Down the Road a Piece

By MILT GROSS | Jul 20, 2014

Growing old

I think I may be growing old. Two things happened today that make me think that direction. One, I took Faith and her husband, Paul, his mother, and a couple of young men who are Paul’s cousins out to breakfast at the Riverside Cafe.

I found myself looking at myself as I limped in -- due to Uncle Arthur’s taking up residence in my hip -- and managed to get seated, hard to do, like I were an old guy. Maybe I am. Isn’t that how it works? The old guy takes the family out. They have fun. He sits and wonders and pays for it.

The other thing we did today was give our canoe and electric motor away to Paul and Faith, helped them load it on the car. And said goodbye to it as we drove away from the breakfast restaurant in different directions, me toward home and them toward a camp in which they’re staying a few days on Graham Lake.

Dolores thinks I can no longer climb into the canoe because of my ailing hip. But I did last year. She also has grown tired of helping me load it on the car. This also makes me feel old.

Old has disadvantages. I can’t walk as fast as I used to, but I still volunteer with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club. Only these days I do it from home in front of the computer instead of banging my way through the puckerbrush.

I also feel old when people hold doors open for me at stores and restaurants. I explain to them that this is why I carry the walking stick. Not that I need it, but it gets people to open doors for me. They understand and chuckle, but I see in their eyes they’re glad they’re not getting old. What a surprise they have coming!

Being old does have an advantage. You’re not worrying about your career. What will you do the rest of your life? When I’m done my “retirement job,” I’ll retire. I can just live and enjoy things as a retired guy. Social Security makes that possible.

Also, I’ll have more time to write. I have a mystery manuscript out somewhere now. But I wish I had more time to write. I’ve started on a second one about the same character, who is 41, not getting old at all. And I’ve got a couple more started, but if I could get old enough and get retired, I could write more.

I wouldn’t mind being the oldest writer in Maine to have a book published. I wouldn’t have minded being the youngest either, but that didn’t happen because I had to work. I wasn’t retired.

I remember my father growing older. That was not pleasant to watch, but he did, and he eventually died of bone cancer that apparently doctors didn’t bother to check for in those days in the 1980s. After all, he was growing old, so maybe it didn’t matter if he licked the cancer or not. He did not. He was 87, when he died.

My mother was 96, brought down by a blood cancer.

As for me, I may be growing old, but I have memorized my age years ago, and now I have it down pat for those who ask.

I’m twenty-nine and a half.

But growing older.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014


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