When I read Bob Lancaster’s column in the Aug. 24 Arkansas Times (“Persons of Age” about turning 60), my heart wept for him. He is burdened with a non-imaginative brain and a horde of dull, lazy, non-thinking friends. I soon shall be 95 and am sharing some facts of life gleaned from decades of living.

First I will grant you that after age 60 (or often even earlier) sex is not, for a fairly large proportion of our population, the spontaneous, exuberant romp it was earlier in life. The penis is not set on alert so enthusiastically, but sex after 60 has a sweetness and warmth youth lacks.

As for the other aspects, you are woefully misguided. I spent my 60th birthday in a third-world country having experiences beyond any expectations. I was introduced to cultures and religions that took me out of my insular thinking. An education was forced upon me in society where I was a minority and an ignoramus.

In my 70s, we moved into a retirement village where our past experiences enabled us to adjust to a different type of living. It also freed us up to travel farther and stay longer than independent living permitted.

My 80th birthday was celebrated with a candle-lit cake on shipboard between the Galapagos Island and Ecuador. My husband and I enlarged the scope of our volunteering to include 1,500-plus hours at McClellan VA Hospital. My late 80s brought the agony of dealing with my husband’s dementia. But the memory of the joys we had experienced carried me through this sadness and into the beginning of true faith.

My 90th was celebrated by young friends who gave me a party.

I’ve never been a worrier but perhaps I’ve been too cautious about the future, financially speaking. I no longer save for the future. Each month’s income goes into changing lives, giving hope to people who have never known hope, through Heifer Project. Through the Lung Association I can take part in the battle against asthma. And always it means more scholarships for Hendrix College. Through the Odyssey program I am sending young people into countries where they can begin to understand other cultures and faiths. Through my investment in these students, I, too, live.

As I celebrate my 95th birthday, I will admonish Bob. Young man, look around you. Every decade has its joys and challenges waiting for you.

Lucille Shivley
Little Rock

The volunteer Army
Our armed forces have lowered the standards for enlistment to admit people with criminal records, raised the enlistment age to 42, and have sent battle-weary soldiers back into Iraq for unprecedented 3rd and 4th tours — all because recruitment levels are harder and harder to maintain. Yet we spend millions of dollars to discharge tens of thousands of good soldiers just because they are gay or lesbian. The result is that our military is increasingly composed of quasi-criminals (Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Mahmoudiya), as well as brave but tired and broken people who have served well beyond reasonable expectation. Other allied countries have learned this lesson. Our Congress needs to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” right now if the U.S. plans on winning wars again in the near future.

Larry Seiferth Jr.
North Little Rock

Hog ball
Great article by Jim Harris on the polarization of the Razorback Nation. Very well written. We live in Memphis and it seems the Hog Nation doesn’t really care about Arkies over here. We can’t hear any games on the radio. There is no radio coverage of the Hogs — not in West Memphis, Marion or surrounding areas. Lack of radio coverage doesn’t make sense, especially since West Memphis and Marion have some D-1 high school recruits (West Memphis does every year).

ARSN is striking out on this. The sports radio station in West Memphis carries Tennessee Vols games. What’s up with that?

Eric and Shelly Lensing

Jim Harris is the biggest hypocrite on this earth.

Otis Kirk
(Kirk covers Razorback recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.)

The north shore
I’m sure all you wags at the wrong end of the Main Street Bridge were just trying to find the humor in Little Rock’s new city slogan, but y’all would be well-served by taking a closer look at that “hard place” you tried to use as the punch line for The Week that Was item about Little Rock’s new nickname, The Rock.

Among the treasures you’ll find: Great people, lower crime, many fine shops and restaurants (including one of the state’s best, by your own reckoning), a burgeoning residential and commercial historic district, a ginormous city park, better riverfront trails, the arena where you see all your big concerts, the new stadium where you will see all your minor league baseball games ... and, I humbly add, the best weekly newspaper in the state for 12 years running.

North Little Rock as “a hard place”? I think not! The folks who live, work and play over here know the real score. Slogans? We don’t need no stinkin’ slogans!

Eric Francis
Managing Editor
The Times
North Little Rock


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