Lordy, lordy. My lovely wife Mary reached a milestone of sorts last week. For the first time in her life she was called an Old Lady!
She had gone downtown to visit a friend who runs a business and parked behind the shops on the northern end of Front Street. She was walking toward the shop when a man — “older than me, mind you” — admonished his grandchildren to behave and be quiet by saying, “Look at that nice old lady, walking in the rain. She’s not fussing and complaining.”
Well, I can tell you that nice or not, Mary doesn’t want to be known as an old lady. She is, of course, just as I am an old man. Call me a geezer, a coot, or whatever, I don’t mind.
After all, come next summer Mary will turn 74 and I made 75 just after Thanksgiving.
But me thinks the ladies look upon being called old a little differently than those of us of the testosterone persuasion.
They say — whoever they are — that men tend to age better than women. Wrinkles don’t bother us as much and we don’t have body parts that tend to lose the fight with gravity. Some of us do have drooping tummies, though.
I’ve lost most of my hair, my nose seems to be growing, my belly is a lot bigger than I’d like it to be and what’s left of my hair is mostly white. But does that affect my enjoyment of reading a good book, watching an LSU football victory or going over my stamps and coins? Not a bit.
Ladies’ self images seem to be more important to them and maybe that’s because of expectations that us menfolk have placed on the fairer sex. So it may possibly be partly our fault.
There are other signs of aging that I’m not so happy with. Getting down to retrieve something off of the floor is surely a lot slower process for me than it was a few years ago.
Sometimes, when I wake up in the middle of the night to take care of nature’s call, I find myself making those little old man steps instead of striding purposefully to the bathroom.
My endurance is not nearly as good as it was. Only a few years ago I was walking more than a mile a day. Now, because of backaches my radius of exercise is much smaller.
In some ways, Mary is much “younger” than I am. She can bend and get something off the floor with a grace that I now envy. And she gets bursts of energy that seem to have forsaken me.
But, we are trying to become comfortable with our age. We really have no choice, do we?
And as they often say, the alternative to being old is not a good alternative at all. Mother made it to 90, although she had numerous health problems in her last years.
One of my prayers in church every Sunday is for the Lord to give me and Mary a “few more good years.” I dare not specify what a few means, but one can hope that the Lord will be generous in his interpretation of my plea.