“Old man look at my life, I’m a lot like you were…” – “Old Man” by Neil Young, 1972. Off the Harvest LP.
Yesterday, I was thrown off my saddle over a statement. I really thought it was as simple as walking into a favorite fast-food place, ordering a taco salad and an enchilada plate for my wife and driving home. It turned out not to be so routine that night.
Yesterday, I visited a blog I follow, Muddling Through My Middle Age, by Ann Coleman. She entitled her entry, “I Don’t Get It.” It helped me to be courageous enough to sit down and do a jot. Thanks, Ann, for the inspiration for this. I’ll warn my younger friends here and now, you might not be able to wrap your arms around this one, just yet.
Yesterday, I was sitting in my granddad’s chair with my little dog, Tippy, on my lap. She was part Cocker Spaniel with coal black hair. She’s been with me all my life, or so it seems. She ran away when I was five. Broke my heart.
Yesterday, I was having a blast in high school. The Beatles lyric is true, “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” I think the biggest troubles I had were my grades and learning how to break-up with girlfriends gently, without all the drama. I failed the latter.
Yesterday, I found myself to be a dad for the first time. Baby Tabitha and I ate too much of her one-year birthday cake. She turned my life on its ear. I will never be the same.
Yesterday, I pursued a dream of a radio career, working with the very best. How is it I can feel more comfortable behind a mic, knowing 100,000 people are listening, than chatting with someone at a party?
Yesterday, I continued with a first love. I no longer sing and act in front of a mirror with my Bruce Lee poster looking on. I found the stage to be a friend. Ironically, in the theater realm, I have played elderly men many times. Through the years, I discovered I don’t need as much make-up for the role.
Yesterday, I was standing at the cash register as the clerk bagged my groceries. When finished, she turned to me and said, “Sir, would you like someone to carry this out to the car for you?” It caught me off guard. I’ve never been asked that before. I replied, “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, no thanks. I can deal with it.” (Then I grumbled about her obvious lack of age identity as I pushed my cart to the car, slower than yesterday.)
Yesterday, I showed up at the ticket window to buy a ticket to the brand new “American Sniper” movie, released last week. I was prepared for the flick, complete with a U.S. Navy cap on my head that once belonged to my WW II navy vet granddad. The clerk spoke through the little speaker in the window, “With your senior discount that’ll be $x.xx.” I grunted softly, but I wanted popcorn, so I didn’t argue as I pulled out my wallet.
Wait a minute! Noticed I’ve been using the word, “Yesterday.” Hmmm.
“All my best memories come back clearly to me, some can even make me cry. Just like before, it’s yesterday once more.” – Lyrics: John Bettis & Richard Lynn Carpenter.
The truth is, I bought the taco salad and enchilada plate last week, in real time. As the items were being prepped, the young employee wearing the funny hat and plastic apron said, “That’s $xx.xx, with your senior discount???????” She stated it with her inflection going up, as if she were asking a question. I said, “Sure. Why not.” In retrospect, I should’ve said, “No thanks, good-lookin’. I just graduated from my ‘senior’ year yesterday.” (Funny how she never asked for an ID.)
Maybe it’s time to say, I look like a senior citizen. (Maybe through the eyes of a 20 year old.) I don’t consider myself there yet. I can belt out a Joe Cocker tune with the best of ’em. (Oh, yeah. He’s dead now.) Not to mention, depending upon the establishment, the senior citizen menu can be for 50+, or 55+, or 60+. Who’s to say? With gusto I want to shout, “NO! I WANT TO PAY FULL PRICE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!”
“…Can the child within my heart rise above? Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?…..But time makes you bolder. Even children get older and I’m gettin’ older too.” – “Landslide” Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac
By the way, alas, my little girl, Tabitha, just celebrated her 30th birthday.
Let me leave you with this and a bit of mystery. To me, life has been like being in an inner-tube, helplessly charging down the lower rapids of the great Niagara River. (Don’t even think about it.) There’s boulders to hit and miss as the current carries you down with a power outside of yourself. All you can do is hang on as tightly as you can. The bumps, cuts and bruises are to be expected. Ooops, there’s the Devil’s Hole, right there in the bend of the rapids, a whirlpool of great speed and depth. It’s not to be tested. Many have perished by challenging its rage. Some were never seen again. (Been there, done that.) As you are carried down, eventually you are emptied into the vast depths of Lake Ontario. It’s a relatively short trip from the upper Niagara to Lake Ontario downriver. One might say, as they float out into the calmer waters of Ontario, “Wow, I was just at the Falls a few minutes ago!”
All of my yesterdays, todays and tomorrows, through the rapids of the last 57 years, there’s been a Rock keeping me afloat. Out of that immovable Rock flows fuel for the race.
“Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” – Isaiah 26:4 (NAS)