There is no question about it: the snow and ice hanging on every branch, twig and other appendage is winter wonderland gorgeous! And that would be perfect if we had nothing else to do but play dominoes, eat leftovers and make coffee on the wood stove.

But then all of you, who share with us this lovely New England weather, know these things. I am going down and hook up our 5KW generator and pretend life is normal for a while. Power has been off and on all night and promises to keep that up today. I’ll gas up, hook up the cable, throw the proper switches and crank it up. I love electricity, even if I have to make it myself.

There are other things to do: snow/ice to remove and just for good measure, wood to bring in from the shed. All the while, the temperature is rising slowly. I hope, I hope, I hope.

These are unimaginable times. Yet, unfortunately, the unimaginable is our reality. The thought sends the mind into a paroxysm of despair.

We have a president who has no experience in government, yet who thinks he knows it all. He demonstrates his ignorance several times a day and blames others for his problems. The courts are incompetent or have the wrong ethnic heritage when they do not rule in his favor. He’ll take the courts to court. The press is the opposition because they report what’s going on. His ersatz press secretary tells the press to shut up. Another of his spokespersons admonishes us to look into his heart for the real truth and stop paying so much attention to what he actually says. That’s got to be a prize winner. He is nominating cabinet level people who are on record opposing the very function of the agencies they are to manage. These are the very people these agencies were created to protect us from. Am I missing something?

And he lies. He seems to think that if you say something that is obviously a lie often enough the people will begin to believe it to be the truth. If you say all politicians lie you miss the point. His performance is at the unimaginable level. Dare I suggest pathological?

His pouty mouth scowl, I imagine, is designed to give the impression of power and authority when in fact it more resembles a child whose favorite toy has been confiscated until he eats his greens.

It’s hard to keep up with his antics. He uses social media like a barely post pubescent adolescent starving for attention. Is this a management style?

At least he has learned one cardinal rule of power: if you want some hair brained idea to float high on the political tide, just say it’s a matter of national security. Keep out the Mexican rapists and dope dealers. It’s a matter of national security – build a wall. Need oil for national security? Build a pipeline to carry the dirtiest most corrosive crude on the planet across the entire country, threatening the environment and delivering another slap to the already decimated face of Native America. Beef up the National Security Council? Absolutely! Get rid of the Joint Chiefs – I mean, what do those guys know? Then install a known racist, anti-Semite, white supremacist whose stated purpose is to destroy every American institution. This is supposed to make us feel more secure as a nation?

Then, let’s ban Muslims until we can regain our grip on things? It’s hard to put a tag on this one. If you have a working TV set, you know the chaos this caused. One has to wonder what he is doing off camera while all eyes are focused on the thousands of lives so callously disrupted. You don’t think he could be that devious, do you?

I wonder – has anyone thought of the benefits of banning radical Christians? You know the ones – they want to become the national religion of America. The American Taliban. In God We Trust! What a joke. Talk about a threat to national security.

I told you – these are unimaginable times.

An old friend sent me a link to a Roger Angell piece about growing old (he’s 93) from the New Yorker. I read it slowly and with a Kleenex box at the ready. In a moment of grandiosity my friend suggested that I might have written that, or something like it. There’s no way I could have done that, even though I could say “Amen!” after every line.

The most stabbing part of the essay was when he spoke of outliving so many people. This is a condition that sort of creeps up on you. You discover it when in some midnight hour you decide to find “old Joe” with whom you palled around with in high school and find that he died in Korea or succumbed to the big “C” a few years ago. If only you had known …

Angell lives in an apartment in Manhattan and talks of a large support community leaving cooked chickens at his door and here I am living in the lap of paradise – knowing dozens of people while hardly ever seeing anyone. I cook my own chickens, thank you very much!

It’s mostly my fault – not seeing people as much as I think I should be seeing people. I am not the conversational dynamo I once was. Being essentially deaf sort of puts a damper on conversation and rips the heart out of the desire to be around people in the first place.

I always wonder if anything I say is relevant to the on-going conversation. There have been times when I enter into a conversation only to be greeted by a stunned silence. Not because I have uttered some profound titbit of eternal wisdom but rather the unspoken response is more like, “What the fuck are you talking about!”?

I have a new bionic ear now that promises to deal with this condition and in fact it is working quite well. I feel very fortunate to have this technology available to me. I am more likely now to be able to keep up with conversations. It’s a work in progress – a process with which I am quite familiar.

One of my fantasies is being a part of a group of older guys who have breakfast somewhere every month or so to just be there and talk about stuff we all remember. I have an old friend out west who meets six or seven retired army and air force guys at McDonalds for 50¢ senior coffee. I’d pay more for better coffee, myself. I’d pay a lot more for better ambience. There was a time 50 years ago when I was in the clutches of purpose and calling that there was a small group of ministers who managed to have warm and supportive relationships with each other. We golfed, lunched and hung out. Of course, when I bailed out of the crusade, that was that.

There is today in Baton Rouge a group of my old high school buddies – all retired engineers – who meet monthly. I am in touch with one of the group who tells me that now and then I am mentioned. It’s a strange feeling, but I like it.

I’ve stopped trying to find old friends from long ago. It’s a dead issue – no pun intended. I have lots of live friends, albeit mostly the age of my children. Even so, we don’t see each other enough. What’s enough? It’s what it is.

The take-a-way from all this is this: Be in your life. Don’t think about it – live it.

Now if I can just remember to do that.