A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-35

A tragedy

After two days of a beautiful full pond and a spouting fountain, Thursday morning, on my early walk, I crossed the street to the corner of the pond where I always look at my bullfrog. He hides in the tall grasses on the side, just where the water rounds at the top of the pond; his body in the water, his big head sticking out. In the mornings he is silent, but wait till it gets dark- he is the one that sings the loudest. I was shocked to see the pond back to the lowest level, dam in the middle, the fountain dead. But what caused me to cry out was that I watched Larry, the big hawk that lives in this neighborhood, rise up with my bullfrog dangling from his beak and fly away right in front of my eyes to the tree-line in the cut-de-sac. Looking down, I noticed the five feet or so of mud along the water, and in the mud tracks of the scramble that must have gone on just before I got there. Had I been three minutes earlier, I could have screamed and scare Larry away. Now, alas, I could cry!

A celebration 

Last Friday, we celebrated Mike’s birthday in a wonderful way. The morning went by quickly with opening gifts and cards that had come in the mail, phone calls throughout the day, and at 5:00 p.m. we drove to our son’s house to celebrate with the family and enjoy a Thai dinner. It was, for Mike the first time off campus since the beginning of March. We saw the grandkids, all three growing fast into tall young men, and except for eating and drinking, we all wore our masks and kept at a distance. After dinner they hosted a Zoom program on their laptop and we could see and talk to the kids and grandkids in California and Canada as well. A wonderful reunion, which made all of us look forward to next summer, when we hope to have a real reunion with Covid gone.

More tragedies

On Sunday afternoon we heard that one very good friend in Assisted Living had passed away; another good friend, in Independent Living, had gone from hospital to Rehab and is now in a Hospice home, where her husband, recently released from the hospital and Rehab, and their daughter could visit her together. There are about 24 vacant apartments and one vacant cottage right now, management is struggling with employees who are leaving and no replacements coming in; the quality of the food is below par, not what we were used to in the first year we were here. All in all, a lot is caused by the Covid virus, but it makes me thankful for the good quality of life we still have. We celebrate every day together, we make the most of what we have and what we get, and we hope that the Covid will be a thing of the past soon.

September 2, 1945

Yesterday, a friend sent me the following message and I could not help laughing. Interesting information, not known to many I think, at least I did not know about it.


Why did the US choose a US Navy Iowa-class battleship as the location for Japan’s surrender in World War 2 even though they were in Tokyo Bay and could have used a building on land? Pure symbolism. Nothing says “you’re utterly defeated” than having to board the enemy’s massive battleship in the waters of your own capital city. A naval vessel is considered sovereign territory for the purposes of accepting a surrender. You just don’t get that if you borrow a ceremonial space from the host country. In addition, the Navy originally wanted the USS South Dakota to be the surrender site. It was President Truman who changed it to USS Missouri, Missouri being Truman’s home state. The Japanese delegation had to travel across water to the Missouri, which sat at the center of a huge US fleet. It’s a bit like those movie scenes where someone enters a big-wig’s office, and the big-wig is sitting silhouetted at the end of a long room, behind a massive desk. The appellant has to walk all the way to that desk along a featureless space, feeling small, exposed, vulnerable and comparatively worthless before the mogul enthroned in dramatic lighting before him. By the time he gets there the great speech he had prepared is reduced to a muttered sentence or two.

In addition, the USS Missouri flew the flag of Commodore Perry’s 19th century gun-boat diplomacy mission that opened the closeted Edo-era Japan to the world and forced upon them the Meiji restoration which ended the rule of the samurai class. The symbolism here is pretty clear – “this is how we want you to be, and remember what happens to countries that defy us.” It was particularly humiliating for a proud country like Japan, and that was entirely the point. The symbolism of the ceremony was even greater than that. The ship was anchored at the precise latitude/longitude recorded in Perry’s log during his 1845 visit, symbolizing the purpose of both visits to open Japan to the West. Perry’s original flag was also present, having been flown all the way from the Naval Academy for the ceremony.

When the Japanese delegation came aboard, they were forced to use an accommodation way (stairs) situated just forward of turret #1. The freeboard (distance between the ship’s deck and the water line) there makes the climb about twice as long as if it had been set up farther aft, where the freeboard of the ship is less. NOTE: This was even more of an issue for the Japanese surrender party as the senior member, Foreign Affairs Minister Shigemitsu, was crippled by an assassination attempt in 1932, losing his right leg in the process.

The #1 and #2 turrets had been traversed about 20 degrees to starboard. The ostensible reason for this was to get the turret overhangs out of the way to create more room for the ceremony on the starboard veranda deck, but in fact this would have only required traversing turret #2 had it been the real reason. However, the turret position also put the gun tubes directly over the heads of the Japanese. They were literally boarding the ship “under the gun”.

The honor guard of US sailors (side boys) were all hand-picked to be over six feet tall, a further intimidation of the short-stature Japanese. The surrender documents themselves, one copy for the Allies and one for the Japanese contained identical English-language texts, but the Allied copy was bound in good quality leather, while the Japanese copy was bound with light canvas whose stitching looked like it had been done by a drunken tailor using kite string.

After the signing ceremony, the Japanese delegation was not invited for tea and cookies; they were shuffled off the ship as an Allied air armada of over 400 aircraft flew overhead as a final reminder that American forces still had the ability to continue fighting should the Japanese have second thoughts on surrender.

Thanks to all the heroes who fought for our freedom!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time



3 thoughts on “A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-35”

  1. Thank you Ronny for the info about the official surrender. We knew most of it but learned a couple of things, too. We will celebrate, as Terry and I always do, on VJ Day on
    September 2nd.

    Our Oregon governor has postponed all celebrations on that day because of COVID. Part of the celebrations were to be honoring not only military who served, died and are still MIA, but also a family of six killed by a balloon bomb on May 8, 1945. The device was one launched across the Pacific Ocean in a last-ditch effort by the Japanese to inflict damage on the US in late 1944 and 1945. They were the only fatalities of an enemy attack on the then 48 United States during WW II.


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