From time to time I've written about my family: Good times and sad. Perhaps I was too critical about my older sister and her love of books along with her excelling in school while I thought she should have been doing more "kid stuff" with me and my brother.

But there are always two sides (or more) to a story, or so is said. I must admit that, as of today, I am a reader. Maybe it's because as we age (and age ... and age) there isn't too much more we can do and, then too, I've missed a lot by not finding time to read more throughout the years. Now I'm catching up ... a bit.

I enjoy traveling, and I did travel recently all the way to Alaska. Not only did I enjoy the descriptive scenic experience but I was introduced to various ethnic groups and traveled back in time to wilderness, gold panning, seal hunting, and I can go on and on. I never got tired or sea sick through storm and rough seas. As my eyelids got heavy, I simply marked the page and cuddled up with the cat for a nap.

My husband, too, is an avid reader. He likes the idea of traveling with books and TV, too: No fatigue and no surprises on our Visa statements.

My daily routine starts out with the morning ablutions and then getting The Daily Star out of the handy yellow box by the side door. Just because I write this column is not the reason to mention such, because I mostly schooled in New Jersey and read those periodicals as well.

During high school in the late 1940s, the local sports page was read first since I was a participant. Then, of course, the page with the comics sometimes got preference. Today there always seems to be so many more pages for sports with new format, action photos along within individualization of leading athletes: All modernized and up-to-date. The "proof is in the pudding" for I recently counted sports pages vs. all the other sections and came up with: One forth of the entire newspaper highlighted sports. Interesting.

I don't know, though, that I could say the same for the comics today, that are being so popular with me, for I sometimes don't understand the cartoonist's thinking behind the scenes along with this generation's lingo. Happily Dagwood Bumstead is still Dagwood, along with his love of food and the huge Dagwood sandwiches. This really dates me, but the old standbys give a homey feeling since they have been with us for so long. I remember, as a teenager, the glamorous Brenda Star character with sparkly eyes, red flowing hair and make-up we wanted to copy. Where is Brenda today?

As I got older, the obituaries on Page 5 were zeroed in on daily. A bit morbid, but then there are always opportunities to write consoling messages to the loved ones left behind. I had to chuckle at some of the contributed photos being so young-looking when the copy informed us of the people were in their 70s or 80s. It's nice to imagine an oldster being his or her young self again plus erasing what caused the demise. Interestingly, if you read Job 33:25 in your Bible you would be most surprised (happy too) to find that possibility.

If I didn't believe that hope along with all the other future Biblical prophecies that I have read, then I really don't think I could have survived widowhood in my late 30s and now just recently, my loving husband's open heart surgery with all the adverse possibilities.

The advice columns are interesting and informative: now being written by the second, or is it the third, generation? Well, anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to read the advice from the gals when a complaining writer asked what to do about a disagreement causing animosity and hard feelings. (I often wondered why some of these complainers didn't just use plain common sense in order to make peace.) The advice was, and I quote: "Have a serious talk _ explain how you feel." Then the other column stressed speaking truthfully and discussing pros and cons. Simple _ isn't it?

This is an age of communication with all of our modern technology. So why can't a person humbly seek peace by simply talking with (not "at") an individual that he might have a problem with? Not to point the finger but to pursue a peaceful understanding. A good question and a positive solution.

There is much to learn and enjoy through reading. TV, DVDs and all the other gadgets have there place but it's never wise to crowd out personal reading.

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 77-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at 'Senior Scene' columns can be found at

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