Life’s too short and death’s too long

Having reached life’s nonagenarian pinnacle two years ago, I realize that it’s later than I think. My daughter, Linda Krieger, often reminds me that I have lived the greatest percentage of my life. Not many of my relatives and friends have reached the 90 mark. I have always believed that life is an uphill battle and we are on a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, many of which we cannot control. I call it the “serendipity ride?”

As a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, I have traveled many thousands of miles on land, on the seas and in the air. Guy Lombardo and his band made the song “It’s Later Than You Think” famous. The older I get, the more I think about it.

I am always reminded of an old Amish proverb, “Life is too short and death is too long.” To me, the most important things in life are character and integrity. That’s what I hope to leave behind, not a legacy of fame and fortune.

My grandson, Michael Krieger, adds in the forward of my book “Rag Man, Rag Man”, my grandpa is going to leave his four grandchildren a legacy of wisdom, not money. I like that thought.

Gen. MacArthur left a famous saying, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

I would like to leave two appropriate sayings, since I was a U.S. Navy combat veteran of World War II and a writer of many Vindicator stories for the past 25 years, focusing on the Great Depression era and World War II: “Old sailors never die, they just sail away” and “Old writers never die, they just passage away”.

In fact, legend has it, that in Eskimo land, when the elderly had used up their productive years, they got on an ice floe and sailed away, never to return. That thought makes me want to “keep on a goin’” as my Aunt Florence Lacivita used to remind me.

Each of us passes through life’s journey only once, and we each leave our own distinctive imprint.

Michael J. Lacivita is a Youngstown retiree and member of the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

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