His question was a simple one…if the truth be told.

The answer…not so simple: 

What’s the best way to grow old?


He received a myriad of responses.

Some said the best way to grow old is wealthy

others said where the weather’s warm

still others mentioned healthy


Some said they would like to grow old with dignity and grace

others merely wrote: with a smile on my face


Some said they’d like to grow old in the house where their children grew

others thought that wisdom would help to see them through…


In reading all the responses…he felt extremely blessed

but one answer he discovered stood out from all the rest.


One couple did not mention money, 

or health 

or any kind of weather

In answer to the best way to grow old…

they simply wrote: 



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I used to make fun of my dad’s age…saying with loving youthful vigor

“How come you’re getting shorter but your ears and nose are so much bigger?”


Oh, Dad would try to make a witty comeback…but usually it would bomb.

(makes me wonder where I got my talent for humor…must have been from Mom!)


So I guess it’s only payback or Karma…now that I’m one of the older folks

that I must listen to my children and grandchildren as they crack their old man jokes.


Like when they remind me how I’m over the hill and how I’m beginning to shrink…

And when they mention how my nose and ears are bigger…

I wonder…do they know they’re not as funny as they think?


They laugh when I say, “It’s nine o’clock…time to go to bed.”

and God forbid I ask, “Have you seen my glasses?” 

when they’re perched upon my head. 


They joke about my lack of hair and when their laughter clears

they remind me if I’m looking for hair…check inside my nose and ears.


In truth…I am quite content with getting older…I don’t think it is unfair.

I don’t mind a bit that I am bald because I never have to comb my hair.


And with my nose the size of a cucumber and two enormous ears

there are so many delicious aromas I smell…

so many wonderful sounds I hear.


Besides growing old is a part of life…we’re all growing older every day

and how wonderful it is to pause…and laugh at myself along the way.


I also smile as I sit back listening to these old jokes unfold…

knowing what a wonderful journey it’s been getting to be this old…


Finally, I have the satisfaction of knowing as joke after joke they tell bomb…


they didn’t get their talent for humor from me…(must have got it from their mom).

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Isn’t it curious how, when we were young 

we had a simple view of dreams and memory?

Memories showed us how things were

and dreams…how things could be.


But now that we are older

we have a different point of view

as memories now remind us

of our dreams that have come true.


And isn’t it curious how when we were young

the world was fun, and innocent…and new

still secretly we wished

to do what grown-ups do?


But now that we are older,

and the world is not as fun, or innocent…or new

secretly we wish 


to do what children do?

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Now that I am older…I love visiting the child I used to be

who would ride his bike out in the rain…or climb the highest tree…


Who believed in Santa Claus, saw faces in the clouds…

and never wondered why...

when he looked up on a moonless night...he saw starfish in the sky.


Who never cared about how he looked, or how much money his parents made

Who thought peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek were the best games ever played


Who could sit among the flowers watching the butterflies and bees…

Whose eyes were surprised more often…who was more innocent and free.


Now that I am older…I often stop to wonder…sometimes I fantasize

What the world would be like if we all grew up but kept our child’s eyes…


Would we be unable to see differences in our color, sex or name?

Would we smile and talk to everyone as if we’re all the same?


Would we welcome every visitor who enters through our door?

Would our world be one of peace and love?

Would we not think of war?


I have no proof things would be different…

but now that I’m older, as I say, I like to fantasize…

what our world would be like today


if we still saw it through our child’s eyes.

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When I saw this picture of me and a time long left behind

I’m not sure why or how…but William Shakespeare came to mind.


‘The time of life is short’ he wrote…and William was in the know

because this picture was taken, if I’m not mistaken, over 30 years ago.


The three women seated to my right are still as beautiful as can be

but when I look at this picture I’m left to ponder…what has happened to me?


First of all let me apologize for my clothing…I’m not sure back then where I shopped

but what in the world was I doing at a party…in a shirt AND a tank top?


My shirt wasn’t even buttoned…I imagine I thought my outfit would beguile…

but looking back now I have to wonder…if I ever was in style?


I had a lot more hair 30 years ago…since then it has found a way

to vacate most of the top of my head…what’s left is a hazy shade of grey.


My arms have not lost any hair…near as I can tell

but I’ll be darned if over the years they’ haven’t turned grey as well. 


I mentioned William Shakespeare as this poem was about to begin…

Have no fear, forsooth my friends, this is where I bring him in.


I notice I have have some wrinkles now,…okay maybe more than some!

but it was Shakespeare who said ‘With mirth and laughter…let old wrinkles come.’


I kind of wish Shakespeare was at that party…

I might have asked him to lend me an ear…

He probably would have asked me about my clothes…


and I’d have offered him a beer.

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The other night at the bookstore in a young family strolled

and it didn’t take but a minute for them to make me feel old.


We have an antique typewriter in the store…

(the kind that makes a clicking sound and ends with that familiar ‘ding’)

which the young girl took one look at it and asked:

“Dad, what is this thing?”


Her dad explained how it was a typewriter.

He said, “People used to write letters on these

but that was long before you were born

back in the ‘70s.”


All of a sudden it was like in some time warp I was caught

I swear I aged 10 years that moment…right there…on the spot.


Then before I could compose myself…and my old age feelings allay

Her mom found a book on the Beatles and the daughter asked…”Who are they?”


I had a moment to reflect on how time is a funny thing

for imprinted on each generation are memories to which we cling…


Things that were important to us…important to who we are

are unknown to future generations…or even seem bizarre.


But we must never forget the past if humanity is to survive

which means it’s up to us, the older ones, to keep those memories alive.


This is a burden we must accept…a responsibility we can’t shirk

so I walked over to the typewriter and said, “Let me show you how this works.”


I loaded a sheet of paper…my typing was crisp and clean…

I quickly typed: The Beatles were the best band the world has ever seen!


Then I left the girl to type on her own

(Hopefully this is a memory to which she’ll cling)

“Daddy, I’m typing!” She said with a smile. 

“Listen, you can hear the ding?”


With a Beatles CD playing in the background she asked

“Mommy I love this typewriter can you buy me one?”

and though they did not purchase a single book…


I knew my work, that night, was done.

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She spent the springtime of her life there…

Whenever she had a break 

she’d run down to her swing

in her tree down by the lake.


She still remembers how it felt

suspended from her tree

swaying back and forth 

so innocent and free…


She returns now after years away

still remembering the bond they shared

and is excited to find her cherished swing

patiently waiting there…


She smiles, closes her eyes

and once again is suspended from her tree

swaying back and forth

so innocent and free…


Happy to reunite.

Happy once again whenever she has a break

to spend the autumn of her life 


in her swing down by the lake


A funny thing about growing old (which happens to all of us equally)

is that our hearts and minds keep telling us we’re young…

but our bodies don’t always agree.


Take Deborah and I for instance…in the 30 odd years since we were engaged

while our hearts have grown a little younger…it’s our bodies that have aged.


It appears however young our hearts feel…our bodies like to tease.

We don’t see or hear as well, we’re getting shorter and we both have faulty knees.


Our young minds want us to do things…and they are often quite persistent

but when we ask our bodies to perform…they can be quite resistant.


Oh, our hearts and minds generally win out…usually get their way

but our bodies tend to be upset and scold us the next day.


Another funny thing about growing old (this is something worth shouting about!)

When you find someone to grow old with…you learn to help each other out.


When I don’t see or hear something…Deborah’s assistance I enlist

to tell me what just happened…to show me what I missed.


When Deborah is too short to reach something…or if it’s too high for her to see

She doesn’t fret…she doesn’t stew…she just calls on me.


If my knees give out…if I should fall…and land upon my seat

I know Deborah will be right there to help me to my feet.


Yes, it seems as we grow older…another fact we can’t ignore

when one of us is able to do a little less…the other helps a little more


And we know from past experience…a truth we happily proclaim

whenever they are needed…our friends and family will do the same.


Which means with all this love around us 

we can grow old with no regrets…

allowing our hearts and minds to stay young…


no matter how old our bodies get.

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I am 66 years old today and as I turn another page

I am happy for all life’s wonderful moments that help cushion my old age.


I’m happy for the love I’ve shared…all those rides on other people’s shoulders…

Isn’t it amazing how love has a way…of preventing getting older? 


I am happy for my family, my friends, the people who have helped to make me…me

and I’m happy for the childhood I’ve brought along with me.


I’m happy my brain can calculate how old I am…as I walk further down life’s path

and happier still my heart and my mind…were never very good at math.


Finally I’m happy knowing even though today I’m the oldest I have ever been


I am also now the youngest age I will ever be again!

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