It depends on what stage of life you happen to be in, as to what you think about the other person’s age. My mother lived to be 95. She would tell something about “this old lady” or “that old man,” then smile and say, “Well, I guess I’m older than they are.”

Mom never considered herself as being old. More than once while she was at the doctor’s office or having a medical test, she asked, “Are you even out of school?” Because she thought the doctor or technician looked so young.

One young man grinned and said, “And yes, I have even graduated medical school.”

I worked with a woman who was much older (I was the youngest employee at that time) and who said, “You are as young as you think you are.” She, too, never thought she was old.

When we are young, the years drag by, especially the years right before we turn 16. “Will I ever be 16, so I can get my driver’s license?” Maybe it was more difficult for me because I was the baby of the family and the youngest (one of the youngest) in my class. Now kids can drive with a licensed driver at 15. I would have been in heaven. I’ll have to admit I drove quite a bit prior to my 16th birthday. A farm kid has to drive the truck to go get supplies and stuff, right! Or for a bottle of sodie pop over at Hood’s Store. Yes, you’re right, I am confessing to some of the antics I pulled when I was a youngster.

I thought my great-aunts and -uncles were ancient. I now have great-nieces and -nephews. A few years ago, I figured up my age as compared with my great-uncles and -aunts, and I was older than they were when I was a young sprout. Don’t you figure my nieces and nephews think I’m older than dirt?

Like I shared before in this column, following my little talk to the second-graders, a girl hugged me and said, “Bye old lady with glasses.” I never felt old until I volunteered in a third grade class when my children were in grade school. The students were required to call me Mrs. Smith and treat me with great respect, as if I were my mother’s age.

My oldest nephew was born when I was 12. I held him on the way home from the hospital, and I helped my sister with him for the first few days she was home. When he turned 50, he called and asked if I knew what birthday it was for him. I replied that I didn’t want to hear it. I guess if you don’t admit you are 62, then you don’t have to be 62.

During a conversation with a fellow who also attended Fair Grove School, the year each of us graduated was discussed. “I’m not old enough to be out of school 56 years,” I told him. He also agreed that it was not possible that so many years had flown by since he graduated.

I’ve written poems using old age as the premise. I hope you enjoy this one I titled “Aging.”

It seems as though, as I grow old, a lot of things go wrong. I ache right here, I ache right there, it’s just the same old song.

My leg begins to ache up here, ’cause circulation's bad, it even cramps some in the night, the worst I ever had.

My eyesight, that’s another thing, at forty it left me. I do all right near all the time, unless I need to see.

I sag right here, I sag right there, I sag near everywhere. I was quite perky in my day, a fact I thought I’d share.

My memory is still intact, it is, at least I think? I’m still, I guess, in my right mind, hey, what was that strange wink?

My knees, they haven't gone quite yet. I ’spect they will real soon. Most everybody’s does, you know, should exercise at noon.

I hear quite well, almost too well; I hear each little sound. I turn the TV down real low, I love the peace I’ve found.

The hair that grows upon my chin, grows long before my eyes. I tweeze it out, it grows right back, I hope someday it dies.

I have a bunion like my gram, oh, hers were really bad. I wear soft shoes, no more high heels. I loved them, it is sad.

The stores are filled with young girl’s stuff. It’s stuff I wouldn’t wear. Those low slung pants, and midriff tops, not even on a dare.

My hair is brown, thanks to the dye, the dye the girl puts on. She swabs it on, she lets me sit, I love the do I don.

My hands look old, just like my Mom’s, as wrinkled as can be. I’m not complaining ’bout this one, I loved her hands, you see.

When I was young, so long ago, my stomach was near flat. As I have aged, it pouches out, now, please don’t you look at.

My mind, I mentioned way up there, the wink you winked right then, was it a wink that you agreed, or is my mind worn thin?

(2) comments

Frank Berry

My first inkle I was getting old came to me 30 years ago when I passed a policeman driving his car up Barnes Avenue where I used to live. The boy, or police officer I should say, appeared to me to be about 14 or !5. I shook my heard and said, "I'm getting old Lord!"

Frank Berry

Excellent article! It made me wonder if you possibly may have had a few nephews and nieces older than you. I did. Two of them. Kids on the Greenfield playground thought I was fibbing about being an older child's uncle!

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