I believe Dad was 55 years of age when I first realized he was "getting old." Dad was athletic and very quick. I was standing on the sidelines watching him as he played softball with a group of teenagers.
One needs to understand that in his teen years baseball was his passion and he even dared to dream of a career in the sport. His reflexes were amazingly fast, and he also considered professional boxing. Now here he is on an August afternoon exercising his skills on the ball field. Dad came up to bat. He let the first pitch pass, and the umpire called, "Strike one." My father shifted his position slightly in the batter's box and when the second pitch came he swung, made contact and laid the ball neatly in left field between the third baseman and the fielder.
Dad headed for first base. As I watched I realized his step was slower than I remembered it to be, and with a sinking feeling I realized that Dad was old! Not so old, however, that he failed to beat the throw to the bag.
I am now some twenty-seven years older than my father was when I realized he was old, yet until today I had never encountered that realization in myself. Oh, yes, I have aches and pains, and yes, I know I move slower than I used to, but old? Of course not.
But today I stopped near the front door of the DG store, dismounted the bicycle and set the kickstand.
I saw a sporty red car park on the opposite side of the lot. I headed toward the door of the market, shuffling along in my Tim Conway "old man" gait and before I reached the door the young lady who had parked the car hurried around me to "get the door." Yep. With extended arm she opened the door stepped back and with a smile indicated that I should pass through. A young woman holding the door for the poor old man.