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In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

Old timers speak up

July 12, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Hi, Boss, it's your friendly cockroach Archie, stopping by just to gather a few crumbs off from and under your desk. Mehitabel's here for the summer here, likes it, though she misses her, uh, friends back in the N.Y. alleys. I fear she's using up her nine lives a little too fast.

We noticed a lot of older people around here, Boss; I wondered if they're any different from those in N.Y. so I borrowed Mehitabel's beat-up tape recorder (found it in an alley back home) and we went around, asking them to tell us how at their age they feel about things. Boss, you'd be surprised: These old timers are still alive and ticking, but from a different vantage point than us chicks. Here are samples from some of them:

"Looking back, one thing I noticed over the years is that life ain't as simple as it used to be. More noise, more traffic, more people crammed into less space, more time wasted on electronic junk (and learning how to use it), more emphasis on what's easier than what's better, less peace and quiet, less socializing. A vacation for me would be a time trip back at least 60 years."

"I never married for money, and I never had sex before marriage, and you know what? I'm fine with that. My husband never made a lot of money doing building work, but you know what? We're rich in lots of ways - a nice home, a car, two kids and a dog (Blooper). Not always happy, but bills paid up and mostly content. I stayed home to raise the kids and Blooper, and when I see how kids turn out without a parent at home to teach them growing-up things, I'm glad I did. No dysfunctional family here, and no trying to keep up with the Joneses. With a lot of bumps along the way, in this game of life we still wound up like winners."

"Women! Couldn't live with 'em, couldn't live without 'em. But I always liked the ladies, and still do. Only problem, the spirit's still willing but the body's not. Happy to say, I have my memories."

"Since I turned 90, I don't get around much. Gave up my car a few years back, sold my home and moved into this here assisted living place. Not like home, but OK, people care about us here, and we care about each other. Life's simpler now. I miss my husband. I miss cooking for us. I miss getting around on my own. I don't miss shopping or worrying about the price of gas."

"Crazy thing looking back - all the things I once thought were most important like money, material things, being popular, now that I've passed 70 they're least important and vice versa about what I thought was not important. Most important now - staying alive and healthy."

"I've been thinking about what it means to be old. For me, it means the longer I live the more thankful I can be for having more time to appreciate what life's all about. I thank my folks and relatives who helped me grow up with appreciation of myself, people around me, friends and even enemies, who challenged my too optimistic outlook on life and gave me an insight to how different we all are. You know, I am grateful for the encouragement I had from childhood on, to learn new things from reading and even from the best in movies and TV, especially back when they were better. I'm thankful for being raised to appreciate healthy living. I'll still try anything that's not bad for me. Oh, and I guess I have to thank Him for the guidance I received from His clergy when I needed it, which has been almost always."

Hearty people you have here, Boss. The more I visit with them, the more I'm getting to like them. Tell you more later if Mehitabel's recorder lasts.

Your friend, Archie.

Rotten Tomatoes averages: "The Amazing Spider-Man," B; "Savages," C+



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