Little Things Mean a Lot
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by Laramie Boyd
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Are you ready for this? When you approach 80 years of age, and your wife of 57 years is
78, you sometimes do funny things. Some things that you do you don't like to admit to, as they are disappointing and embarrassing
to say the least. And then there are the things you do that are sometimes commonplace in that others do them, and they are also inconsequential,
but when paired with the other "senior moments," they take on an importance that's not so hard to justify. A man has to know his limitations
but they're very hard to admit to when there are so many of them cropping up in the later years.
As a regular routine, while searching for any new e-mails my kids might have sent, I look at the time in the lower right hand corner
of my PC. This reminds me to wind the mini - grandfather clock on the wall. I'm always proud of myself when I remember to do this.
Sometimes, if I forget, the den clock doesn't register time for several days. I'm always glad when I twist the key 12 times. That
sets the clock for another 2 weeks. Another job well done.
Monday is trash day at the Boyd
house. The trucks that come by late in the day pick up the recyclable container first, filled with things like paper, bottles, plastic,
anything that can be treated and used over. So I spend a lot of time cutting up cardboard boxes brought home from shopping at Costco.
It's always a good feeling when all the pieces fit in the barrel. The other container on the Monday pick-up is for household trash,
like coffee grounds, meat bones, peelings, anything you wouldn't like to see again, even in another form. I usually tie these items
in plastic bags. I suppose its better to do this than throw the household trash in loose and save the plastic bags for the recyclable
container. It's a funny thing. Often during the week we pack up and deliver more trash to the nearby trash dumpsters than we set out
on Mondays. There's only two of us at home, so where does all the trash come from? Trash days are fun days at the Boyd house.
Having the paper delivered every morning can be a traumatic experience. Number one, it better be on time. I've spent hours standing
in the driveway at 5:00 A.M., pacing and gnashing my teeth wondering where in &%#@* the paper is and why it's late. The wife and
I have headlines to read, sports results to see, puzzles to solve. And we don't have all day to do it in. To top that off, waiting
for late mail in the afternoon is even worse. We pay that mailman's salary, and he's probably off somewhere eating donuts and drinking
coffee. At least I hope it's coffee, and here we are cooling our heels in the hot desert sun, waiting for our social security checks
and letters from the kids. What's that Postmaster's phone number again? I'll give him a piece of my mind. But then, when the mail
finally arrives, it's only a life insurance ad and a brochure from the Neptune Society, promoting the low cost, convenience, and ecological
benefits of cremation. We'll have to think about those things sometime down the road, when we get old.
A special time of day for me is making breakfast. I've got a routine down pat and I don't want anyone interfering with it. Turn on
the stove, fill the pot with the right amount of water and Kona coffee, no more, no less, get the oatmeal out of the cupboard, get
a mixing spoon, wait 'til the water boils, put in 2 cups of meal, stir, turn the heat to low, put the lid on, and wait. And the coffee
and oatmeal need to be in the same place each morning. It's bad enough having to eat that gruel each day, never mind upsetting my
routine. Then, once in a while, after all this preparation, I forget, the pot boils over, and I spend half an hour cleaning up the
mess. Breakfast is always the best time of day.
This morning I spent 25 minutes in the
closet, standing and staring at my array of golf shirts and pants. I had an 8:15 starting time to play and I wanted to look sharp.
I wasn't sure which color combination was best, and lately I wasn't playing good, so at least I wanted to look good. Dressing smartly
is part of the mystique of golf. After trying on several combinations, I finally settled on a matching set, dressed, and on the way
out I passed a mirror to admire myself. But, I didn't like what I saw, so I retreated to the closet and changed into the first outfit
I had tried earlier. A man has a right to change his mind doesn't he?
And then there's
the times I lost the gadget I keep in my pocket that turns the volume of my hearing aids up or down, and I've misplaced those hearing
aids time and time again. Sometimes I end up down on the floor, foraging under the sofa, looking in drawers, and once I even dove
head first into a trash barrel in search of my "doors to the outside world." One time, when I was looking after a neighbor's house
while they were gone, I left their house key inside and locked the door behind me. Later that day I put a quart of milk in the cupboard
instead of the refrigerator, I don't know how many times I have misplaced my partial that covers the gaps where some of my teeth are
missing. This always calls for another hunting trip under some piece of furniture wherever I last sat. Luckily, I haven't dropped
my hearing aids or partial down the garbage disposal yet.
The incident that tops them all
I've told to very few people. And some of these friends, members of a younger crowd, don't really relate to what I tell them. One
day I was driving my golf cart back from the Clubhouse and nearing home. And here's the disturbing part. The next thing I recall,
that's right, the next thing I recall, I was walking out the front door of my house and there in the middle of the street was my golf
cart. Why it was there or what occurred after I got out of it, went into the house, and came out, I had no idea. That was spooky!
And so goes the foibles of the "golden years." Losing keys and other things, forgetting names, misplacing valuables, one disappointing,
even sometimes scary, "senior moment" after another. There's the frequent appearances in public with a zipper down, the occasional
incontinence, and the only saving grace in it at all, for me, is to try to see the humor in it, to laugh when tears might be called
for, and understood, even when others around you, especially your family, have misgivings about your mental stability and future.
One does not like to admit to what may be just around the corner. These beautiful words by M.Wylie Blanchet in "The Curve of Time"
seem to be popping up in my mind lately. "Destiny rarely follows the pattern we would choose for it," and it "often shapes our lives
in ways we could not imagine." But who, me? Losing it? Why, I'm just as capable and alert as I was 20 years ago.
"Dear, have you seen my hearing aids, or my mouth partial, or the car keys? I can't seem to find them anywhere."