I’m not young anymore

Two deer were crossing a section of an open field behind our house. There is a small valley a few hundred feet away where deer hang out and bed down at night.

My wife and I enjoy the aura of nature around us: lots of hardwoods and pines and an ample covering of dogwoods. I am reminded of the farm back home when I was a kid. 

We recently screened in our back porch anticipating the pesky mosquitoes, when warm weather arrives.

I watched several hawks spiraling over the woods honing in on dinner somewhere under the thick canopy of leaves.

A long-time friend called me last week suggesting we meet for lunch to celebrate our birthdays. I turned 90 years old in April and I’m skittish about being a nonagenarian. I know I am beyond my life expectancy but I’m in good shape so I haven’t even thought about the inevitability of aging.

Surveying the flowering shrubbery in the back yard, I strangely began to have mental flashbacks of long ago recalling my early days. Then suddenly my memory was overpowered with events from the Great Depression; massive unemployment, soup lines, time of turmoil and strife, so long ago.

Reflectively my mind raced back almost a century recalling the chores my grandfather assigned me with an admonition, “If you want to eat you have to work,” gathering eggs, milking the cow, weeding the garden, cleaning out stalls in the barn.

I still remember my grandmother cooking rabbit and turtle stew with the tastiest gravy.

I made my kites with newspaper. I made sling-shots. I built my own stilts. There were no big-shopping malls. Plastic junk was unknown.

Our telephone was a party-line and I recall my grandfather often scolding someone for talking too long.

A little dismayed I began to think about the super experiences I have had during my lifetime realizing that I will never play golf in Augusta again, co-host a wilderness documentary for GPTV, canoe a wild river or climb another mountain.

I have always felt indestructible, capable of acquiring anything I needed. I got stuck with a sack of rocks sometimes but I always survived the burden. 

I have suffered three panic attacks; Nazi subs in mid-Atlantic, a likelihood of bankruptcy in 1991 and then that realization that I was no longer young. Age 90 is old and my 90th birthday has past. During my life 90 was a vague number. Now it was my birthday - a very long road in between.

It was like getting hammered by a tsunami of reality. The end of my life is approaching! I am no longer young! Statistics predict I have five years to live. I will do a lot of family hugging. I’ll miss the wonders I have seen in life and the love I have known.

Upset by the prospect of the end of my life I began walking thru my neighborhood. After a few blocks, I suddenly realized that I was not alone: each neighbor will unavoidably be headed in the same direction; no one escapes the old man with the scythe.

It is due to the inspiration and support from my wife that the inevitable day is being delayed a while longer.  

York is a WW II navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at: Sioux2222@gmail.com




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