spoons1What is it that makes me just a little bit queasy?
There’s a breeze that makes my breathing not so easy
I’ve had my lungs checked out with X rays
I’ve smelled the hospital hallways

Maybe if I could do a play-by-playback
I could change the test results that I will get back
I’ve watched the summer evenings pass by
I’ve heard the rattle in my bronchi…

Someday I’ll have a disappearing hairline
Someday I’ll wear pajamas in the daytime…

Afternoons will be measured out
Measured out, measured with
Coffee spoons and T.S. Eliot

Paul loves that Crash Test Dummy’s song.


He had no idea that today’s talk would be to a geriatric chorus that would be right at home singing that song. He expected an older group at this “Food for Thought” meeting at a local Temple. After all he knew his book appealed most to old Jews who could identify; he had done two similar talks in the spring, but when the first octogenarian came into the room and asked him how much lunch would be, he had a feeling.


About 30 chairs had been set up with tables on the side for the post talk lunch that was to be served. Five minutes before the talk was supposed to begin, eight wheelchairs and walkers outnumbered the six members of the audience. By the time the young Rabbi introduced him the number of wheelchairs and walkers was only 40 % of the audience of 10. He gauged the average age as 85.


As he looked out at what could have been an assisted living activity room, he hoped he would not have to use his CPR skills, or that a 911 call would not stop him in his tracks. But he went onward. It didn’t take more than 30 seconds for the first question to be raised.


“Is your name really Paul Gordon? I know three other people by that name, including my grandson.” “Thank you, Mam,” Paul replied, “but it was changed to Gordon by my father, from Grodowski, which was my grandfather’s last name.”


About three sentences later the oldest appearing person in the room, who introduced himself as, “David, and I am a WW2 veteran”, shouted out “what college” when Paul mentioned the word.

Paul was happy no one feel asleep although he could see one woman was fighting it. Eyes were mostly bright and curious. Heads affirmatively nodded. There was less laughter at what lines he thought would get at least some, but in general they were politely attentive. As Paul predicted to himself, there would be no more questions.  At the talk’s end, there was, instead, a polite thank you from a woman who seemed to be their spokesperson… followed by nodding heads.


Only one woman came up to him and purchased two of his books. The Rabbi reappeared and led the group in a rendition of Happy birthday to one of the younger looking women. They then shuffled to the side of the room where the soft, precut, half sandwiches were located, sat down, and ate as if Paul was gone.  He grabbed half a sandwich and chatted at a separate table with the Rabbi.


Before he left, Paul went to the birthday girl’s table. He told her she looked no more than 55. She responded that she was actually 99. Paul couldn’t believe it. He thought she was maybe 75 tops. He looked for confirmation and he got it.


She was indeed 99. She told a story that a plastic surgeon wanted to have her come see him to put lines ON her face. They all laughed….


It was, after all, now …


An afternoon being measured out,
Measured out, measured with
Coffee spoons and T.S. Eliot