Archive for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting older has its upside

January 18, 2012

Since I’m nearing three-fourths of a century in age, I have noticed there are some things that I no longer do. Now, the cause may well be old age or losing some mobility due to a stroke. No matter what the cause, there are some things that I used to do have that have passed into the realm of memories. No, I’m not sorry that I can’t do some of them. In fact, I’m overjoyed.

One such task is climbing a ladder. While I believe I could master the steps of a ladder, I’m sure that I would never get the stamp of approval of my wife/therapist. Probably some of the problem is that she never thought I was very safe on a ladder in the old days. I disagreed with her, and I would hold on with one finger while standing on one foot stretching to clean the gutters. For some reason she thought that was a safety violation. But, on the other hand I am not going to miss gutter cleaning.

We used to hang a very large Christmas wreath in the foyer over the stairs, but that’s gone too. After all, I thought just a little danger added to the adventure of holiday decorating. No, as far as I’m concerned, ladders are a thing of the past.

I doubt that I will ever paint a room again, and it won’t be anything I miss. I had a problem when it came to painting — oftentimes there was more on me than on the wall. I think the painting problem started early in my life, when I couldn’t color within the lines. The last time we painted a house was when we lived on Allcutt. That was 21 years ago and my safety practices were severely questioned. No, I don’t think I’ll come out of “painting retirement.” I’m sure that I will never be up on the roof ever again either.

During the past year, digging holes to plant trees, etc., has become a memory. It was never spring until I had dug a hole, wrestled out a rock or planted a bush. I’m not going to say that I won’t master the skill again, and I will have to see what will happen next spring. In the old days I counted myself fortunate to be able to put my shovel in the ground without hearing the dull klunk of my shovel hitting a rock. Instead of Bonner Springs, I think the town should have been named “Rocky Springs.”

To be honest, I will miss some gardening chores. I have hauled countless wheelbarrows loaded with topsoil or mulch to the garden area, and I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Besides, I used to haul dirt in my faithful red pickup truck, and I don’t have it anymore. I’m sure that I can figure out a way to do more outside, particularly since I’ve mastered mowing.

Frankly, I hope we don’t have much snow this winter. I think if I tried to shovel the driveway, I would slide down to the end of the block. Certainly, I never have liked snow or ice and I like it even less now. I can fall easily enough without dealing with ice and snow.

There is one area that I miss, well sort of, and that is participating in sports. I can no longer glide across the outfield and make a running catch, and I can no longer hit a long drive to left field. Well, to be honest, I could never do that in the first place since I always ran in one place too long. I did umpire for many years and again, I kind of enjoyed it. Now, my knees are far too creaky to kneel behind the catcher, and I certainly couldn’t run to a base to make a play. I think that it would be funny to see a geezer with a cane trying to make it to third base in time to make a call.

I coached Kerry Roberts Basketball until 10 years ago, but I doubt I could run the drills with the players. I really enjoyed coaching, and I have a lot of great memories. Who knows? I might try it again. If Bill Snyder can coach, maybe I could do it again, but don’t bet on it.

The one thing I do miss about sports is keeping stats. Oh, I know it would have ended this year anyway when my grandsons started playing high school football. I’m learning to be a fan, and that’s tough. I am used to the rarified atmosphere of work in the press box, but I’ll get over it. Sometimes I miss sports writing, but not all that much. I quickly remember how much work it was and quickly reconsider that thought.

The problem with being an ex-sports writer is that you have learned not to cheer. You sit stoically watching and recording the game. I think that before another season is over I’ll learn how to be a loud, cheering fan.

I still don’t go upstairs very well, but that is getting better, and besides I really don’t need to go upstairs. With a rail, I have no problem maneuvering up the stairs to the stands although I probably look awkward. Come to think of it, I am awkward. I have never been graceful.

I could go on and on, but I am just thankful that I can do a lot tasks. I’m not going to worry about what I can’t accomplish.

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