GORDIE LITTLE, Small Talk
---- — A new year and a new leaf. Turn it over, and let's discover what's underneath. Perhaps even a shorter belt around what my wonderful wife, Kaye, calls my "middiddle." We figuratively kissed goodbye and good riddance to a year that was less than perfect for many. We welcomed the 2012 baby and hoped that his diaper wouldn't be full before the first week was finished.
My personal philosophy in two words is, "Next Chapter." We're grateful for what we have and forever optimistic that the Mayan masterminds miscalculated what some doomsayers predict will mark the end of the world as we know it. I've lived through so many bogus apocalypses that I could write a treatise about it.
It all started for me in October 1938. I was no doubt crawling around on our tiny kitchen floor in Monsey, N.Y., when the Mercury Theater program blared from the radio. My mother, the late Alta Grace Requa Little, tidied up the supper dishes and remembered to flip the switch with no thought about what program was on the air. Thinking that she was listening to a news broadcast, her attention was immediately focused on what came out of the radio and into her ears. Like so many others listening to the Orson Welles production "The War of the Worlds," she was drawn in by the frightening scenario involving reports that martians had landed not far from us in New Jersey.
According to my mother's retrospective account many years later, our next-door neighbor burst through the kitchen door screaming to the top of her lungs: "Mrs. Little, quick, get down on your knees. It's the end of the world." They prayed and prayed and presently learned that it was nothing more than a well-acted radio drama. Whew. With that behind us, I listened hundreds of times to my Nazarene preacher dad as he pounded his huge fists on the podium and warned his attentive flock that Jesus would be returning any day like a thief in the night to proclaim something he called the "rapture," when the dead and the chosen will be taken up into the clouds. We were told to be ready.
Specific dates were thrown about ad nauseam, and we listened with humor to self-proclaimed prophets who sold all their worldly possessions and gathered on mountain tops to await the heavenly chariots or whatever they were supposed to be. Especially troublesome was an elderly gentleman who predicted the end of the world several times during 2011 and slunk away each time saying, "Sorry, I miscalculated." Indeed.
None of us knows how many ticks we have. Period. I decided long ago to live each day to the max, smile even when it hurts, and use the Golden Rule as my credo. I enjoy looking back and recapitulating, but not wallowing in it. Rather, I hope I can climb onto the bricks that are my life and get a good view from the top of the heap.
That having been said, Kaye and I insist every day on being grateful for the skin we're in. Fantastic family and friends, the most awesome place to live on the planet and the majority of our mental faculties that allow us to communicate with each other and with you. In spite of nary a cent of retirement from a three-and-a-half decade radio career, we have managed to keep a well-stocked larder and a positive outlook.
As readers of this "Little" column know all too well, my battle of the bulge has raged for almost 40 years. Kaye and I quit smoking on Feb. 8, 1975, a year after our marriage, and we're grateful to be rid of that demon forever. Then, there's our relative size. Kaye is so diminutive that her doctor urges her to gain a few pounds. Conversely, he kindly tells me that when I get old, my knees will give out. Hint, hint.
I don't call it a resolution, but since Dec. 28, I've traded the label of "Gordie the Glutton" for something more flattering. Mall walking is a daily exercise, and Fig Newtons remain in the cupboard.
Wish me luck. Have a great day and New Year and, please, drive carefully.
Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the "Our Little Corner" television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.