Last week I said goodbye to two ladies I admired and respected. The first was Lucy Ortolano and the second was Gertrude (Gert) Aldrich. These two women had much in common. They were always smiling. They both were good with people, they loved their husbands and that love was returned.
We used to see Lucy and Tom at McDonald's once in awhile. He was an adoring husband. I always liked to see them together. He took care of her for so long. I know he'll be lost without her. I'd rather have a good husband and really miss him than have no good memories. I used to tell our boys that our father came first. I got a lot of flack for that, but I believed a secure household was the best gift we could give them. I took some flack for that, but finally psychologists agree. I always like to see a married couple hold hands and laugh a lot.
Do you ever notice couples that are out to dinner and have nothing to say? I think that's sad. Well, no one could ever say that about Lucy and Tom. Tom, like yourself for what you did. It didn't go unnoticed.
Now for Gert and Leonard. Gert and I went to SUNY together. We always got along. Then later, when we were married and had children, we both took in fresh air with the kids. Aldrich's had the pool so the boys used to go to her pool a lot. One day Dan almost drowned Seth by throwing him in the pool. He thought he could swim. They rescued him? Both of us kept in touch with our boys after they left. We did this for years.
Saturday, I went to the funeral at the Methodist Church. It was packed. What a legacy Gert left. You know, with Gert it didn't matter what church you belonged to or what political party. We were just people who had so much in common because we both cared about people and causes. We had more things in common than our differences.
Leonard and Gert were married over 60 years if I remember right. How they were blessed. He'll really miss her, but I'd rather have that than no good memories. I'd invite him to Sunday dinner, but I wouldn't want anybody to think I was after him. You ladies who still have your husbands, get your husband to ask him.
What are people going to say about you when you die? Take inventory. If you're not coming up with a good inventory, get busy. It's not too late, yet.
The wonderful thing about all of this is it's so great for you and the people you do things for. Don't deny yourself all this joy.
In today's mail I got a letter from the Environmental Defense Fund. It listed 10 ways we can fight global warming.
I like it because they are not only good habits to make for helping the environment. They will save you money and everything is easy to do. We are such a wasteful society, but it's never too late to make good habits. Paste these on the refrigerator:
1. Recycle used materials (paper, plastic, glass, etc.) as much as possible.
2. Wash clothes in cold or warm water, not hot.
3. Install low-flow shower heads to use less water.
4. Run the dishwasher only when full and don't use heat on dishes.
5. Replace standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
6. Plug air leaks in windows and doors to increase energy efficiency.
7. Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models.
8. Walk, bike, carpool, or use public transportation whenever possible.
9. Adjust your thermostat, higher in winter, lower in summer.
10. Share these simple steps with friends and family and increase awareness.
Even if you don't believe in global warming, I hope you believe in saving money. I welcome every chance I get to save money. Get smart. Get on board.
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org