Cigar Buddies

cigarbuddies

People, A Photographer’s Perspective by Henry Barnard

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Grocery Store Checkout Line

When you are into nutritious, plant-based eating, you can’t help but take a peek at what foods other people in the checkout line are buying.  I was really shocked today when I observed what this old man who was just in front of me was buying.  There were no vegetables or fruit at all — zero, none.  He bought a large amount of soda — a six pack of sugared Coke and a dozen of those little bottles of diet Ginger Ale.  There were two large bottles of wine, a loaf of white bread, a quart of ice cream, and a package of chocolates that claimed to contain some peanut butter.  That was it.

The man was only slightly overweight but somewhat stooped, possibly from early onset osteoporosis; his skin was splotchy with rashes on the face; and his thinning hair was lack luster with large clumps of hair missing in odd places on his scalp.

My analysis from the content of these groceries is that he is at least a moderate alcoholic with the purchase of not one but two large bottles of wine — why the need for an extra bottle?  That he buys so much soda indicates that he drinks enough wine to give him serious dehydration, so that he needs all that soda in order to stay hydrated.

A diet based on white bread, ice cream, and candy, albeit with some peanut butter in the candy, is definitely a one-way ticket to anemia, possibly chronic anemia.  The anemia would explain the poor condition of his skin as well as his irregular hair loss.  The fatigue he would feel from chronic anemia as a result of this minimal nutrition would reinforce his alcoholism as an escape — as would resorting to eating ice cream and candy.  Basically, with such low energy from this terrible diet, he may feel so overwhelmed physically that he resorts to alcohol, ice cream and candy as compensation in order to cope.

Clearly, based on this diet alone, the man knows absolutely nothing about nutrition, and so doesn’t realize what he is doing to himself with such an egregious diet.  Here’s a case were ignorance isn’t bliss.

His prognosis: obviously liver disease would be in the cards, but the diet has virtually no anti-oxidants or any of the other cancer-fighting nutrients that one would get from a well-balanced diet, so tumor growth is predictable.  Without much calcium or vitamin D in his diet, his mild osteoporosis, at his age, could accelerate rapidly.

All of the above is because he is completely ignorant about food — what you don’t know can kill you.

Alcoholism

Anemia

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“…By Every Service Which Thou Renderest”

When you arrive in your 70’s and have a few dollars put away, what are you supposed to do with the rest of your life?  The obvious answer is dedicate yourself to the welfare of others — your immediate family certainly, but also your community, your state, your country, and humanity at large.  Use what resources you have left to benefit others, not just yourself.  The old adage is, “You can’t take it with you,” so why not use your assets and the time you have left for the benefit of your fellow man?

In her A Drama of Exile, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense of service which thou renderest.”  One is reminded of the transformation that takes place in the character and personality of Scrooge in Charles Dickins’s A Christmas Carol when Scrooge begins to live for the sake and benefit of others.

And yet how few in old age every make such a commitment to dedicate the rest of their lives for the benefit of others.

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Windows to the Soul

Old age —
The sunken eyes, the knotted brow,
A bony body chained in a cage
Limps about like a withered sow.

You have seen the years fly away,
And friends and lovers no longer attend,
But memories, they abound and stay.
Your reckoning? Not a merry end.

Youth’s beauty has long since gone,
Yet your eyes, they still dance to song!
So a furtive sparkle still appears
In this ancient face despite the years.

All Poetry — Henry Barnard

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Welcome Mr. Death

Now the leaves, relentless, fast decay,
And memory grows dimmer day by day.
Old age seeps into joints and sinews furtively.
Shedding white hair grows tousled unbecomingly.

All your dreams long since past…
Purpose seems a bloated outcast.
Hope and aspirations retarded;
Fleeting time, spent, never recovered.

The young fear Mr. Death —
Not to be cheated of their experience,
But the old have had their time,
So, for them, he may be kind.

All Poetry — Henry Barnard

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A Twinkle in His Eye

Springtime.

A solitary old man sits on a bench,
His cane resting at his side,
His doleful eyes glance about the park,
But, restless, do not dwell for long.

Then he hears children playing with a beach ball,
And turns to see them standing in a circle.
The ball darts back and forth between them,
Kept from touching the ground – the challenge.
Their voices excited, laughing, shouting, urgent, gay –
Merriment of youth.

A tall girl hits the ball with a tight fist.
But it shoots straight up and gets snagged by branches —
The ball now suspended and out of reach.
Squeals of excitement and angst from the children
Proclaim their predicament.

A smile flickers across the old man’s face…
A twinkle in his eye.

All Poetry — Henry Barnard

My Story

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