Writing a column is not always easy. There are many times when I start and stop and start and stop, trying to get my thoughts in a readable form. My best time to write is early in the morning, before the day actually begins.

For some reason, my brain works better in the morning. Some people have a "morning brain." Others think best later in the day. And, there are some intrepid souls who do their best work after midnight. God bless them.

As I am writing this column, it is still dark outside and the birds have not begun to sing. There are no cars on our street and no power walkers have started their routine. It is quiet and peaceful.

My thoughts this morning are many and varied. I just need to harness them and turn them into a satisfactory column.

The first thing on my mind is my grandson who is serving in the Air Force. I wonder if he is worried about the world situation and how it might affect him. He is a newlywed and his wife is also in the Air Force. Their lives are affected by world affairs. I say silent prayers that they will be safe.

As I look around our den and search for my thesaurus, I see the briefcase holding my secretary minutes for the shuffleboard club. I have been the secretary for two years now. I promised myself that I would organize the old minutes, but time seems to be my enemy in that project. I just need to sit down, get out my three-hole punch, and get it done. The next rainy day….

Making a cup of coffee, I use our new Keurig machine that was a gift from our daughter this past Christmas. It is quite the efficient coffeemaker and I like the fact that my cup can be a flavored hazelnut while Jim can have his dark roast regular brew. We seldom use our Cuisinart anymore, unless we have company and want to make 12 cups. Having two coffeemakers on the counter is a little crowded, but we like the option available each morning.

Speaking of having options - the day's schedule is a veritable smorgasbord of possibilities. First and foremost, I will work at the library here in our development. I volunteer regularly and enjoy the interaction with other residents. There's also the benefit of seeing the newly donated books before they get put on the shelves. After the library, there's grocery shopping, practicing with the new mah jongg set, doing some Sudoku puzzles, and reading the new Sue Grafton "W" book. Every day gets filled up so fast. It's hard to believe a retired person can be so busy.

Checking our calendar, I see that we are invited out to a friend's home for dinner in two days. We have developed a nice group of friends in the three years we've lived here. We miss our friends in South Carolina, too. Life goes better with good friends. I'll give them a call to see if I can make a dessert or salad for the meal. I have a new recipe for a strawberry pie that is delicious. Another friend made one the other day and we liked it a lot. Sharing recipes is a smart activity.

A letter from a reader pointed out to me that I use the words "I," "me," and "my" a lot in my columns. Gee whiz, dear reader (I'd call him/her by name, but he/she wasn't polite enough to include that), MY columns are intended to talk about MY life and experience. I would find it hard to write in the second or third person. Lighten up a little and stop counting pronouns. Try reading the column for the content. If it bugs you, YOU have MY permission to skip MY column and read something else instead.

There is a small photo staring at me from the library shelf. It is of a group of young friends standing in our front yard. It must have been taken around 1950. My sisters and I are 3 of the group. Remembering my childhood in Mauch Chunk, PA is always fun. Our neighborhood gang used to play outside until it got dark. My Mom would stand out on the second floor porch and call our names -"Ginny, Judy, and Natalie, come home now." We never had to hear those words twice. We knew better. We'd run into the house, up the cellar steps, and begin our nightly rituals. We always ran very fast through the cellar because it was dark and we just knew there were spiders or other creepy things down there.

Well, the morning noises have begun. Birds are singing and I can hear golf carts riding down the street toward the golf course and the gym. Pretty soon I'll see the walkers heading around the corner. The day has started. Have a good one.

If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at her e mail address: jsmith1313@cfl.rr.com [1].