Just be a little patient

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2017

By Frank Roberts

There’s a line in the Gershwin song about “Old Man River” — “body’s all aching and racked with pain.”

At 88, it hits home, and I am constantly told, “Well, at your age, what do you expect?”

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I didn’t expect my body to be achin’ and racked with pain. I didn’t expect to see people I’ve known for years passing on every few weeks.

A great many such folks are waiting in line, many of them in nursing homes. They keep going, as I do, with beaucoup visits to doctors, by gulping down pills, pills and more pills. Swallow the little things as you stare at television commercial after television commercial about prescription after prescription.

There is some hope, but it seems too strange to counterattack all of those TV blurbs, most of which tell you of the dangers of taking their products in the first place.

As it turns out, music could provide some relief that medications cannot when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.

The last part of the brain to be touched by this frightening disease is the one that processes music, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

One story concerns a gentleman who’s been suffering from Alzheimer’s for 10 years, and not once has he ever downed a pill. He is alive and happy as he listens to the songs that were so much a part of his life.

Sound simple? Yes. Sound revolutionary? Yes. Sound like something worth looking into? Yes.

It’s been working. The Alzheimer’s Association tells us the number of patients trying this should double in the next 10 years. The million figure shows up in their report, a report most people will dismiss with a shoulder shrug as they reach for the pills the fake doctor on TV recommends.

* * * * *

Sit, Trigger, sit while I peruse some items about the guy atop.

In the years between 1934 and 1954, Roy Rogers was annually the top money-making star. More than 400 merchandising products had his signature. Sears-Roebuck had his name on hats, chaps, boots, toy six-guns, 32 different designs of belt buckles and school lunch boxes. Quite a list for the li’l cowpokes. There were also 1,900 hardback books, records galore, comic strips and endorsements for Quaker Oats.

And RR never received a high school diploma.

Leonard Slye was his real name, and “hers” was Frances Octavia Smith. He was King of the Cowboys so, naturally, Dale Evans was dubbed Queen of the West. They were married in Blytheville, Ark. He was in the Air Force; Rogers was hoping to become a doctor.

Rogers’ favorite western star matched mine: Hoot Gibson. Rogers’ first acting gig was as Santa in a high school play. (Think of Trigger, the Red-Nosed Horsie).

Another showbiz note: Can you imagine ‘Meathead’ being portrayed by Harrison Ford? Rob Reiner got the “All In the Family” role. Ford turned down the role — too many insults. Reiner was just fine as the young liberal.

Might as well close up shop with somethin’ silly: Guy goes to his doctor, complaining, “Doc, I think I’m shrinking.” The doctor says, “You’ll just have to be a little patient.”

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.