Larry M. Jones
Growing older certainly has its share of trials and tribulations, along with perturbations and permutations, yet I’m sorely (no pun intended) convinced that it beats the alternative. Some time ago I saw the following quote by writer Malcolm Cowley:
“Put cotton in your ears and pebbles in your shoes.
Pull on rubber gloves.
Smear Vaseline over your glasses,
and there you have it: instant old age.”
There are many additions to the list that could be made. We could include bathroom habits, eating habits, memory problems, stamina, strength, agility, romance, and both wanted and unwanted hair. Yet, Mr. Cowley’s list pretty well sums it up.
While the infirmities of advancing age will certainly take their toll on all of us, we can fight back with our minds and attitudes. It’s a medically known fact that a positive and cheerful attitude has great medicinal value. Maintaining a positive outlook is very difficult for some of us, so we need to step back and take the time to reflect and take inventory of all the good things in our lives. My wife Helen is always chiding me about being so negative and seeking fault in everything. This comes from years of experience in looking for problems in need of correction. Sometimes it’s best to quit worrying about a half-full glass and savor the pleasure we had while drinking the top half.
Several years ago an old Navy buddy gave Helen and me a gift that sums up life on the Pore Farm. It was a stone tablet that says: “A Good Rain and a New Calf Are Always Welcome on This Farm.” I would offer an additional addendum. When we receive such blessings, we should take the time to recognize and appreciate them. Last week, I was given exactly such a gift — a good rain and a baby calf. Actually, in a recent five-day period, I received a wonderful rain and five healthy black-faced baldy calves. In addition, I got an excellent last cutting of fragrant green Coastal hay baled on my largest hay field.
As we age it is easy to focus only on our aches and pains, lack of energy, and lost youth. For many of us, it begins the moment we “spring” out of bed each morning. It is then that we realize that one leg is asleep, the other one has a Charley horse, you have a crick in your neck, you can’t get your breath, you stubbed your toe last night going to the bathroom, and you’re not sure you’re going to make it to the bathroom in time this morning. Walking out to the driveway to pick up the paper is a chore.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be at work at 7 a.m., you can drink coffee and have breakfast as you read the paper. At this time, you can plan your day. Are you going to take a pre-nap before lunch and wait for the main event afterward? What can you postpone until tomorrow?
It’s sometimes hard, but we can choose to always make our glasses half-full. For me I got a good rain, a new calf and good lab results from my doctor. Yes, it was a good week indeed.
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy Commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.