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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When his joints ached as he rose

he kicked the chair leg in despair.

He knows it is the fault of age…


but it’s easier to blame the chair.

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‘If you’re lucky you’ll find someone to grow older with’

as a young man he was told

instead he found someone to grow younger with


as both of them grew old.

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Yesterday when the old man looked out his window pane 

he saw children playing in the rain


running through the puddles in the street 

with no umbrellas…in their bare feet


and he harkened back to a time with pride 

when he was a child playing outside


a time he wished he could repeat.  

when imagination inspired his feet.


when he played and climbed and recited rhymes…

back when he had the indulgence of time.


as more drops fell upon his window pane 

he wondered, when was the last time he played in the rain?


watching the children as they crissed and crossed 

he wondered…at what point was his innocence lost?


then his inner voice said, “It isn’t gone.  

it’s there in the rain…out on the lawn.”


so he left the safety of his window pane, 

took off his shoes…and ran out in the rain.


and barefoot out there in the pouring rain 

he was reunited once again


with an innocence…he thought was lost…

as on the lawn he crissed and crossed…


as he ran through the puddles out in the street 


with no umbrella…in his bare feet.

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So we’re visiting this farm in the country as part of a farm tour

when we see this family with a little boy dressed as a dinosaur…


“What a lovely dinosaur you have!” we say to Mom and Dad.  

“He has grace and he has style.”

The Mom and Dad say thank you…and the dinosaur gives us a smile.


A little later we come upon the family again at a slide built into the ground,

where their little dinosaur is having a ball…running up and sliding down.


When he notices us watching he runs up and says, “This is really fun!”

“Are you going to do it. Wait! I know…Let me show you how it’s done.”


We watched the little dinosaur slide sitting down, laugh, get up and then

we watched him slide down on his tummy, jump back up and slide again.


When his demonstration was complete…when we learned all that we could learn

the little dinosaur smiled then turned to us…“OK, now it’s your turn.”


We didn’t think about our age…how we might injure ourselves or break our crowns.

We climbed to the top of that little hill and the both of us slid down.


We slid down fast landing hard in the dirt …but when all was said and done

We turned to that little dinosaur  and said, “You were right…that was really fun!”


When we looked back as we walked away that little dinosaur was still sliding

And I thought…How lucky we were that, for a moment, our worlds were coinciding.


And I wondered why that little dinosaur chose us to teach…

at that moment on this farm tour…

Perhaps he realized we were the same species…just two older dinosaurs…


Or was it when he saw us …he looked past our aging dinosaur skin…

past the scales and the wrinkles…and saw the children there within.


For whatever reason I’m glad he did…It was ‘really fun’ and what’s more

I’ve already decided for next year’s farm tour…


I’ll be going as a dinosaur.

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