My granny, a Cherokee woman from another century, used to tell me, and anyone else that would listen, ” you’re only as old as you feel.” She had a good point. She lived into her 90s and seemed to feel good most of her life, even though every meal she cooked was in bacon grease and hog fat. She would take-back those wise words if she could see her oldest grandson now.
I stared at the reflection in my bathroom mirror this morning and said, “Dad, is that you?” Who is this old guy? My grandmothers’ words came back to me, but in this case, she is dead damn wrong.
I guess 73 years old is a milestone of sorts. I have already outlived my father, that passed at 72, so I got a year up on him. The odd thing is that I, or so folks tell me, don’t look 73. “Oh, look at yeeew, I swear yeeew could pass for 55 if not a day older; bless your heart.” Words like that make an old guy feel proud for a few minutes, nothing more.
My grandfather, my dad’s pop, passed on when I was ten years old. Born in 1891, he looked as old when I was a wee-one as he did when he left us. Early pictures from the 1930s showed him with white hair and wrinkly skin. The man was born old but never aged after that. Maybe that’s the gene I inherited. He came out of the womb with whiskers, white hair, and a Daniel Boone pocket knife used for whittling and sharpening pencils. Strange things like this happen in the south, especially in Texas. Our state is shrouded in mystery and could be a part of the Twilight Zone.
My wife, a few years younger than me, is of good German and Irish stock from the hills of Pennsylvania. She wasn’t born in Texas but got here as quick as she could via her wandering parents. She has but a little gray hair and very few wrinkles, and her eyes are bright, and her nose is cold. We’ve both had our medical maladies lately, each suffering through major back operations, cleaned-out knee joints, and other minor nuisances.
Speaking for myself, I may hold the family record if one exists; my sister is checking the family bible just to be sure. A case of prostate cancer back in 2019, and I thought it was clear sailing after that. No such luck. Now, the good stuff; three ear surgeries on both ears, a cute little prostate operation, as if the cancer didn’t do enough damage, major back surgery that included a lot of stainless steel parts, and next week major nerve and leg surgery to correct drop foot caused by the back surgery with all the parts. All of this is within a twelve-month period. Now, I will kiss your hiney and buy you a Whataburger if that ain’t a record of some kind; and I’m still ambulating, but with a fancy cane from the Walmart.
Sympathy or donations via the mail is not the goal of this story but letting other readers know what the future holds if you’re a young whipper snapper. Better start saving your cash, suck it up and get ready for the big show. The good news is; I still have all my luxurious white hair, which makes me look like a TV preacher. Amen, brother.