We oldsters surely get away with a lot just because we’ve managed to keep breathing longer than most folks. I will celebrate my 80th birthday tomorrow, and I’ve got it made!
If you forget somebody’s name, or an appointment, (or go on the wrong day) or what you said yesterday, just explain that you are 80, and you will be forgiven!
If you spill soup on your tie, (or on your best blouse) or forget to shave half your face (or wear your pink fluffy house shoes to the grocery store) or take another man’s hat by mistake (I once walked off with a man’s overcoat–well, it looked like mine!) or promise to mail a letter (or send out a book!) and then carry it around for a week—just say, “I’m 80 you know!” Nobody will say a thing!
Being 80 is much better than 70. At 70, people are mad at you for everything! It’s no fun at all. At that age people expect you to retire to Florida and complain about your arthritis (they used to call it lumbago.) You ask everyone to stop mumbling because you can’t understand them. (Actually your hearing is about 50 percent gone.) If you make it to 80, you can talk back, argue disagree, and insist on having your way–because everybody thinks you are getting a little soft in the head.
They say that “Life begins at 40!” It’s not true! Ask me! LIFE BEGINS AT 80!
Well, I am starting the last chapter of my life. As I look back at the years that have passed, it seems such a short journey; yet, the years were composed of days, weeks, months and years. The years seem to run together, with only major events to mark their passing. No wonder that the Bible states in Psalms 90-9, “We spend our days as a tale that is told.” Verse 12 tells us, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Until I was grown, I didn’t fully appreciate blessing of a happy home. I thought everyone had a mother and father who loved each other, and loved their children. It was only when I began writing that I discovered that there were neglected and abused children, homes with just one parent, and many dysfunctional parents. We were brought in the country, sort of isolated from the world and the grim facts of life. The neighbors’ children were brought up in basically the same way, and our childhood was happy.
My adolescent years were no more turbulent than those of my peers–moody at times, filled with daydreams, happy at times and other times full of despair. In other words, a typical teenager struggling to become an adult. If these youngsters of today, at ten and twelve years of age, experimenting with make-up and aping their older sisters, could realize how short their childhood years are, and how you are an adult for such a long, long time!
Then comes marriage (for better or for worse) and babies. Those were such frantic, work-filled days, with six children all in school at the same time. I still have nightmares of trying to get all the kids on the school bus before it pulled out. In retrospect, the years passed swiftly, but at the time, it seemed it would never end.
Then came the grandchildren–fast and furious. We ended up with 22 of them. My sister Jeannie and I were talking recently, and she mentioned, “Do you realize how God has blessed us? In our huge, extended family, we haven’t had a child who is physically or mentally challenged!” Now we have 31 great-grandchildren (including steps, but they count too.) Yes, the Lord has blessed us abundantly and we will leave our mark on posterity.
Now we are in our “golden?” years and enjoying it. Your great-grandchildren think that we know the answer to everything, and that we are the greatest invention in the world. You can indulge and spoil them, and then send them home when they get dirty. And best of all, the older you get, the less you fear death. Solomon sums it up in Ecc. 12-13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Now for another installment of BO Plenty, the skunk: The DNR did not permit the caging or fencing of wild animals, and deodorizing skunks was not permitted in the state which permitted helpless skunks from potentially escaping into the woods. So BO had free range of the house and grounds, remaining fully armed. Early on, he began spending afternoons in the wooded lot next door where Dad would turn over rocks for him as he caught the beetles and bugs of his natural diet.
Mom also fed him generously with bowls of milk, meat scraps and bread each evening. Many evenings I would return home after visiting with friends to find Mom in her rocking chair sound asleep. A magazine or book would be in her lap, also shared by a nearly mature napping skunk.
We were regular companions through the summer. BO had an excellent tracking nose, and would track me when we were separated by tall grass and come puffing up to me exactly where I stood. It became apparent that he was dreadfully nearsighted, and on several occasions I plucked him from the lake near our home when, in his myopia, he walked off the edge of the dock where I was fishing.
My teenage friends were fascinated with my unusual pet. BO accepted them as part of his family with the exception of one young lady. To demonstrate his displeasure with her presence, he would place his forepaws on his head and thump the ground repeatedly. This was surely a warning of his next move and I hastily removed him.
(To be continued)
By Christina Georgina Rossetti
Does the road wind uphill all the way?
(Yes, to the very end.)
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
(From morn to night, my friend.)
But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin?
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
(You cannot miss that inn.)
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
(Those who have gone before.)
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
(They will not keep you waiting at the door.)
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
(Of labor you will find the sum.)
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
(Yea, beds for all who come.)
(The annual Hagar Grade School reunion will be held Saturday, August 5 at the Bethel Methodist Church Fellowship Hall at Ovapa. This is a community affair also, and everyone is invited. Bring a covered dish (if you wish) and come out and enjoy the day. Welcome, one and all!)