a great first time experience. The temperature was – 4 when Jenny and I arrived. Brrrrr. Here’s the interview!!

http://wtnh.com/2015/02/16/book-lovers-the-rogues-road-to-retirement/

Dad WTNH

On February 22, financial and retirement blogger extraordinaire Jennie Phipps featured me and The Rogue’s Road in her fantastic retirement blog for Bankrate, which reaches 13 million users every month!

http://www.bankrate.com/financing/retirement/7-tips-for-a-better-old-age/

So far I have been booked for six book signing engagements in March and early April, first I will be reading at the Fairfield University bookstore on March 12th at 1:30pm. On March 15th, I’ll be speaking at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Essex – stay tuned for the exact time. I’m also due to speak to several seniors centers and another bookstore in upcoming weeks.

Thanks to Dorothy and Jenny, all I have to do is show up!! As improbable as writing a book seemed three years ago, this Road has turned into my high-speed expressway. I urge you all to pick up the pen and write your stories, and if you need encouragement, give me a call!

If you’d like to give a review, you can do so at the following websites. I would really appreciate it!

[Click on photo of book cover to go to Amazon page]

http://www.amazon.com/The-Rogues-Road-Retirement-Sixty-Five/dp/1629147664

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rogues-road-to-retirement-george-s-k-rider/1120667858?ean=9781629147666

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20702876-the-rogue-s-road-to-retirement?from_search=true

The Best Is Yet to Come!!

The Rogue!!

8 Day Book Update and News

It has been a busy time at 22 Curiosity Lane. A week ago yesterday 1/31/2015, I had my first book signing at R.J. Julia in Madison, CT. Jenny, Dorothy, Stan and Laurie Pinover, and the staff pitched in, organized and catered a very well-attended event. (More than 70 people in the crowd!!) I spoke a bit and read 3 chapters. Jenny helped conduct a writing exercise with great success.

Jenny reports a firsthand sighting “The Rogue’s Road To Retirement” on the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble in Union Square in NYC, and in Westport, CT. I’m scheduled to be interviewed on ABC’s affiliate in New Haven WTNH later this week. (The piece will be taped — will let you know when it is due to air.) Amazon and Walmart.com (and some Walmart stores) are also stocking the book.

I have five additional signings arranged through March with several more scheduled for later this summer on Long Island. From dead in the water to all ahead flank, this has been a wonderful trip. The best is yet to come.

Many of you have been kind enough to ask how you can help. I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to share your thoughts about the book on the following websites. It helps readers who don’t know anything about The Rogue’s Road to Retirement decide to take the plunge and give it a whirl. If you are moved to review The Rogue in a sentence or two, you can do so at the following links!!!

Amazon website (scroll half-way down page to customer reviews)
http://www.amazon.com/The-Rogues-Road-Retirement-Sixty-Five/dp/1629147664
Barnes & Noble website (scroll half-way down page to customer reviews)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rogues-road-to-retirement-george-s-k-rider/1120667858?ean=9781629147666
Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20702876-the-rogue-s-road-to-retirement?from_search=true

Thanks to all who have helped along the way! I thank you, my family thanks you and Marybeth our cat thanks you!

Best,

George

The Rogue at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, NYC, February 2015

The Rogue at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, NYC, February 2015

The Rogue at Barnes & Noble in Westport, CT Feb. 2015

The Rogue at Barnes & Noble in Westport, CT Feb. 2015

The Rogue Reporting In…!

Hi everyone, hope your 2015 is fun and full of mischief so far. I want to thank you all for being so supportive of the launch of The Rogue’s Road to Retirement. It’s been quite a ride, and we’re just getting started.

Our big news is that I am giving my first reading – our official launch! – next Saturday at the famous R.J. Julia book store in Madison, CT… a wonderful and influential independent bookstore in the area. Please come, one and all, if you can. The reading starts at 2pm on 1/31. Please RSVP at the following link, as we will be having a reception (wine will be served!) and want to make sure we have ample adult beverages at hand. http://www.rjjulia.com/event/george-rider-rogues-road-retirement

The book is also starting to get covered by the media. The Hartford Courant had a nice mention this week:
http://www.courant.com/features/hc-write-stuff-0125-20150125-story.html#page=1

And our great local paper The Shoreline Times interviewed me. Stay tuned… I’ll send the article around when it’s out.

We’ve had some terrific reader reviews on The Rogue’s Amazon.com page. Here are the latest two:

“I guess I should quit whining and start wineing! This book gives me something to look forward to, fun and moving, kind of what I hope I am when I hit George’s age!” – Michael W. Morse

“George’s positive attitude is contagious. He shares his experiences with a perfect balance between wisdom and wit.” – Bob

If you’d like to give a review, you can do so at the following websites. Much appreciated!

Link to Amazon page

http://www.amazon.com/The-Rogues-Road-Retirement-Sixty-Five/dp/1629147664

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rogues-road-to-retirement-george-s-k-rider/1120667858?ean=9781629147666

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20702876-the-rogue-s-road-to-retirement?from_search=true

The Rogue is also out and about on social media. Thanks to everyone for “liking” the book’s Facebook page. We have almost 350 followers. Yeah! And I’ve learned to tweet! Who knew? You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Woof!

But perhaps the most fulfilling part of this whole experience is the opportunity it’s given me to reconnect with so many friends from so many different periods of my life. Thank you so much for your support – I am overwhelmed by the calls and emails I’ve received wishing me luck with The Rogue’s Road and cheering me on. I sincerely hope that I can help you as you pursue your big dreams as much as you’ve helped me… one thing I’ve learned at this time in my life is this: seize the day and go for it. I’m living proof you can make any crazy pipedream come true if you have the right attitude, an extraordinarily patient wife and family, and a great escape hatch (thank you, Black Seal!).

Enjoy your weekend and THANK YOU, The Rogue!

Launch Day!!

A book is born!! The Rogue’s Road To Retirement officially launches today. Ta-Dah! How exciting. I got out of bed this morning at 5:30 AM. The house was like a mausoleum. The temperature outside was a bone-chilling 12 degrees.

I moved quickly to my freezing office, turning on lights and cranking the heat way up. Thank God for my extra heavy robe and slippers. I’ve been waiting for this day to dawn since July 2013.

I fully expected that I would look out my office window to see a stretch limo in our driveway parked and ready to whisk me to New York in time for breakfast with my editors and the publisher, followed by the mid-town ticker tape parade with open touring cars for me and all the other authors who share the same launch date. I even envisioned the brass band and the Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleaders prancing behind, while overhead two Piper Cubs were flying trailing signs with my book title emblazoned on both sides.

Was I expecting too much? Who me?

It’s now 8:19. No limo! Not even an email. Dorothy just refilled my coffee cup. Jenny’s arrived to help set up some media interviews later in the week. The morning’s been quiet, but it’s still one of the best days of my life – and I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me get here. (Thank you, you know who you are!) Now I’m going back to bed for while, for a long winter’s nap. The fireworks and hoopla will have to wait for a while – this Rogue has had enough excitement for one day!

Thanks! George



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