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Alabama won in Tiger Stadium in 2012, but the stadium now seats over 102,300 fans, about 9,000 more than Tide's last trip there. (LSU photo/Steve Franz) <a href=>cheap oakleys</a> �Essays After Eighty� by Donald Hall. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston/New York, 2014. 144 pages. $22.When a friend told me she decided not to buy poet and essayist Donald Hall�s �Essays After Eighty� for her 80-something-year-old father for Christmas, I asked why.�Too close to the bone,� she said about the essays that come at aging from all angles, from all moods and all seasons in northern New England.Perhaps she should have taken the risk. Hall, the U.S. poet laureate in 2006-07, lives, writes and grows older at his New Hampshire family homestead. From his sitting chair at the window, he lays out the writer�s life with insight, an undiminished supply of smart sentences, no small slathering of wit, and respectable sobriety when the occasion warrants.Though Hall, in his mid-�80s, has some years on me, I have once again been welcomed home by this writer. Can a book be a home? Yes, when it gives you an education, cheers you at just the right moments and talks to you with respect and clarity. For some people, books provide the material needed for informed maturation throughout life.And, yes, �Essays After Eighty� is close to the bone. But many will thank Hall for telling us what, precisely, aging looks like and, even, what it can be if we reflect with wit and grace. And do not discount the importance of amusing ourselves. When you read Hall, you cannot help but think that he is his own best audience.Because of this book, we see the things that fall away as we, more specifically Hall, ages � from access to upstairs rooms to the cane incrementally replaced by the wheelchair to the home-cooked meals to the certitude of the toilet�s precise location. Thank goodness for Stouffer�s. For neighbors and friends. For the fire department that twice had to extinguish a fire ignited by a cigarette in Hall�s blue reading chair.As the world view grows more circumscribed, it can attain sharper focus. The cow barn that once sheltered milking cows is now �a barn for looking at� � something Hall does every single day from his chair.�Out the Window� is an essay full of observation, physical and otherwise. �When we turn 80, we understand that we are extraterrestrial,� he writes. And people can be condescending.A museum guard once asked him how he liked his �din-din.� Personal essays, so good for rapt reading, are also good for commiseration. Who among friends admits these petty (sadly universal) degradations?Every essay is worthy of your time. The title essay is a must-read for writers. Hall�s essays undergo 30 to 80 revisions before he lets one go. He has abandoned writing poetry, his passion, because he�s lost what was propelled from his �brain-depths� by testosterone�s thrust.Page 2 of 3 - In this essay, he mentions the need for contrast. In many cases in the personal essay form, that contrast is personal revelation of an unsavory sort. A good essayist like Hall, though he may no longer have the physical balance to stand at the top of the stairs, can still balance character and conflict and come out unscathed.We do learn a few unsavory things. Hall smokes, despite two major bouts with cancer early on. And he�s honest about the way cigarettes impair the quality of life for him and those around him. The rug at the foot of his gazing chair and surrounding books show signs of scorching. He has dropped many a burning cigarette. In one case, it led to a car accident; in another, to the chair fire mentioned earlier.Hall has an awareness of his physical self that follows him through these essays. In �A Yeti in the Distance� he writes of �life�s widest smile� after receiving an award from President Barack Obama. He also writes of Ken Burn�s image of him looking wide-mouthed and stupefied.In �Three Beards,� we learn that each of his bearded stages was instigated by a woman. It�s worth noting that the cover of the book features a close-up of Hall that is brilliant in both composition and in what it captures in the man�s face and eyes. It becomes our companion as we read.In �One Road,� which talks about a European road trip he takes with his young wife, Hall reminds us that we �divorce for the same reasons we marry.� What drew him to his first wife later fueled the animus. Hall writes frequently of his second and beloved wife, Jan Kenyon, the poet.While Hall was undergoing chemotherapy for liver cancer, she was diagnosed with leukemia and died 15 months later. They lived together happily on the family farm in Wilmot, New Hampshire. Kenyon�s poetry, ventures Hall, may survive when other poets� work has not.This collection considers life lived from Hall�s perspective in his reading chair. Hall writes that he rather enjoys looking at the art in museums from a wheelchair. It�s different, but the perspective has value. His life view from his reading chair is also worthy, for it is a serene and contemplative place where Hall has joined fully with self.It�s not just the past that interests Hall as he gazes outward and inward simultaneously. He�s seeing life lived in the more acute stages of old age, when decline hastens and gathers a certain undeniable momentum.I�m grateful that this �extraterrestrial� had the poetry in him to flavor the sometimes sobering words in such a way as to make them not just palatable but rich and entertaining. This offering is more friend, more home than it is pages in a book.Page 3 of 3 - Rae Padilla Francoeur�s memoir, �Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair,� is available online or in some bookstores. Write her at Read her blog at or follow her on Twitter at @RaeAF. r <a href=>oakley sunglasses</a>
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FEMENIL <a href=>oakley glasses</a> As I have indicated before, I grew up on a farm in west Texas. We had a variety of crops and animals, including a small herd of cattle. A large portion of our land was sewn in rye and vetch, or Hairy Vetch to be exact. The rye stalks acted somewhat as a trellis that the vetch vines could grow on. They rye also was a grain, while the vetch was a rich legume. Together, they provided good pasture grazing as well as good hay at the end of the season. In order to manage that crop well, we rigged up electric fences that could be easily moved. That way, we could rotate where the cattle grazed and not wear one spot out. The electric fences worked rather well, with the exception of one red cow. At times, this particular cow would decide that the grazing on the other side of the electric fence looked more appetizing. So, she would run through the fence in order to get to the better stuff. Now, here is the way that she would do it. Although she seemed to know what would happen if she went through the fence, that did not stop her. She would nose up to the fence, lower her head, pin back her ears, and begin to bawl. Mooooooooooo! she would cry, and then, while still bawling loudly, she would charge the fence. Of course two things would happen. She would experience an electrical shock, and she would tear down the fence. With the fence down, the other cows would soon join her on the other side, blowing our land management plan to pieces. After she had gone through this routine a number of times, my dad said, We just can t have this. So, he went to town and bought a stronger electric fence charger. It took a few days, but the old red cow was bound to test it. Sure enough, she lowered her head, backed her ears, and began to bawl. Then, through the fence she went. Well, maybe she just doesn t see the fence, my father wondered. After all, it is just one thin single strand of wire. So, my father had my brother and me tear up some old T-shirts and tie white strips of cloth onto the fence, hoping that would help this cow see that, indeed, the fence was still there. It made no difference. A few days later, the same thing. Head down, ears back, moo, and through the fence she went. Page 2 of 3 - Gotta get a stronger fence, my dad observed. So, off he went to the farm and ranch store again. Now, the fence charger he brought back this time was the super-duper deluxe, high voltage, low amp version the strongest fence charger known to man. This ll flat out knock her off her feet, the man at the feed store advised us. It ll only take one time, and she ll be cured. Well, he was right about the first part. It did literally knock her off her feet. She lay there awhile as if to say, Huh that was different. However, she then got up and went to grazing as if nothing had happened. The next day, she did it again. Head down. Ears back. Bellowing loudly. And straight through the fence. Knocked her to the ground again. Then, she got up and started grazing. Next thing I knew, my father was loading that old red heifer into the trailer. I understand she brought a pretty good price at the auction barn. Now, my brother-in-law Tony had a different result with his Doberman Pincher, Roke. Roke liked to climb over the backyard fence and into the neighbor s yard. My brother-in-law decided to teach him a lesson by hooking up an electric fence wire along the boundary fence. One evening late, his family heard a blood curdling howl. Roke had encroached upon the electric fence. They ran outside to find Roke cowering on the opposite side of the back yard from where the electric monster had struck him. A look of fear and bewilderment was on his face. Roke never approached that fence again. Now, the meaning of Roke s existence was bound up in playing fetch with a tennis ball. He would do that for hours and hours. Every now and then, though, Tony would throw the ball close to the electric fence. At that point, Roke would stop, stare at the ball, then stare at my brother-in-law as if to say, You want me to what? Are you crazy? I am not going anywhere near that zapping, shocking monster-in-the-fence thing. He wouldn t budge until someone else retrieved the ball. Now, there is a difference in these two animals. Roke learned from his experience, while the cow did not. We humans are much the same way. Often, we keep trying the same things over and over thinking that things will be better next time. As someone said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Page 3 of 3 - So many people suffer under the delusion that they really do not need God. They believe they can be good enough, smart enough, and work hard enough to come out O.K. in the end. I mean, how many times have you heard it said, If you are good, you will go to heaven when you die. The Bible doesn t teach that. The Bible tells us none of us can ever be good enough. We need God. We need Jesus Christ to send his spirit to dwell in us so that we may have power to be made good, not by our own goodness, but by His. To continue under the delusion that our self-sufficient independence, along with all of its seeming successes, makes us spiritually fit, is to be no better off than the cow continuing to run through the fence, hoping that everything will be alright this time. (The Rev. Al Henager is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Heber Springs, Arkansas. He can be contacted at
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