Mr. Wonderful hit his Four Score year at the end of December. And how did the Birthday Boy spend his big day? Negotiating up the Maine Turnpike through a snow squall to an orthopedic medical center so his wife could get a cortisone shot in her butt for a sciatic nerve gone badly rogue.
And his wife? I was flopped on the back seat Xanaxed out. Gone-zo. A friend had suggested I’d like the shot a whole lot better if I “took a pill.” It worked. For all I knew, Mr. W. could have been taking me to see “La La Land” at the multiplex, but I was already there.
So here we are today, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, doing our damnedest to divert the kids from singing the praises of the Whispering Pines Assisted Living facility or strapping Life Alert monitors around our necks. Seriously, when I get my stories a little confused or call my 14-year-old grandson Maddie, I hear my son-in-law Tim whisper, “Alex, start mixing the mashed potatoes.”
Let’s face it: W. and I are old. When I was in my 20s, I thought someone in their 80s was a candidate for mummification. Now I look and see “my” someone in his 80s playing great golf, writing musical children’s books on his MacBookPro, painting Maine landscapes and composing songs on the baby grand. He’s a marvel!
Okay, there are moments when someone’s octogenarianism might jar the conversation. Last week we were dining out with good pals when the husband mentioned cooking lamb shanks for dinner guests. “Lamp shades?” Mr. W. gasped. We all quickly realized that the battery on his Miracle Ear hearing aid had gone kaput.
We groan our way out of bed each morning, buy economy size jugs of Tylenol 8HR Arthritis Pain pills and huff-and-puff a little climbing the stairs. At the practice range, we hit golf balls amidst a plaintive philharmonic about sore shoulders, hurting hips, frozen fingers. No one we know is walking around declaring, “Man, I feel great!”
Here’s another sadder reality. We’ve already said goodbye to too many contemporaries. Dear and lifelong pals who graced our lives no longer sit at our dining room table. Each month, or so it seems, we lose another friend, some not as old as us. “Youngsters,” we think. That hurts.
I remember my mother saying, Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. We have no choice. We have to laugh and we have to look at our lives with positive attitudes because WE ARE STILL HERE! Honestly, what’s there to complain about?
So…. we are reading best sellers on our Kindles and contemplating a trip to Nashville. Mr. W. gave me snowshoes for Christmas and I look forward to trekking the golf course some snowy February morning. He’s eying a new driver he’s positive will add 15 yards to his tee shots. We WILL buy green bananas and stone-hard avocados.