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Local View: 'Do unto others' to survive the stream of life

As I look back over my 93 years of life, I see a continuous running stream. There are many people and many experiences. Some people — relatives, good friends, and others — were taken off the stream of life early. We regret not knowing them anymore. Each loss reminds us that someday we, too, will be taken off this same stream of life.

Bernie HughesAnd so we choose to concentrate on the here and now. When we get together with relatives, friends, and new acquaintances, that's what we chat about: What did Congress do? What should it do? How will it affect us and our kin?

Some folks have strong political ties. Families, neighbors, and entire regions are bonded to chosen political parties. Most of us are attached to those whose backgrounds are similar.

We ask: How could we do things better? Do we need more know-how? More education? Additional experiences?

Along the life stream, if we are fortunate, we have a loving mate and very likeable, successful children. They provide most of our pleasures and inspire us to do better at home and at work.

The stream of life keeps us busy and happy.

Or it reduces us, if we're unfortunate, to loneliness.

My first mate was taken from me, from her stream of life, after 55 years, by brain cancer. Luckily, after a three-plus-year period of first-rate lonesomeness, I met a lady in similar circumstances and married again.

Now, we are in the final stages of life and living in a home where people live who need care. My second wife had two falls and is an invalid.

What advice would I give? I'm not a member of any religious group at this time of my life, but I can give some advice from a saying. It's actually the Golden Rule, a guiding principle in my life: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." That isn't hard to understand or follow.

As you have welcomed and helped along your stream of life, others have welcomed, appreciated, and remembered your good help. It can be as simple as opening a door for some handicapped individual or hauling folks who need transportation somewhere. I was lucky enough to have that latter privilege for several years for the Aging Center in Superior, which now is known as Senior Connections.

Do unto others. That's all. That says it all.

Bernie Hughes of Superior is professor emeritus of educational administration at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.