“Leadership in Turbulent Times”


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Ellen and I had an experience Friday that will stay with us for a long time and gave us some perspective on the troubled times facing our country today.

We were attending a book luncheon at the Hay Adams Hotel, overlooking the White House, where Doris Kearns Goodwin was speaking about her soon to be released latest book, Leadership in Turbulent Times. (We’ve long been a fan of this Pulitzer Prize winning author/historian and have read most of her historical works and also her wonderful memoir  – Wait Till Next Year.)

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Print vs Digital: Our Reading Brains Are Changing


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Image by Mobil Yazilar

Apparently, our reading brains are changing as we all move from a print medium to a digital one. More of our reading at all ages is being done not from print — newspapers, magazines, books, documents, etc. — but from digital platforms — screens, computers, email, iPads, Kindles etc.).

If you read the article below using this MillersTime website, you are not as likely to get as much from it as if you read it from The Guardian’s print edition. As Maryanne Wolf writes, the new norm in reading is “skimming, and while there are advantages to that, there are also costs (“unintended collateral damage”), for those just learning to read to those of us who have been reading from print formats for years, and to our society at large.

Check out the article below. I think it has important information and some things to consider for all of us.

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Thru Ellen’s Lens: Wyoming


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Usually we just post photos from trips abroad, but as many of you know, the US has as much outstanding scenery and wonderful sites to visit as almost any place in the world.

Below are a baker’s dozen photos from a recent family trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. Thus, you get not only the benefit of Ellen’s eye but also a glimpse of the family too.

The best way to see these photos, however, is in the slide show which you can access by following the instructions below.

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National Book Festival – Sept.1


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One of the delights of the end of summer in DC is the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival. This full day of all things book related moved from the National Mall to the DC Convention Center several years ago, and so you can enjoy the many and varied activities indoors, with air-conditioning.

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Do You Know of Jordan Peterson?


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Thanks to several emails from my friend who sees the world somewhat differently than I, here is an article by that he encouraged me to read. I pass it on to MillersTime readers as I start to explore more about what this man, Jordan Peterson, has to say.

I find the title and some of what Flanagan writes to focus perhaps too heavily on the “Left” in our political world when I gather Peterson is also warning the “Right” at the same time.

Let me know if you explore Peterson’s writing, podcasts, etc., and what you think about what he has to say.

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“Success Has Many Fathers…”


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                            (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

With the unexpected weekend sweep of four games over the Yankees Sunday night, the Sox went 9.5 games ahead of their chief rivals, the boys from the Bronx. As of last night, the Sox have a record of 81-35 (.704), and both Sox and Yankee followers are saying the race is over for the AL East Division.

Those of us who have been Sox fans for many years (at least 68 of my 75 years) know the truth of “it’s never over ’til it’s over.” With six games remaining between these two teams in the last 12 games of the season, if the Yankees make up five or so in the meantime, anything can happen.

Nevertheless, to play at a rate of winning seven out of every ten games for the first 115 games of the season is pretty special. Friends and foes alike have been asking me what’s making the Sox so good this year and are asking if I think it will it last.

As an obsessed and subjective Sox fan, these are the factors that strike me.

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12 Do’s & Don’ts for Grandparents


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Now that we are ‘old’ hands at this grandparenting thing – nine plus years and five grandchildren – we have learned a few things that no one told us when we started doing this drill. Some of these ‘do’s and don’ts’ are very important to your sanity while being in charge.

(Recently, we had the two pictured above for ‘four’ days.)

DO totally clean out your refrigerator before they arrive and before your daughter goes through it to throw out anything labeled with a sell date being before the day she checks on you and accuses you of “trying to make my kids’ sick.”


Do purchase a half gallon of milk per grandchild per day, one 24 oz size of Hershey’s chocolate syrup per grandchild per two days, one pound of blueberries, one pound of raspberries and a half pound of blackberries per child per day, and most important, three cups of Edy’s ‘Light’ Ice Cream (5.8 fluid ounces) per child per day.

(On the first day, we gave them ice cream after dinner; on the second day we gave them ice cream after lunch and dinner; on the third day we gave it to them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

Do get plenty of rest the week before you begin this care taking assignment and be sure you have nothing scheduled for the week following.

Do plan to go to bed within seven minutes of putting the grandchildren to sleep (12 minutes if the child takes time to fall asleep).

Do bring the grandchildren to your home for at least most of the time you have them. There’s a chance (slight) that they might be on better behavior in your house than in their own (particularly if you let them know that if they want to be ‘invited back’ they’d better behave).

Don’t agree months in advance to do a long weekend of care taking expecting or hoping that your children’s plans requiring your assistance will fall through, thus relieving you of having to take care of the grandchildren. If your children’s plans do fall through, they either won’t tell you or they’ll just make new plans, once they’ve got your agreement to take the kids.

Don’t expect to do anything other than be available 24 hours a day every day the child/children are with you.

Don’t even consider using one of those video monitoring devices that show you what’s going on in the children’s rooms once you’ve put them to bed.

Don’t expect that anything you learned or was successful with your own parenting of your own children will be of any use with your grandchildren.

(We tried to mitigate the arguing between the two grandchildren by alternating who got to ‘go first’ whenever there was a decision about something where there was choice, something we had done with some degree of success with our own children. This ‘proven tactic’ was easily obliterated by the grandchildren arguing over whose turn it was to choose first.)

Do encourage the grandchildren’s parents to put them in day camp for at least half of the total number of days you agree to take care of them.

Don’t tell the grandchildren anything you don’t want them to tell their parents.

(When I responded to pleas for stories about when we were young, I mentioned that I was arrested for stopping traffic, trying to shut down DC, during the Vietnam War. The five year told his parents that Grandpapa was put in jail for stopping cars in the war in the streets.)

Don’t, under any condition or despite any pressure, even consider having more grandchildren to take care of than the number of adults you have available to manage this task.

You’re welcome.

PS – Please put in the comment section of this post any ‘Do and Don’t’ suggestions that you have discovered that may be helpful to fellow grandparents.

Nats’ Tickets – Join Me or Go Yourselves


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Email me: Samesty84@gmail.com if you’re interested or call me at 202-320-9501.

Here are a few games where there’s availability to join me, take a kid (always for free), or to go with others:

Tuesday, July 31, 7:05 vs Mets: Three tickets in Section 127 (between catcher and first base, 20 rows off the field). Lots of possibilities: Join me, bring a friend and join me, take all three tickets. No cost and if you are first to agree to bring someone of a younger generation (i.e., a kid), you get preference.

Wednesday, August 1, 12:05 vs Mets: One ticket (free) to join me for this afternoon game, in Section 117, four rows behind the Visitors’ Dugout.

Wednesday, August 1, 12:05 vs Mets: Three tickets in Section 127 (see above). Free if you take at least one kid.

Wednesday, August 8, 7:05 vs Braves: One ticket free in Section 127.

Thursday, August 9, 1:05 vs Braves: Three available in Section 127. Make an offer.

Saturday August 18, 7:05 vs Miami: One or three available in Section 127.

Tuesday, August 21, 7:05 vs Phillies: Three available in Section 127. Make an offer, or take two, and I can join you.

Wednesday, August 22, 7:05 vs Phillies: Three available in Section 127. Make an offer, or take two, and I can join you.

Friday, August 31, 7:05 vs Brewers: Three available in Section 127. Three available. Or take two, and I can join you.

**          **          **          **          **          **          **          **

Also, in case you missed it, there is a winner and runners-up in the MillersTime 2018 Baseball Contest #2 (Question: Which league will the All-Star Game? Tie-Breakers: Name the first MLB player to hit 30 HRs and the first MLB pitcher to win 12 games.) Check out to see if you or someone you know, won: And the First Winner Is…

PS – Winner & Runners-Up need to send me their T-Shirt size.



And the First 2018 MillersTime Baseball Contest Winner Is…


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Contest # 2:

Which League will win the All Star Game?

Correct answer: American League. Fifty-eight per cent of you picked the correct answer, 42 had the National League.

Tie-Breakers: Name the first MLB player to hit 30 HRs and the first MLB pitcher to win 12 games.

Correct Answers:

Jose Ramirez, Indians, first to 30, followed by JD Martinez, Red Sox 29, and Aaron Judge, Yankees, 26.

Luis Severino, Yankees, won his 12th on June 26 (and now has 14), Corey Kluber, Indians, got his 12th on July 2 and Max Scherzer, Nationals, on July 12. (There are others – Curasco, Lester, Nola & Snell – who are at 12 wins but were not picked by any contestants.)

No one chose either Ramirez as first to 30 HRs or Severino as first to 12 wins.

Possible Winners:

Not so easy to decide:

1. Tim Malieckal on 3/21 had the American League and Judge & Scherzer.

2. Edan Orgad on 3/21 had National League and Judge & Scherzer.

3. Dawn Wilson on 3/21 had National League and Martinez & Kluber.

4. Justin Stoyer on 3/24 had American League and Judge & Scherzer.

5. Brian Steinbach on 3/24 had National League and Judge & Kluber.

6. Brandt & Samantha Tilis on 3/26 had American League League and Judge & Scherzer.

7. Ellen Miller on 3/27 had American League and Martinez & Scherzer.

8. Jere Smith on 3/27  had American League and Martinez & Sale.

9. Tiffany Lopez on 3/29 had American League and Judge & Scherzer.

10. Eli Orgad on 3/29 had American League and Judge & Scherzer.

For not answering the initial question correctly (Which league will win the All Star Game?), Edan Orgad, Dawn Wilson, and Brian Steinbach are eliminated.

For getting assistance from Richard Miller/Grand Papa, Ellen Miller and Eli Orgad are eliminated.

For only getting close on one of the two Tie-Breaker questions, Jere Smith and Tiffany Lopez are eliminated.


Tim Malieckal wins as a result of his being the first (3/21) to chose the American League and Judge & Scherzer. Tim will join me on Sept. 23 for a Nats vs Mets game in DC, four rows behind the Visitors’ dugout. And, of course, he will receive the ever popular and desired MillersTime Baseball Winner T-Shirt.

Justin Stoyer (3/24) and Brandt/Samantha Tilis (3/26) are the runners up, predicting the American League and Judge & Scherzer. They will receive the fabulous T-Shirts.

“At Nationals’ Park, All Star Game Is a Power Packed Thriller”?


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 “‘Monumental” Night for D.C. Baseball”

I woke to several headlines and numerous articles touting last night’s 10-inning All Star Game as a “Classic,” a “Full-powered Classic”.

That was not the 3:45 minute game (4:45 with all the introductions) that three of us watched at Nats’ Park and that the American League won 8-6 in the 10th inning.

As we left the stadium at the end of the game, I asked my friend Todd what he would lead with if he was writing the next morning’s story about the game. He said he’d probably write that if you want the All Star Game to be truly competitive, it has to mean something (it no longer determines home field advantage for the World Series).

My wife Ellen, who now attends 5-10 games a year, said “there didn’t seem to be much energy out there, neither the players nor the fans were particularly into the game after the first few innings.”

It did start with energy, both in the stands (sellout crowd of 43,843) and on the field. The Nats’ ace Max Scherzer opened the game by striking out the American League’s leading hitter, Boston’s Mookie Betts. The crowd roared. He struck out the second batter also, the American League’s 2017 MVP, Houston’s Jose Altuve, on three pitches. Scherzer and Los Angeles’ Mike Trout, perhaps MLB’s premier player, battled. The fans wanted a third strike out, but Trout  took the count to 3-2, fouled off a few pitches, and earned a walk. The fans sat down, disappointed and quieted further when Boston and MLB’s home run leader, Boston’s J.D. Martinez singled. But Schezer got Jose Ramirez to pop out and got out of the inning. The crowd settled in.

In the bottom half of the first, Boston’s ace Chris Sale gave up a first pitch single to Javier Baez, but then got the next three batters out, two on fly balls and one on a strike out. Sale threw at least one pitch over 100 mph and several at 99 and 98, something he has not done over the last eight years.

Scherzer came back out and immediately the Yankee’s Aaron Judge hit a home run. American League up 1-0. The stadium seemed stunned. So did Scherzer who then got all of the next three batters out quickly, including two by strike outs.

After Matt Kemp started the National League off with a double in the bottom of the second against New York’s best pitcher, Luis Severino, Bryce Harper, winner (and hero to the Nats’ fans) of the Home Run Derby the previous night, had a chance to tie the game or even put the National League ahead. He struck out (he did that again in his second at bat too), and the next two batters were quickly retired. All quiet on South Capitol Street.

Each team scored a run on bases empty home runs in the third, Mike Trout for the American League and then Wilson Contreras for the National League.

And for almost the next two hours, the score remained at 2-1, the American League leading. The fans began to leave when most of the starters and best players on both teams were replaced by less well known names, and neither team seemed to have much spirit. There was a spark of life when the National League tied the game on a home run by Trevor Story in the bottom of the 7th, but then rained threatened.

The fans should probably have stayed, as it turned out, because 11 of the 14 runs were scored (all on home runs but one) after the seventh.

But for some reason both managers seemed to stop managing, or at least seemed to stop trying to win. The best of the relievers remained in the bullpens, even when a barrage of hits and home runs were given up, and the game was still on the line. Then Seattle’s Jean Segura hit a three run homer in the 8th off the NL’s Josh Hader, and there were to be seven more runs scored before the American League was able to win on homers in the 10th. By that time, the stadium was more than half empty and even some of the starting players had left their dugouts.

Maybe Todd is correct. Maybe there needs to be some incentive beyond just being an exhibition game for the best known players. Maybe the Washington fans are more sedate than in other cities. (We were in Minneapolis for the ALG a few years ago, and Ellen remarked that that game was much more lively).

But a “thriller” or “monumental” this game was not. Or at least it did not seem to be so to us nor to many of the 43,843 fans who were no where to be seen well before the game ended.

I am curious what others who watched the game on TV saw and thought.

Please Comment.


It Seemed Like a Good Idea


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It seemed like a good idea when Ellen and I first thought about it.

After all, we had done something similar seven years ago (see The Best Father’s Day Gift Ever) when Ellen arranged for a four hour cooking lesson for two friends and ourselves in the home of one of DC’s top chefs, Roberto Donna.

So when we were planning for activities at a wonderful Costa Brava house we had rented to celebrate our 50th wedding with friends, we scheduled a chef to come to the house to give us a lesson in Catalan cooking.

The first indication that should have been a forewarning was when it took 16 email exchanges between Ellen and Francesc (the Catalan chef) simply to decide the menu, which was finally settled as follows:

Sopa Melo (Melon soup with crusty cured ham and mint)

Escalivada (Smoky grilled vegetables)

Tar-Tar de Tonxina Abib Guacamole (Tuna tartar with guacamole)

Bunyols de Bacalla (Cod fritters)

Calamars a’ la Romana (Romana squids)

Fideua (Seafood noodle paella with lobster and rock fish broth and diced cuttle fish)

Flan (Spanish creme caramel)

We began to get the idea that we might have gotten someone far different from our DC cooking lesson with Chef Donna when the eight of us who were planning to attend received an email from Francesc informing each of us that we had been assigned one of the above recipes. He gave us a stern warning to study the recipes closely prior to our arrival in Costa Brava.

Plus, we knew there were already some ‘hurdles’ ahead: Matt, who had been assigned to the Cod fritters, had not been anywhere close to fried food for at least 40 years. Paul, assigned to the complicated looking Romana squid dish, had only a nodding acquaintance with a kitchen, a place where he only seems comfortable if he’s near the refrigerator or passing through on his way to his carport. Ray, the most senior member of our group and a practicing sommelier, was most likely to be an observer, I suspected, no doubt saving himself and his talents for the wine pouring with the actual dinner. And Fruzsina had made it abundantly clear that she wanted to be reassigned the Tuna tar-tar and guacamole, which was to be my task, and was negotiating my taking over her Rock fish broth and diced cuttle fish preparation in exchange.

Was Francesc flexible enough to deal with these ‘hurdles,’ to say nothing about the various personalities and kitchen incompetents assembled, and’ would he realize at least half of us, mostly the males, were primarily looking forward to eating and drinking more than preparing and cooking?

And then he arrived.


Chef and Student

He was one third our age, tattooed, and smoking. He arrived in a huge van with at least 20 boxes and cartons and assorted other paraphernalia (trash cans, various bottles, some with strange contents, 47 different cooking utensils, and even an enormous roll of paper towel that would last most large families a year). It took the four ‘men’ six trips each simply to get all of this into the house. Francesc brought in what looked to me like a medium sized garden of flowers and herbs. Flowers to eat, apparently, not ones for table decoration.

We ‘helped’ Francesc unpack his boxes, put on the aprons and chef hats he provided, and looked skeptically at the spiraled 16 page bound document entitled “Technical Data Sheets” he gave each of us. Included in that document was each of the dishes and its recipe, including information on ingredients, quantity, units (in European measures, of course), cooking utensils, and a preparation and cooking method for each of the seven dishes. Plus, he showed me his four page cooking plan with our names next to our assignments and a list of the 65 total ingredients (averaging nine per dish). Also, under various headings he had on his shopping list was the following: Fresc – 38 items; Altres – 6 items; Sec – 12 items; Material Cuina – 12; and Material Neteja – 9 items. Talk about pre-planning. He made Ellen M. & Fruzsina look like two totally disorganized teenagers by comparison!

Then Francesc looked around the kitchen and asked where the oven was. We didn’t see one. Only a microwave. After 22 minutes of panic while we searched every inch of the kitchen, pantry, laundry room, dining room, living room, and storage room, Francesc, with a good deal of relief, figured out that the microwave could also double as a small oven.

He adjusted the assignments so at least Fruzi was happy that she would learn to make “the perfect” tuna tartar (we are still waiting to be invited to her home to sample what she learned). Matt bravely stayed with the cod fritters, and Paul, skeptically but with good humor, agreed to the cleaning and preparing of the squid. (His wife Ellen H. just rolled her eyes and smiled, clearly delighted that someone else would have to deal with Paul.) Following the chef’s instructions that the most important job in the kitchen was to keep a clean counter and clean utensils AT ALL TIMES, I took on the unskilled and unassigned task of constantly washing every dish, bowl, glass, utensil, cutting board, etc. as soon as it had a speck of food on it. (My job lasted for as long as we did the preparations — about six hours.)

We all got busy cutting and dicing, except for Ray, who took on the role of overseeing ‘quality control’  and Ellen M who took on the role of photographer, ably assisted by Ellen H and Anita. Among many other things, we learned the best way to dice an onion, mince cuttlefish, and clean squid (should either of the latter two endeavors ever be useful to us in the future). We had to make the dessert first — the Flan  — as that involved the longest amount of preparation and the need to chill it in the refrigerator.

Major fail.

After learning not to  “stir the candy” (the sugar for the caramelized top, or was it for the bottom?), the rest of us watched as Anita and Francesc went through the 11 steps outlined to make the Flan, only to be informed 30 minutes later that we had to throw it out and start over. Chef claimed failures were part of learning to cook.

I’ll spare readers a dish by dish description of our trials and tribulations with the other dishes, but fortunately (?) we did drink a good bit of wine and took frequent breaks (Francesc liked to smoke).

There were, however, as might be expected when you have nine people in a kitchen cooking, eight of whom are ‘students’, some unanticipated (and often hilarious) things that happened along the way:

*Blowing out the electricity and having to search for the fuse box and reset it so we could continue cooking;

*Paul’s cleaning of the squid (see picture at the top of this post as four of us watched him with varying degrees of amazement and concern);

Ellen H’s preserving of the squid spines (“For earrings,” she said. We’ve yet to see them.);

*Learning about tossing the short spaghetti-like pasta called ‘fideos’ with olive oil and toasting it before any broth or seafood was added to the fidua;

* Trying to note temperature and ingredient sizes in US measurements on our technical data sheets so we might repeat some of these recipes once we got home;

*Ray’s very careful drying of the thin slices of cured ham (for the melon soup) and his frequent wine pouring to ease the difficulty of our tasks;

*Our collective amazement (and enviousness) at the “tweezer-like” utensil for putting the miniature flowers and wonderful sesame seed caviar atop various dishes;

*Tasting those ‘flower arrangements’ that decorated much of that food.

We ‘worked’ from 3-9 PM, mostly joking, laughing, learning, and tasting (though we did ‘accomplish’ a few of the tasks assigned), before we finally sat down to the seven course Catalan feast.

It was beyond sumptuous.

The melon soup with Ray’s dried ham was a revelation, Ellen H’s smoky grilled vegetables were unlike anything we’d known before, Fruzsina’s tuna tartar with guacamole (topped with sesame caviar) was a big hit, Matt’s cod fritters were better than even he expected (though I cannot attest to whether he actually tasted one or not), and Paul’s squid was also unlike any squid any of us had previously tasted, tender and filled with flavor. The biggest revelation and biggest hit was the fidua (the pasta paella) made with an unbelievably rich lobster and rock fish broth, diced cuttle fish, and red prawns. We had prepared the fish broth though we have to admit that Francesc made the lobster broth before arriving).

Francesc joined us for the Flan (he had begged off joining us for the whole meal, despite our urging him to do so). And what a Flan it was. We chatted with Francesc and told him of our initial concerns about him but how delightful it had been to have him, how much we had learned, and how wonderful the entire afternoon and evening had been (a few of the participants had been skeptical about the whole enterprise).

We were delighted when we returned to the kitchen to see that Francesc had taken care of the mess we had made and had cleaned the entire area, which now looked the best it had the entire week. Additionally, he had packed up what remained for him to take home and left us with a few goodies for the rest of the week.

The eight of us each made three trips from the kitchen to the van and happily and sadly said good bye to a truly delightful, relaxed, knowledgeable, and talented teacher and chef.

So what initially had seemed like a good idea to Ellen and me, then looked questionable to all eight of us, turned out to be a one of the highlights of our week and certainly a memorable day for all.

The Students:

Thru Ellen’s Lens: Valencia, Costa Brava, & Barcelona


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from Ellen Miller:

Soon Richard and I will formally celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. (Gasp!) But actually we’ve been celebrating it for a month, starting with a two week trip to Spain where we explored Valencia for a few days, stayed at a beautiful restored farmhouse near Fuentespalda (northwest of Barcelona), and rented a home on the Costa Brava between Tamariu and Begur. We ended with three days in Barcelona, a city we love returning to and have done so a number of times. It was a tough trip. Wine, fine food, friends, and (mostly) fine weather, medieval villages to explore, art, architecture, and exquisite, picture perfect views.

So here’s my usual post-trip visual report. Below you’ll find five of my favorite pictures from the trip. And if you follow the link at the end of these five photos, you’ll find another 65 or so.






If you would like to see more photos:

1. Click on this June 2018 Spain slide show link.

2. For the best viewing, click on the tiny, tiny arrow in the very small rectangular box at the top right of the opening page of the link to start the slide show.

3.  See all the photos in the largest size possible format (i.e., use a laptop or desktop computer if you have access to either).

Continuing to Remember Sam Miller


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On this July 4 anniversary of my father’s death, a repost from seven years ago.

from MillersTime, July, 13, 2011…

Sam died, as he requested, peacefully and without pain, in his own bed, in his apartment, surrounded in the last months, weeks, days, and hours by three generations of his family. His daughter, son, son-in law, daughter-in-law, four grand children and their spouses, four great grand children, and of course his wonderful caretaker all were able to spend time with him at the end of his life.


Samuel S. Miller
Jan. 13, 1918 – July 4, 2011
Temple Beth El Cemetery
Chelmsford, MA

When we were last here, it was for Esty. And when it came to talk about her, it was pretty easy.

It was clear what to say about her. She was a caretaker and a builder of family.

Sam, on the other hand, is not so easily categorized. He was a person of contradictions and (seeming) opposites.

He was not religious, yet he tried to volunteer for the Seven Day War.

He played football – a lineman – in high school and college during the day and read and memorized poetry at night while listening to classical music.

He was a gambler, in business, at the dog track, and at jai alai, yet husbanded his money carefully to provide for his family and especially for Esty and himself for their later years.

He could be arrogant, intolerant, stubborn, judgmental, and certainly impatient, but he was caring, compassionate, and involved with his family, and could and did cry like no man I have known.

He was a tough businessman who also played chess, read voluminously, and remained liberal in his political views all his life.

As Esty often said, he was a loner but not lonely.

He was self-centered but fiercely family focused. (I’m sure everyone assembled here could tell stories about Sam’s intimate involvement with each of you.). At Daytona he taught many of us to drive, to play chess and he watched endlessly as many of you yelled, “Watch me Sammy” as you jumped into the pool. And there were many long walks and talks on the beach.

He was not close with his parents growing up, especially not with his dad. Then later, in Bebee and Tom’s later years, he moved them from Boston to Orlando where he and Esty were living, and he saw them everyday.

He smoked two packs of cigarettes a day but quit when his sister-in-law Caryl was dying because he said he wanted to see his grandchildren grow up, at least until their 20’s (they’re now in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s).

He loved to ask questions and sometimes even waited for the answer. He was often thinking of the next question before you answered the first one. But you always felt he wanted to know about you — as one person wrote on his 92 birthday: “When I talk to you, you make me feel that I am the most important person…I can ‘feel’ that you are with me…you take a deep interest in what I am saying…you are present to the moment and you live the moment.”

He was an intellectual who read two or three books a week, went to the dog track frequently, and walked two or three miles every late afternoon well into his 80’s to maintain his good health.

He was a ‘Yankee’ (not the baseball kind, thank God) who loved Florida (much to Esty’s chagrin).

He was basically a ‘homebody’ yet visited his son in West Africa because he said he always visited his kids in camp. He traveled to Central American for business and to Europe with Esty. With various family members, he traveled all over the US, including Alaska, and to the Caribbean, India, China, Russia, Mongolia, Egypt, Lithuania, and Israel. His trip to Lithuania was to see the place from where his mother and her family had emigrated.

Although he was ‘technically challenged’ and could barely screw in a light bulb, he learned to use the computer in his 80’s and emailed well into his 90’s.

He enjoyed good food and liquor, yet took good care of his body and lived longer than any Miller in his extensive and extended family.

He was taken care of by Esty, and then took care of her over the final difficult three years of her life, never leaving her side for more than an hour (and then that was usually only to exercise).

He was very involved with his own kids when they were small, wasn’t around so much when they were growing up as he left for work before dawn and had to spend the evenings on the phone to buy fruit and get picking crews for the next day. Then in his kids’ adult years, he again became involved with them intimately as well as with their spouses, their children, and finally his great grand children, all four of whom he saw within the last few months of his 93 ½ years.

He was a man of seeming contradictions but not of excesses and rarely of unkindnesses. In fact, I believe he mellowed a bit in his later years and became more tolerant, a bit less stubborn, and even patient at times.

So if it can be said that Esty took care of people and family, it must also be said that Sam did too, especially family, in his own way.

And as Esty taught us how to deal with medical and physical difficulties with wonderful grace at the end of her life, so too can it be said that Sam taught us that one can age with grace and softness and love.

Richard Miller

The Books Most Enjoyed by MillersTime Readers Mid-Year 2018


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“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read.” – A. Lincoln

This post, one of my favorites, is only possible because so many of you have taken the time to share with me and others titles and comments about what you are reading and enjoying. What you will see below is truly the result of cooperation between a community of readers and friends, even if many of you do not know each other.

The 2018 mid-year list is comprised of the favorite reads of 63 adults and 2 children. Fiction leads the nonfiction 57% to 43%, similar to last year, and there are titles for readers with wide ranges of interests. Our youngest participant is now 11 month’s old; the oldest is 96+. The rest of you are mostly between the ages of 35- 75. Sixty percent of you are women, 40% are men.

While I don’t expect everyone will read all the way through this list (anyone who does and likes it can claim it as a favorite book for next year), know there is a tremendous amount of information here. I’ve organized it in several ways, hopefully to make it more user friendly:

I. The most frequently cited titles (three or more times) are listed first.

II. Next the contributors are listed alphabetically — to make it easy if you are looking for the favorites of someone you know — with the titles and authors next and then any comments made about those books.

III. Finally, there are also two spread sheet links included as easy, searchable references for you to see the titles, authors, and MillersTime contributors in summary form:

List # 1 – Organized alphabetically by book title, fiction precedes nonfiction 

List #2 – Organized alphabetically by reader/contributor’s name, fiction again precedes nonfiction


I. Titles that appear on the Favorites’ List three times or more

Fiction (F):

  •      Beartown, Fredrik Backman
  •      Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Mark Sullivan
  •      Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan
  •      Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
  •      The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah

Nonfiction (NF):

  •      Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders & the Birth of the FBI, David Grann
  •      Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder & One Man’s Fight for Justice, Bill Browder

For me, as always, the strengths and value of this mid-year’s list have more to do with what contributors say about a book than the number of times a book may be listed. Often, a book listed only once or twice is one I most want to read in the next six months or coming year.

A reminder: this list is not meant to be the best books published in 2018, but rather what the title of this posting states — The Books Most Enjoyed by MillersTime Readers Mid-Year 2018.

And, of course, I take responsibility for any inaccuracies or mistakes in the posting of your names, the titles, the authors, and your comments. Please do let me know about errors so I can correct them quickly and easily (especially if I have not listed you and any books/titles you have  sent to me.)

Feel free to share this post with others — family, friends, book clubs, etc., and start now with keeping a list for the second half of 2018.

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