GR issues 2007 to present
Voices Of Experience
Being Older Doesn’t Mean Being Old; Shadows; Fog


I think it’s true of most people reaching that certain age known as ‘elderly’ that what is happening on the exterior is not necessarily happening on the interior. We've heard it said that we are as young as we think, which seems to imply that if we think young we will feel young.

My experience seems to bear that out, and while that might be attributed to exercising daily, eating well and living a relatively stress–free existence, my feeling is that not letting one’s mind stagnate plays a great part in staying youthful.

Considering my own case, I remain as active as I ever did, meeting newspaper and magazine deadlines for a column that my wife and I have been doing for over thirty years. Beyond that, I continue writing short stories and poems, and I remain engaged on a novel that, in today’s rather dismal publishing environment, may or may not find a publisher. However, taking inspiration from the multitude of writers, artists, statesmen and thinkers who have preceded me and who never stopped looking forward, I concede nothing and rise to the challenge. In short, my suggestions would be these:
  • Eat well
  • Exercise daily
  • Laugh at your foibles
  • Listen to good music
  • Have love in your heart
  • And avoid body piercing and tattoos


Like the music of the waves we hear upon the shore,
like the silence of mellowed winds
which whip the blowing grass,
our softwhispered voices still stun the evening sky
like new sands spilling downward in an hourglass,
filling quietly again
each of those measured hollows of our past.

And the wind, though gone, still scatters the clouds,
while the silkwonder of the milkweed moves on.


This moving in and bubbling in from the mouth of the sea
swirls and curls in the glove-velvet hands of night
which reach and pull their bundles
from the blowing up steam below.

There is a thought of courage and there is the smell of
in the rank-stinking way the sky moves
as it scatters about the inside odours of seaweed and crab
and the perfume of clams long gone from their shells.

There is the feeling of today, and of deep-lived
beneath the soft-moving chill of moon bare skies
which have run over the pine and the cypress groves
to scent the air
and distil it.

And always, there is that knowledge of tomorrow
wrapped snug
in the same quiet hands which hold to day,
where death and love move sweet-cautiously together
in the winding and weaving
of a single life.

JohnA teacher, novelist, poet and the co-author with his wife of over fifty books dealing with idioms, John Bell Smithback's interest in words and word origins began when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Southern California in the United States where he majored in English and Comparative Literature. He began his teaching career in Mexico, and it was while instructing English as a Foreign Language that he became aware of the important role idioms play in the understanding of a language, and particularly in English. It was at that time that he began writing down and recording these remarkable terms, words and phrases, a practice that would ultimately occupy his life and become his profession. His initiCYal books on the subject of idioms were published by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, illustrated by his wife, Ching Yee. They met in one of his advancedEnglish classes while she was taking courses at the University in preparation for future studies abroad. She had recently graduated with a degree in Nursing but felt, she said, that her English "needed some brushing up."

Their initial books -- entitled IDIOM-MAGIC -- met with immediate success and changed the course of their lives. They soon created a daily newspaper column designed to explain English idioms. Aimed principally at students who were learning English as a Second Language, it wasn't long before the column was of interest to nearly everyone - including native speakers - curious to know more about these odd and sometimes curious constructions within our language.  To learn more, visit www.idiom-magic.com

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