• T.J. Burnham

    Is there a place for us? Retired elder still have role to play

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on April 16, 2015

    When I retire June 1, I will be 74 years old, and  when I was younger that seemed to be like the end of a lifetime. But now that I am here, it occurs to me that many people in my age bracket who have gone on after employment may not realize they still have value. In a world where older ages represent a larger portion of society, we need to take stock of just what role the old timers like me may play. Sure, I have all kinds of retirement plans, but looking at my age in the social scene…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Anniversary Comes With Thoughts of the Way we Were

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 11, 2015

    "I wonder, wonder, wonder, wonder who? Who wrote the book of love!!!!" The Monotones: 1958. Great soundtrack for American Graffiti! As I gaze at my magic digital frame showing all those wonderful moments since Sally and I tied the knot in 1977 on March 12, and listen to "Book of Love" it all comes gushing back in so many fuzzy moments. Chapter one says you love her with all your heart. Stuck on that part of the book even after 38 years. No, we're not the people we…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Who Changed the World When I was Away?

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on March 4, 2015

    It all began … Well, maybe not ALL of it, and perhaps none of it all. Yet, it began sometime, somewhere. Social change, I mean. I have grown old in a world where those growing up are so markedly different from me at their age that I have trouble identifying with sometimes. Blame it on Elvis. Blame the Hippies. Blame Socrates. Before the '50s, everything was normal. Well, maybe those who grew up before "the" war will say it all went to heck right after. Or, maybe the…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Cooking Up a Storm My Idea for the Latter Years Delight

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 25, 2015

    I have always been tantalizingly interested in the culinary arts, even to the point I am thinking about taking cooking classes when Western Farmer-Stockman is in my past starting with my June 1  retirement. I've dabbled in gourmet meals, cooked a mess o' conventional dinners, and have even tried my hot pad-clad paws in pastries. The little mysterious ins and outs of cooking have always intrigued me, like zesting, deglazing and spraetzling. I like the kitchen gizmos that make…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Weather in Boston a Lot Like my Michigan Experience

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on February 12, 2015

    While my heart goes out to the Bostonians who are snowed in, I think their plight is so much like almost every year back in Muskegon, Michigan, where I made winter dollars shoveling driveways. I had to time my work for each client at a time when I knew the road snow plow wouldn't come back before I was finished and pile more clumps of wet, cold, hard snow  at the driveway entrance. I didn't want to have to deal with that for $5 a driveway. As I remember, snow came in about…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    It's the Look that Can Trigger Earthquakes and Launch Wars

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 26, 2015

    I know that look. In fact, I can feel it even when my back is turned. It is the way a woman's face tells you she is not happy with something you are doing. I have researched "The Look" and find that there is a secret school in western Texas where all girls between the ages of 12 and 14 to learn it. A lady teacher as old as Mother Nature has been showing them how to give "The Look" forever. Eve was her first student, Google shows, and when she got back to the Garden of…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    It's a Whole New Dog

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 16, 2015

    Dogs. Why do we love 'em? Heaven knows. Sure, they're warm and furry and loving and loyal and full of fun to entertain, always telling you you're the greatest, picking up the cheese you drop making a sandwich, and keeping evil doorbell ringers  in fear. But they also forget sometimes about where their bathroom is, chew  up new slippers just out of the Christmas box, jump in the middle of the newspaper when you're reading it, bark right in your ear from the back seat…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    2015, 2015, 2015!!! But I'm Still in 2014!!!

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on January 8, 2015

    Whoever came up with the idea of a new year every 12 months? Bad concept. It screws up my life in so many ways, but mainly because now I have to remember one more thing: writing 2015 instead of 2014 on documents. What was wrong with 2014. It was a nice year for me in most cases, and I am not sure I want a new slate so I can mess things up. Really, who came up with the concept? Blame dead Assyrians, Egyptians, Greeks, or was it those tricky Babylonians. They messed up language by building…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Recycled Crumpled Christmas Wrapping Paper and Returns to the Mall

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 23, 2014

    Who doesn't love it when Christmas is over and everyone goes about their business in a kind of "Bah, Humbug!" resentment that there is not even one more present left to unwrap. The mistletoe has dried up, stockings hung by the chimney are stained with chocolate and strange sticky stuff, you forget to turn on the tree lights, those outside decorations loom as a take-down job nobody likes to think about, and the carols in the stores have become elevator music once more. Welcome…

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  • T.J. Burnham

    Ringing the Bell for the Salvation Army Sparks Christmas Spirits

    Western Ag Vignettes

     by T.J. Burnham
     on December 18, 2014

    I am a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, and proud to say so. If you really want to experience the true spirit of this season -- gifting others -- then call your local Salvation Army and volunteer to stand by a red kettle and ring a little bell for the  hungry and the needy of your community. Of all the charity organizations I have checked out, none give more of what they collect than the Army. The theme of this organization it to help the less fortunate in our community with food…

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