Monday, April 19, 2010

A Few Thoughts on Aging

The drive to correct grammar and spelling does not diminish with age. You just learn to only do it on your own stuff.

A good pair of glasses that will not embarrass you in front of your 20- and 30-something friends, with progressive (read, "line-free") correction for reading and computer work, costs you $400. After the AARP discount.

We look younger than our parents at our age because they helped us keep our own teeth.

We should be enviable company to our youngers--we know a lot of interesting stuff (and yet know that we know nothing), can see the humor in anything, can add humor where we can't find it, and we are so humble.

They will be us before they know it.

When I was in my thirties, I thought those 40-something women who wore shorts over their swimsuits were just being silly. Around 15 years ago, when I was 40-something, I got it. I'm now buying "swimskirts". Never say never.

I repeat myself, but... Never say never.

A poem from two years ago:

Sleeveless dress

My arms, somewhat dimpled,
a little slack,
must offend some who see them.

But I already retired my thighs and my belly
from public life.
Everything from chin to cleavage is at risk.
And the toenails. Please.

I can’t retire my arms.
They will go beneath summer sleeves
When I take a veil over my face.
Not a day sooner.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hey, Poppa Bird!

Today is my dad's 86th birthday, and although he left the mortal phase of his 11 years ago, I think of him and his mark on us often. "Poppa Bird" was one of his favorite nicknames for himself. Here are some of the things he did:

Balanced me standing on one hand at age 5 months. Must have driven Mom nuts. I have a picture of this blown up to blurry proportions in my stairwell, so I see him and me in 1952 every time I go downstairs.

Scared (or tried to scare) my few boyfriends. Mainly by use of his strange sense of humor. Couldn't scare Merlin.

Taught me to drive, and especially how to skid to a stop on gravel. He always said to keep my eyes far down the road, not at what was right in front of me. Good advice on all levels, especially for a girl who tends to fixate on all the obstacles within three feet of her instead of just mowing them down.

Taught me (albeit through the agency of mom after he died) to make the best homemade dill pickles anyone has ever eaten. Really. The Best.

Went frequently to Monty's Bar, and the Old Heidelburg Inn, and brought back the foods that are still my downfall, namely anything pungent and salty, especially pickled polish sausage and greasy fries.

Told me I didn't need to go to college since I was a girl and then sent me and bragged about me to his friends.

Got lung cancer at 45, survived, I assume miraculously, and kept on smoking. Yeah, I can't recommend that, but he was (all due respect) kind of a cuss that way. This retired him, so he spent lots of time gardening and ferrying his elderly friends around to appointments.

Loved to send flowers to all of us. (Maybe not to my brother. Casey?)

Went to the mall the day I delivered his first grandchild and had a T-shirt made that said "Call me Grampaw: Molly". Then every time another grandchild appeared, went down to the mall and added a name to it. Actually wore it a lot.

Could find a bargain on anything, and no matter what you bought, if you told him what you paid, assured you that he could have gotten it cheaper. I know, lots of you have that kind of dad. I think it's Y-chromosome-related.

Loved going to the doctor. Didn't live to see his "First-borned" (nickname for me) become something close to one.

Had very strange taste in clothes.

Had excellent taste in women. Happy Dad's Birthday, Mom!