April 09, 2003

The Boy in the Man

This is a good week for the Fredster to put some things in perspective. As you may have observed, I tend to look all too frequently back to the past for lessons that apply to today. Hence, this little story:

I was seeing patients in their homes (home health) for various kinds of medical problems in my once-upon-a-time role as physical therapist here in Floyd County. It was wonderful work, in a way... traveling the back roads, driving for the first time into the secret hollers and down private lanes that one would never go on without a good reason. At the end of those single lane paths along rocky streams and through ancient pastures, I would find the most interesting people from across the spectrum of humanity... from the 97 year old granny in a bonnet who lived alone without electicity or running water to well-traveled 'come-heres' from England who retired to Floyd after hearing about it somehow in Scotland.

On this particular day, I was visiting a 92 year old gentleman who had had a total hip replacement. We were working on strengthening, balance, and negotiating steps with a cane, after working together three times a week for a couple of weeks, and we'd gotten to be friends. He said "If you don't mind me asking ya, just how old are you?"

I hesitated, reluctant to admit that I was over 50. I told him I was 52 years old.

His eyes brightened. "Why" he exclaimed with glee, almost slapping his thigh in delight, "you're just a boy!"

This week my body turns 55. And the boy is still very much in there somewhere. He's just getting a little harder to find. With this age-transition milestone (my 'cohort' is still 'middle-aged' but the 'free coffee' and age-homage discounts that kick in at 55 somehow work a psychological whammy) the boy will be sulking for a while inside the aging man, especially during this disappointingly monochrome mock-spring week of cold rain. In the see-sawing back and forth this week between youth and venerable age, it may seem more like the balance teeters toward the latter until the internal boy gets used to being in an vintage chassis for which the warranty is in serious question.

I suppose that in a few days, I will accept that it's a great time to be SILVER. But it's a great time too to be 'just a boy'. And I intend to see later this week, when the sun comes out again, if he can come out and play.

Posted by fred1st at April 9, 2003 05:40 AM | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, buddy!

Posted by: ronbailey at April 9, 2003 05:42 AM

Happy Birthday!

Posted by: bogie at April 9, 2003 06:58 AM

Did you say you had a birthday? I missed it. Where did you find any perks at 55? I just turned 57 and I don't see a damn thing kicking in in the way of free stuff until 60. Bring on the free museums! Free coffee, as long as it is in France where they start to know what decent coffee is all about.

Posted by: travelertrish at April 9, 2003 11:15 AM

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