For months now I’ve been seeking a focus for this blog. Since my cozy mysteries feature the 90 year olds at Whisperwood Retirement Village, I give a talk called “Able, Alert, and Active – Acting Your Age at 90.” The talk is well-received—the audience says it is inspirational and motivational. Suddenly, my blog had a focus: Motivating, inspiring and countering all the little voices in our heads that tell us why we can’t or aren’t or shouldn’t; motivating and inspiring despite the rejections (I’m a writer); motivating and inspiring despite whatever our age or circumstances. That is what this blog is about. Enjoy.

Here goes. . .

Let me introduce you to Captain James Arruda Henry. He was a lobsterman who lived for more than 90 years without being able to read and write. Then he heard about another man

who learned how to read and write in his 90s. Captain Henry set out to do the same.A book of the stories he often told his family was published when he was 96. It’s called In a Fisherman’s Language and it’s available at his website,

As the back cover says, he showed “how a life powered by commitment, hard work and determination can redefine a person at any age.”

Captain Henry died on January 6, 2013. He left his courage, inspiration, and love, as well as his legacy. His grandchildren will continue to carry on his good work, offer his book to the public, and develop his dream of inspiring youth to read as well. He sets an example to the older crowd to “Never Give Up!”

Which brings me to one of those ancient and odious sayings that stunt and cripple: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Oh yeah? Ask Captain Henry about that one. Or the grandmother of a friend who just got her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, at age 85. Or any number of other people in their 80s, 90s, and 100s who continue to grow, learn, and achieve despite their age and all the negative messages out there including the stupid aphorism cited above. Anyway, I did have an old dog and I did teach it new tricks

So I suggest we reword the old aphorism to: Old dogs LOVE learning new tricks.