Saturday, October 16, 2010

Second Mile Award

Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough.

Groucho Marx made that comment sometime during his illustrious career as an actor, comedian, and singer. Groucho lived to the ripe age of 87, but his energy and work is still alive in the hearts of everyone who has held their side splitting gut while laughing at the antics of the Marx brothers. They skillfully made us look at our culture and ourselves with different eyes. Groucho’s 1950s TV show was one of the highlights of a three channel television industry that was trying to find a way to capture the attention of the young who were fortunate enough to own this new fangled communication tool. TV was an infant in those days but in its old age it’s now younger than ever in its approach to defining our current cultural idiosyncrasies.

There’s no doubt that age is not wasted on the old. Thanks to Groucho and thousands of elders, age is an interesting subject that teaches us all that life is an experience to enjoy and appreciate. Men and women who have put enough miles on the body to move the needle of time to another dimension in living give us all the fuel we need to keep our engines running and lubricated with the energy of love and the desire to be more than we believe we are.

My friend and award-winning poet Janet Riehl has embraced the art of growing older by initiating the Second Mile Award dedicated to her father, Erwin A. Thompson, who will turn his needle to the 95th spot on the age wheel this November 9th.

Janet explains the Second Mile Award this way:

The Second Mile Award honors Elders 75 years and older whose dignity, character, creativity, and connection to community have quietly contributed to the world around them.

My father based his life on the parable of the Good Samaritan: Matthew 5:41: “And whosoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him, go twain." My birthday present to him is to establish an annual Second Mile Award. The holder of the 2010 award receives a $500 honorarium, a certificate designed by my niece, and publication on Riehlife of the nomination essay

To find out how to nominate an Elder, learn more about the award, the meaning of the Second Mile, and my father's life go to this link: The deadline for nomination essays is November 9, 2010--my father's birthday. He'll join me in reading the essays to determine the holder of the 2010 Second Mile Award.

Join me in celebrating the essence of this award and nominate an elder over seventy-five that has impacted life in a normal as well as special way. The award recognizes one individual, but all those nominated receive the award of knowing that age is a very interesting subject.


Janet Riehl said...


I love your essay on aging that frames the announcement of The Second Mile Award.

I especially love your play with words as only a poet can. It left me grinning.

Janet Riehl

Hal said...

Thanks Janet. I enjoy playing with the age thing. Your dad is certainly expanding our beliefs about what's possible in the fouth quarter of life.