Jay Beeler

Who says that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? This past weekend I learned a few while fellow family members “shared the love” with my brother in Anacortes, Wash. Tom Beeler has been getting cancer treatments that have caused loss of hair, fatigue and some pain.

Joining the excursion from Pennsylvania were my sister, Margaret, her daughter, Susan, and son, John. We shared the rental car from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The first new trick – taught by Susan – was using the Venmo app, which allowed the fellow passengers to reimburse me for the rental cost. Venmo is a digital wallet used by 83 million people to pay and be paid by transferring money from participant’s bank accounts. It is a free, fast and safe way to transfer funds, avoiding the use of cash or checks.

The money temporarily goes into a Venmo account during the transfer process. Multiplied by 83 million users, Venmo makes some of its money from the interest on these floating funds or three percent of funds that users pay for faster payment.

The second new trick was getting from Orange County Airport to Long Beach for $1.50. After my planned ride got cancelled, I tried to order Uber or a shuttle van beforehand in Seattle, but Uber wanted $100 more than the fee that I last paid to come home from LAX and the shuttles were not available.

It took a lot longer using three different Orange County Transit buses, but I had the free time and the savings were phenomenal.


I absolutely despise traveling and the airlines are at fault by squeezing passengers together and overbooking flights. Business travel has taken me to many places in our world, except Italy, so that’s the only remaining country on my bucket list of places to visit.

My son, daughter, sister and niece want to join the adventure as part of my 80th birthday celebration on September 30th.

Although I’d be happy to fly there, have a pizza with wine, then fly home, it looks like we’ll use a centralized city as a base camp for taking a series of day trips. It would be fun to visit Pisa and have a photo taken holding up the leaning tower. Or maybe they have Pope Francis look-a-likes to photograph with, similar to the Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas.

Otherwise I am open to suggestions from readers on a city to use as a base camp and day trips to see the sights. I was relieved to learn that Italians drive on the right side of the road, should we decide to rent a car that comfortably seats five.


Only in America (a collection of observations by Carol Beckerman):

  • Do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
  • Do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries and a diet coke.
  • Do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
  • Do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.
  • Do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
  • Do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.


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