I have been mired in a writing slump for the past several months. The reason is diabolically simple: I only want to write about Annie. However, I have made an agreement not to do so, because she is uncomfortable being the subject of my prattling. Therefore, in an effort to snap out of my [writing] funk, I have decided to adopt the strategy that many bloggers employ during the month of April, and begin an A-Z adventure, beginning with the ever-present concept of aging. What? It’s not April? Sue me.
Brother, Can You Lend Me a Hand?
Aging is a good-news, bad-news proposition. The bad news is I’m getting old; the good news is I’m getting old. Yes, it’s a double-edged sword. I have always maintained that a person either gets old or dies. Not very profound, but at least it helps to recognize this fact, when struggling to merely stand up, after being seated for a spell, or when trying to get one’s boots on.
I have aches and pains associated with getting old. I have heard about this process all my life. My esteemed mother (now ninety years young and still going strong in her apartment in Willits) used to tell us when we were small, that we would come home from school one day, and find that she had turned into a pile of bones, right in the middle of the kitchen floor.
One of my most vivid recollections of my eighth grade school year, is having my father take me and JT aside, and having him inform us that, unless we pitched in and helped her, Mama would not survive her pregnancy, a condition that produced my youngest brother, Kevin. Papa warned us that Mama had a heart condition that robbed her of her strength and was likely to result in an early demise, unless she got the help she needed. I remember re-prioritizing my life, so as to help JT do the breakfast dishes every morning, before we left for school. Mama turned forty-four that year and I have no doubt that Papa firmly believed that what he told us was true.
Now, as I travel through my sixtieth year of life, I experience the pitfalls of the aging process. Having retired from teaching in the middle school in 2006, I have found it necessary to return to the construction industry, in order to keep financially solvent. The irony is that I worked in this field from 1982 until the start of my teaching career, and only stopped because of the toll being taken on my body. I suffered from back issues, which cropped up frequently enough to require that I seek employment in a more sedentary manner. Hence, I returned to the classroom and obtained my teaching credential.
Now that I have been back pounding nails for several years, what about those issues which caused me to stop in the first place? Have they magically dissipated? What do you think? I am twenty-four years older and immersed in a young man’s game. I am not going to regale you with tales of youthful vigor and enthusiasm. One does what one has to in order to get by. I am only going to assert that there is plenty of work, and that with Casey, my thirty-year-old son, I have made a strong comeback, with modifications.
Modifications? indubitably. For instance, I rarely work more than six hours a day, and frequently it’s more like four hours. When I work with Casey, he has my back, and does not allow me to do the heavy lifting and toting. When I am working by myself, I take the necessary precautions to allow me to get through the time I have set aside, without injuring myself. It seems to be working out pretty well.
Yes, my knees give me grief; yes my surgically repaired right shoulder is cranky; and yes, my left hip reminds me constantly that I am sixty years old. The up side is that I am now maintaining two households, our home up here on the mountain, and an abode in the city of Willits, an hour to the south of Bell Springs. I derive a great deal of satisfaction, knowing I can still accomplish that which needs to be done, in order to provide for the needs of my sweetest of apple blossoms, as well as my own.
You either get old, or you die. Right now, I am enjoying the ride too much to bail out on life, so what the heck? I will keep plugging along until my time arrives. Until then, you will not hear me whine about getting old, or how much my body hurts. No one wants to hear it, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway.
Hey, can you grab one end of that twenty-foot two by six? It’s so green it must have been milled this morning. Thanks, I needed that...