THE YEARS GO BY

From: Meridian, ID: You know what they say: Inside every old fogey is a young person trying mightily to escape. Well, whippersnappers, it’s pretty much true. I can only speak for myself, obviously, so I will. My mind still figures – on those days when it still can do any figuring – that I have changed very little since I was a young man. Those physical changes in the mirror have come about in such tiny, incremental steps, I rarely notice them. Which means that despite the evidence to the contrary staring back from the glass, I still see a good-looking young stud. Yessir, I walk away from the mirror ready to face the day with a positive, go-get-‘em attitude. Photographs are more difficult to mentally “touch up.” They are much more permanent than mirrors, and the obvious signs of aging are generally impossible to ignore. Therefore, I don’t dwell on photos of myself, preferring, instead, to stick with the every-morning mirror gazing. (Even while doing that, however, I don’t spend long periods of time studying the image…I’ve learned that it can eventually change to portray reality in place of imagination.) But appearance is one thing…physical limitations are quite another. There is no ignoring the lower back pain, and the creaking in one’s bones. Whenever I try to read the date on my watch I recognize that I no longer possess the eyes of hawk. And even with the help of audio instruments – once called “hearing aids” – I no longer hear the hawk’s cry as he hunts in the alfalfa field behind my house. (The instruments do help with the television.) And, of course, there are a few other body parts that have gotten…shall we say…temperamental. Finally, it seems I am somewhat fatigued most of the time…for no good reason. I’ve assumed in recent years that the fatigue is just part of the aging process…old guys simply can’t go, go, go the way they (we) did, did, did when our lungs and muscles were still young and strong. But today while talking with my audio doctor, and after I told her about my upcoming installation of a defibrillator/pacemaker, she said she knows a few old guys that have had the same thing done…and they have all been amazed at how much stronger they felt, afterwards. It would be nice if I should be lucky enough to experience the same thing. Okay…I now realize that I’ve been whining…something else that is probably too typical among old people. In truth, I know full well that I am very lucky to be on my feet and able to function more normally than otherwise. I know there are lots and lots of folks – older, younger, and in between – that would be overjoyed to be in my shoes, health-wise. Just sayin’. Still, one can’t be blamed too much for fondly remembering the days of his youth, can one?

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One thing that often creates wonder in the minds of young people is when Grandpa tells them of the things that weren’t around when he was their age. You know what I mean…when I actually was their age, it was difficult for me to comprehend my own grandparents when I was told there were no airplanes when they were young…nor automobiles, for that matter. Now my own grandchildren have the same incredulity in their eyes when I tell them television wasn’t around when I was small. (“No way, Grampa! Really? How did you watch Barney and Sesame Street?”) The concept of having no Internet or Smart Phones is too far beyond their ability to imagine. I can remember the first microwave oven I ever saw. It was being demonstrated at the Longview, Washington Fair of 1959. There was quite a crowd of us, standing around watching a fellow “zap” single strips of bacon. (I suppose he was trying to sell the units, but I know I didn’t have enough money to buy one, even had I been so inclined.) A fellow named Percy Spencer is credited with inventing the device, sometime shortly after WWII. The Tappan Company made the first consumer model in the early fifties, I’m told. The one I saw at the fair was probably one of these. It was quite bulky…and, as I alluded above, quite expensive. Nevertheless, they caught on pretty quickly and, like most new electronic gizmos, the price began coming down within a very short space of time. Television sets came along a bit earlier than microwave ovens…before I had learned to walk, for sure. But they, too, were almost prohibitively expensive before WWII. I know our family didn’t have one until 1955…it had a black and white picture, of course. But it was, in a word, wonderful! Looking back on it, it’s a wonder we all didn’t ruin our eyesight watching those grainy, gray moving shadows on such a tiny screen. (But then, we didn’t watch it near so much in those olden days.) We’ve come a long way since then, hey? Now I hear that “Super HD” is the next step. Or is it honest-to-goodness 3D? (I have not even been tempted to buy one of those that hit the market a few years ago.)

("Grizzly" Bud.)

(“Grizzly” Bud.)

Another fantastic revelation for kids is how cheap it was to buy things when I was their age. Just as I was amazed by the prices Grandpa paid for candy and other treats. Don’t ask me about the price of groceries when I was young, but I can tell you that you could buy a candy bar for a nickel. Many of the same candy bars are still around, but they go for a LOT more than a nickel. (I can’t say how much, for sure, because now I know they are poison! Just as bad as cigarettes, the doctors tell me. Which reminds me, I grew up in an era when doctors still advertised for cigarette companies. Wow! I suppose the kids of today will be able to spin tales to their grandkids about how marijuana was illegal “back in the day.” Naturally, the kids won’t believe them.

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(The British Isles.)

(The British Isles.)

The results are in from the Scottish vote on independence (from England): Scotland will remain a member of the United Kingdom. The “no” votes won the day. I must admit that while the result wouldn’t have made much difference in my life, either way, I’m sort of pleased that things will stay as they were. That’s kind of strange when you consider that I’m a citizen of a country that “voted” to separate from Great Britain over 200 years ago, but that’s how I feel about it. (I am pretty conservative, after all.) The vote was fairly close, but not as close as most polls forecast it would be. My niece (who lives in Glasgow) tells me that the issue will almost certainly come up for another vote, and that before too much farther down the road. Perhaps deep down it seems to me that England, by itself, is not big enough to be a “country.” Of course even when you add Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and call it Great Britain, it is still pretty small. Truth is, I don’t much hold with village-sized clusters of people declaring themselves to be a nation, which infers that said nation is a full-fledged player on the world stage. But I do make an exception for Great Britain. It is a bona fide nation, for sure. It has a history, for Pete’s sake…heck, it was once an Empire, and it should get credit for that. Even more important is its status as a rock-solid ally of the U.S. Whereas when you think of Liechtenstein? Give me a break. Monaco? I don’t think so! I think a country ought to be at least of a decent size before it calls itself something other than a community. Under our current system of nation-naming we’ve found ourselves with members of the United Nations such as Tonga, Iceland, and Estonia. (Plus the two municipalities named above.) My proposal? If you can keep watch on all your borders with but one sentry standing on a stool…well, you’re a little short of the requirement for Nation-hood, in my book.

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(Boise State University Broncos.)

(Boise State University Broncos.)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns.)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.)

Tomorrow night, our BSU Broncos (2-1) take on the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (1-2) at the blue-turf Albertson Field in Boise. It is a non-Mountain West Conference game. The experts have BSU favored by 17 points or so. Once again, that’s a bit much in my opinion. Enough to keep me from putting any money on the outcome. (Of course that would be illegal, anyway, so I wouldn’t do it no matter what the “spread” happened to be.) I don’t recall us ever playing the Cajuns before this. I don’t even know what conference the school is in. (Not the SEC, I’ll wager.) Okay…I looked it up: The Sun Belt Conference. Not a bunch of powerhouse schools, certainly. (I was surprised to learn that the University of Idaho is a member.) Anyhow, it is another late game for us, with the kickoff coming at 8:30 PM. Which means I will likely have to stay up past my normal bedtime. Rats!   Have a great weekend! Bud

Note to KA: You can believe every word of this one, Ron-boy! Honest! Cross my heart!

Ol’ Bud

2 Responses

  1. Ron Boy says:

    I can identify with all of your observations and keen insight on the aging process for sure. You have a unique way of stating the obvious, so I will once again believe every word of your blog and know that it is filled with all truths and wisdom. By the way, over the years, you have always looked the same to me. A good looking young stud! Love ya, Ron boy

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