As a youngster growing up in Muskegon, I was a big Joe Louis fan. Black men were not allowed to play most professional sports, so the Brown Bomber was one black athlete man that white kids could admire. And it didn’t hurt that I was born in Detroit.

My parents were reared during the Great Depression. Their families believed in hard work, personal responsibility and the value of a dollar – values I’m grateful they impressed strongly on their children. They did very well.

Recently Ruth and I were celebrating the high school graduation of a good neighbor and had gravitated toward a cluster of the older generation at the event. As often happens when members of the Medicare set get together, the conversation quickly deteriorated into an organ recital. Each of us, in turn, regaled the others with stories of surgery, medications, consultations, tests, and loss of function, to be met with appropriate expressions of sympathy, clucking of tongues, smiles, and guffaws.

The Area Agency on Aging is formally advised by a number of wise people. One of them, a retired physician, approached me after an Advisory Council meeting. He said it had been a good meeting, but I needed to know that his mind couldn’t compute as quickly as it once did and that the staff had a tendency to get enthused and talk rather fast. When they did - he couldn’t follow. Maybe we could slow down our speech a little he suggested. A reality check - I was so glad he’d said something.

Back in the '40s, when I was growing up in Muskegon, there were two ways that my family used to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Detroit. The first was the family car, which my dad preferred. He would pile Mom, my sister and me in our old Chevy, and then embark on a grueling, and sometimes harrowing, six-hour trip on two-lane U.S. 16, with one stop around halfway. We all dreaded it.

A recent article in the New York Times by Abigail Zuger highlighted a new book entitled “My Mother, Your Mother” by Dennis McCullough, a family physician and geriatrician at Dartmouth Medical School. Zuger draws a parallel between the Slow Food movement and what McCullough sees as a need for Slow Medicine.
Slow Food is an international movement diametrically opposite of fast food, emphasizing slow, convivial and deliberate meals using natural or indigenous foods. We have a wonderful chapter here in southwest Michigan.

Immigration will prove to be a national concern in the upcoming election, with almost every state feeling its impact. But down in Arizona, the national concern about immigration is at a fever pitch, and the trends for the rest of the nation are clear.

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