Today would’ve been Granddad’s 100th Birthday. I’ve thought about him throughout the day today, scrolling through many wonderful memories. One of my recent favorites was the day he threw out the first pitch at a Royals game. It was September 2010, and as the oldest Eagle Scout in the Midwest, he was the lucky man who got to go out on the mound and throw the pitch. He was so happy that day, with 4,800 scouts there to celebrate with him, along with his family. So here is a photo of him on the big screen, smiling ear to ear, in honor of the Royals’ incredible third win against the Orioles tonight, and in honor of his (almost) 100th birthday.
Born October 14, 1914, Carl Mesle turns 99 today. He was born in Sherrill, NY.
During World War II, dad served in the military. After completing his training as an intelligence officer, he was fortunate to have a position working in the Pentagon. As thankful as Mom was to have him in a safe location instead of fighting overseas, dad felt it was unfair that he got to stay home in the safety of the Pentagon while his friends had to go into battle. It was that mentality that drove him to serve his community, to take care of the people who needed help.
After leaving military service, dad worked first, as a professional Boy Scout leader, serving under H. Roe Bartle, before accepting a position as a minister in the Community of Christ Church.
His life has been spent in service to his church and to his community. As he describes it, “I dedicated my life to my church until I turned 65 and then embraced the charitable community.” (Of course, his faith, and commitment thereto, have never wavered.)
Until age related frailties limited his ability to actively participate in life outside the Groves, he participated in the activities of Troop 223 of the Boy Scouts; served on the Board of his neighborhood association, and—the list goes on. He only gave up his prolific writings when his vision failed him.
He has been recognized by many of the numerous civic and charitable organizations he loves and has supported–the Boy Scouts, McCoy Neighborhood Association, the Heartland Foundation, the list goes on. Perhaps my favorite, is his recognition received at the Truman Library where he was, I am sure, thrilled to share the stage with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. But he was so gratified by his recent recognition from members of the Independence African-American Community for his commitment to civil rights.
He has never smoked, consumed alcohol or illegal drugs. He exercised regularly until his body refused to cooperate. Even today, he attends daily devotions at the Groves, expressing thanks for the good in his life and the faith that has sustained him.
Our family is fortunate to experience our mother’s gift of love and dad’s dedication to his faith, his values and his community. Members of his family and friends who have been a part of his life for up many years shared his birthday with him.
Meg and her cousins could not have better role models than mom and dad. Watching their lives so far, I am happy to report that the “apple/s don’t fall far from the trees”.
Happy birthday, dad. Love ya
Sanjay Gupta’s book Chasing Life, published in 2007, presents a compelling picture of the ways in which each of us can improve the quality of our lives by diet, significant exercise and other healthy life choices. Gupta’s focus is on “extending our healthy and active lives longer” while compressing the death process. He reminds us that chasing life means lowering our risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. He also guides us toward health habits that reduce our risk of developing Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Much of the information in his book is information we really already know, even if we try to ignore it: a diet of junk food reduces the quality, if not the length, of our lives. Life decisions such as failing to wear seat belts and bicycle/motorcycle helmets increases the likelihood of serious injury and death. Tobacco kills. And we have all heard the statistics on obesity.
But if you go beyond the extremely obvious to the merely obvious, he has more to say. Meeting our daily requirement of vitamins, like vitamins A and C, magnesium, fiber C, really is essential. Fish is far healthier for us than beef. Supplements are not all created equal. Grain, is a great source of fiber. I love granola because it is high in fiber and includes healthy grains, nuts and olive oil. Meg likes to add dried fruit.
Not so obvious is that long-term reduction of our calorie intake, even if we are not overweight, has significant health benefits. It can extend our productive lives–helping us to avoid significant disease. In addition, regular exercise, walking, jogging, bicycling and stretching, is essential to remaining in good shape. Physical fitness increases our life spans, and at least as important, helps us to become biologically “younger” and happier.
There is so much more information included in Dr. Gupta’s book about aging and health. He even includes a section on the impact of happiness in encouraging long and healthy lives. I encourage you to study his book and adopt the life style he espouses. In keeping with healthy living, take a walk, play tennis, golf, or be like Meg and run miles every day.
Our family didn’t need Dr. Gupta to tell us about health. Our dad is the most health conscious person I know. He spent the last 97 years of his life avoiding alcohol, tobacco and caffeine, limiting his sugar, eating a healthy diet, , and exercising daily. At age 95, he was invited to throw the first pitch at a Kansas City Royal’s game.x He practiced his pitch before the big day and even got the ball to the plate, if not over it. Quite a testament for living a healthy life. Gee dad. Dr. Gupta would be proud of you.
For most of the rest of us, we need someone we admire to prod us along, encouraging to make healthy decisions in our lives. So, I encourage you tomorrow to take a walk or a run. As a reward for your efforts, have a healthy bowl of fruit, instead of ice cream and water instead of wine or beer. Not the way most of us spend our evenings. But a whole lot healthier.
Is this just a little too bland for your lifestyle? Do you need something more exciting than–water? How about a glass of 100 % grape juice. You can put it in your favorite wineglass and feel as festive as your friends.
Here’s to your health. Here’s to a long and happy life.
_________________________________________________________________________________xOn August 30, 2010, dad was invited to throw the first pitch at a Royal’s game. He is the oldest Eagle Scout an event honoring Eagle Scouts. He was the oldest Eagle Scout in the Kansas City area and was among those given a Kauffman lifetime achievement award. we all attribute his good health and longevity to the care with which he has lived his life.
I am grateful to the Independence Examiner for the photo of dad. He had lots of family in attendance and we have similar photos. But this one is better. I have no idea why it appears in “google” with an All-Star game logo at the bottom.
Biography: Carl Mesle is a retired minister with the Community of Christ Church in Independence, Missouri. He is my dad and Meg’s granddad. Carl has dedicated his life to his church and his community. He wrote and taught on creating healthy families and healthy children. He retired as Pastor of the Stone Church in Independence. At age 97 and in failing health, he wrote what he describes as his “final” letter to the editor of our hometown newspaper. It was published in the Independence Examiner, May 31, 2012.
The Power of Love is Transcendent
Love–sacrificial, caring love–is the greatest power in the world. It abolishes hate. It brings people together in caring communities. It provides the pathway to unity. It provides the power to bring couples together and to produce children in caring familities, and it offers the support of relatives and friends.
On the wider community level, it offers peace between nations and cultures and provides a mutually compatible relationship between humans, animals and the resources of nature. It eliminates warfare. It is expressed in the care of animals. It makes it possible for people to labor together to create buildings of beauty and sturdiness. It provides the foundation of human endeavors, which permit the exploration of the seas and the skies.
Loving and caring for oneself is also essential to living one’s best. Possibly the most exciting and satisfying element of love is expressed in the intimate, physical experiences in the sexual relationship of mating, but only when it is mutually sought and enjoyed.
There are several kinds of love, that of lovers, that in the everyday working of couples in marriage, that of a parent for a child, that of laying one’s life down for a friend, and that spiritual love exchanged between God and his worshipers.
Please note: the views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the primary authors of Shifting the Balance. However, we think it is important to encourage the free flow of ideas in order to promote collective action and compromise. In order to keep the country “in balance” we believe we should all work together, and that means sharing and respecting ideas, including those that may be different from our own.