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Ffor as long as I have known my niece and her husband they have yearned to have a summer home in York. Last spring they finally had the opportunity to buy a summer cottage on Norton Avenue, near the beach. They were thrilled, even though the cottage needed a lot of work.

They bought it with everything included: furniture, rugs, beds and a massive amount of junk. My wife and I shared their excitement by taking a bottle of champagne over to crack amidst the cobwebs. Despite the mess, my niece Kelly was thrilled with her new summer home. We shared her awe as she sifted through the massive amount of junk that included everything from 1950’s vintage cat ornaments to books that hadn’t been opened since the Eisenhower administration.

An old box in the corner of the den caught my wife’s eye and as she rummaged through it she picked out a set of cream colored ginger jars. The reason she called them ginger jars was that each one bore a picture of a ginger plant. They must have been 50 years old and were in odd sizes, ranging from the size of a peanut butter jar to a big cookie jar. My wife asked Kelly if she wanted to get rid of them and Kelly told her the sooner they got rid of all the accumulated junk, the faster they could move in. Plus, who would want a bunch of old jars anyway? Apparently she’d been trying to give them away for days, without success.

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Tthe older we get the more routine life seems to become – until mortality jumps out at us and throws everything into chaos. This happened to our family a few weeks ago after my father had his second heart attack and, for a few days, we were forced to confront the worse. My cozy, organized little life was turned upside down.

As I watched my father in his hospital bed, resting with wires protruding from his chest and arms, I remembered how much my life revolved around his. I couldn’t say what my first memory of my father was because he was always part of my life but one of my fondest memories of him was when he took my two sisters and me to the drive-in theater. This semi-weekly event was anticipated by all of us because it represented a family bond that we all still have to this day.

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Aa former President of the United States and myself had a lot in common. It seems we had both been made the butt of a national joke. I guess our wives must watch the same TV shows or read the same women’s magazines. Ever since Katie Couric’s husband died of colon cancer my wife has been nagging me to have a colonoscopy.

It seems to have taken hold of the national psyche as an essential medical procedure more common than the traditional appendectomy or the extraction of wisdom teeth. This particular test is most popular with those of us who have made it over the 50-year hump. It also is said to have the capacity to allow one to drop a pound or two. My wife started to plague me about taking the test right after my 50th birthday. She kept on telling me that I needed a 50,000-mile checkup. I took this as a compliment because I figured she wanted to keep me around for a few more miles.

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