Getting Old My Way
It’s hard to believe that autumn is just around the corner. It seems just the other day I was sweating my way through mowing the grass on the first “official” weekend of summer – that would be Memorial Day Weekend for those of you who don’t live in the USA.
I don’t know why but this time of year, the trees look kind of a fuzzy green. They’re getting old. And so am I. With autumn right around the corner, I decide to move some logs to the wood pile. These were old logs – probably rotten now – that I had toted from Heaven knows where to the garden that I painstakingly laid out decades ago.
The logs were heavy. They were much heavier taking them out than I remember them being when I put them in. They should be lighter – they’re decaying for goodness sake. I’d like to tell you they were water-logged and therefore actually heavier now, but the fact is, I’ve grown old over the couple decades. Those logs I hauled in and an laid around the garden as a neat and thrifty border long ago toted in a lot easier than they toted out.
After decades of planting gardens, weeding gardens, tending gardens, watering gardens, cursing gardens, fighting bugs, plant diseases and too much rain,, too little rain, too much cold, too much heat, frost, floods, drought, deer eating up everything and so on, I decided that I had had enough of gardens.
Enough! I said to myself. I talk to myself more and more these days. No one else will talk to me. Even my kids text me instead of call me:
Hey dad! U wanna go 2 lunch some day?
Enough of that… back to the garden. Every year I’ve threatened to give up the garden… to not till it up and let the thing get overgrown with weed. Then I would mow over the weeds with the lawn mower and be done with it.
After year after year I was going to do this, but never did. I have come close. I toted the logs away, then toted them back – they become heavier each year – waterlogged I tells ya.
Finally, this year I decided to actually go through with it. Why? Because I am old. But age brings with it more than saggy skin, aches, pains, droopy bellies and eyes… it brings with it – wisdom. I figured out that last year I spent about $200 growing about $15 worth of tomatoes- what can I say? It was a bad year for tomatoes? Well, really t was. I am not that bad of a gardener. Just getting old.
Figuring in money I spent for adding more topsoil, organic fertilizer, non-organic fertilzer, organic bug stuff, homemade bug stuff, water, plants, seeds and those kinds of things. I planted about 30 tomato plants. The deer ended up eating them all. They go them free. I made a lot of deer happy – but I ended up about a little basket for myself. Barely enough to make a couple of BLTs – that’s a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich if you come from someplace other than places where they make BLTs.
A wise man knows when to say when. I am not growing anymore gardens. I am not going to intentionally or unintentionally feed any more deer, no matter how cute they are. I don’t have anything against deer. I would never kill one. I would never eat one. Live and let live – that’s me.
And NO! Don’t even say the word FENCE. I’m not going to bring in even more logs or posts to build a fence. Heck, it would have to 8 feet high to keep the deer out. This year, I’m older but even wiser.
This year I’ve forged ahead with my plan this year. I’ve got no garden, but I’ve got tomatoes. I’ve got a new lawn mower and garden is now a patch of nicely trimmed and still-green weeds. The grass is brown, but the weeds are green. It’s been a dry summer.
But following through with my plan this year was not easy. Not easy at all! Logs. Logs. Logs.
Logs. Those stupid logs. Those logs that went in so easy all those years ago, had to be toted away so that I could ride my lawnmower over the “garden”, which this year has happily gone to weeds. And I’m thankful for that. The deer? Not so much.
Anyway, earlier this year, I nearly killed myself try to tote those water-logged logs away. I grabbed that first log with every intention of picking it up and throwing it in a pile of trash I’d been building. I could barely lift the darn thing. When I toted those logs in I was carry them two at a time, with enough wind left to sing “Eleanor Rigby”. But this year, I was barely able to drag the logs out of there one at a time. I did four of them – dragging them slowly, one at at time, huffing and puffing. I sat down on a lawn chair gasping for air and trying to ignore the pain shooting through my lower back.
Four logs was nothing… there were six more logs to go. I stood there, hands on my hips, looking at those logs like a man about to climb Mount Everest without a Sherpa. Four more logs, I sagged into the lawn chair out of breath- oh yes, old, and out of shape. But wiser.
I looked over at my work and groaned from both misery and from a happy thought: Only two more logs to go.
Someone once said, and I can’t remember who, because my mind is going, something like “you can’t be a sissy and grow old”. I so agree with that. If you’re not tough you’re never going to make through old age. Getting old is tough. Really tough. Really, REALLY tough I tells ya.
Two more logs to go…. I remember I got up out of the chair, still wheezing and aching and moved the last two logs and put them on the heap big pile of trash. The pile of trash has been growing now for a few year. City won’t let me burn it, and I’m too old to haul it away. My neighbors don’t like it, but I don’t like them either. Kidding.
Text my kids:
Hey! Help. I have a pile of trash I need help moving.
“Dad. Sorry. The cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon…”
Use to love that song.
Resting in my lawn chair, surveying the growing pile of trash, I remember the day I went over to the log store and bought ten brand new, telephone-pole-sized -not really – logs, tossed them – with youthful ease – into the back of my old pick-up truck and took them home. Then I carried them two at a time from the truck to garden until I had all ten situated around the garden Perfect. Whiste while you work.
After tossing the logs into the truck, then driving home and toting them from the truck to the garden and placing them around the edges as a border, I went on a 3-mile, 18-minute run. When I got home, I did 100 push ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 pull ups. Then I merrily squirted off the sweat with a long squirt of cold water fresh from the old garden hose. And went out and mowed the one-acre lawn with a push mower. And after all of that, i had nary a pain nor any signs of heavy labored breathing.
Those were the days my friend…
I must mention, to keep things on the sunny side of things, having pushed my old flabby body to its limits this year moving those logs and decommissioning my garden, I didn’t drop dead with a heart attack or stroke. I survived! It’s kind of like winning a fight!
Every day above ground is a GOOD day!
I’m wiser now. I think deep thoughts about how time takes its toll on everything – except wine, cheese, and honey.
I have thought about getting back into shape, maybe even do a bit of jogging, but even thinking that kind of stuff exhausts me and I quickly come to my senses.
There’s a lot of things I won’t do or can’t do, but you know what? One thing I’ll never do, is allow myself to fall into the routine that I call the “waiting to die” routine. I’m not ever going to retire. Why should I? So I can sit around wondering what day it is, watching re-runs of “Gunsmoke”, “M*A*S*H.” or “Bonanza”– may the Cartwrights rest in peace — drinking prune juice, putting everything I eat in a blender first, siting around for hours on park benches feeding pigeons and all the other things that are so stereotypical of aging. Or as I call it “the waiting to die” syndrome. It’s not for me. No matter how bad I huff & puff or how sore may back get. I’m never giving up.
I think we should all keep on keeping on and never give up, no matter how heavy those old logs my be, or how out of breath we get – or how sore we get. We’re all going to go sometime, but why spend years worrying about it and preparing for it?
Just get up every morning and thank God you’ve got another new day to live. And remember: Every day above ground is a good day.
Life is good no matter what.
Getting old is easy if you do it my way.