2018-07-11 / Opinion

Up The Creek Without A Paddle

What it means to get older-
by Terry Toole

I'm old, but I'm not that old, or am I?

My first wife gets on to me much of the time about me talking about being old, getting old, or dying. It makes her mad that the love of her life, me, can't do what I used to do, or don't want to.

I consider myself a realist. First wife considers me the opposite of an optimist, and the first antonym is pessimist.

In the dictionary a realist has a firm grip on reality and can see things for what they are, not what they are told they are. Realists have their own views and do not fall victim to propaganda, misconception, or titles!

That part where realists have their own views might be where my first wife questions just what I am. There is no doubt about me being opinionated.

I really like thinking I'm a realist rather than a pessimist.

I agree that I might not be an optimist in too many things. At the tender age of 82, going over the half toward 83 most folks get bit, or maybe challenged to be an optimist.

It almost got the best of her when my auburn locks turned from red to white, almost over-night. Her hair stayed basically the same color, still has.

My comeback when told that I'm not old sometimes gets off with her when I use one of these examples on occasion:

•When you’re in a room with 50 or more people, and you are the oldest one there most of the time, a realist would say you are old.

•When two, not one good-looking women ask if you want to go to Hawaii, or anywhere with them, and you say no, you are old.

•When your Sunday School changes from the Young Adults to Terminal Class, you are old.

•When an older relative comes in the office and says they have never known a male Toole to live to be 80, and you are 79 at the time, you are old. The relative said her Toole husband made it to 79, and passed.

For years, my first wife always hoped that I would come to her funeral if she happened to pass away, so the funeral would be on Thursday, which for 70 or more years Thursday was fishing day. If you are a man and love to fish and hunt let me tell you, if you live long enough, that will come to a squeaking halt. Instead of thinking about going fishing or hunting, you will think about going to Heaven in the next few weeks or years.

Old friends and relatives will come up to you and tell you how good you look, and ask you how you feel and tell you how proud they are to see you. I'm a hugger, so I get a lot of good women hugs. The young friends and relatives just say how glad they are to see me still going on my own.

When I turned 80, I let my older relative know that I had broken the male Toole curse and turned 80. I almost bought the ranch when I turned 81 when a bad West Nile mosquito bit me. They were treating five cases of West Nile Virus where they sent me, and I'm the last one standing. Since then, I've turned 82. The doctors at that hospital told me after being there a month to go on back to Colquitt, GA; it didn't look like I was going to die.

One of my younger, black friends that I hadn't seen in a long time was greeting me at the post office last week. Come to think about it, that could be most anyone now. He told me how well I was looking, and doing.

Seeing friends, old and younger, is one of my favorite things as I age. Being a realist, I know that anyone who tells me they care really does. It's good to live this long and know that many folks really do care. Most ask that favorite thing that many ask, "Who's gonna take over the newspaper after your gone?"

Take it from an old head with lots of experience. If I can learn this business in just 40 years, most anyone can. I plan to stay here a few more years and learn some more. God is Good, All the Time!

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