Tuesday, July 26, 2016

When is Old!?

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.

Realization.

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6 comments:

Secondary Roads said...

Every time you write about your dad, I find myself wishing I had known him. I do enjoy your stories about him.

It does come as a shock to realize your father is slowing down. My dad played tackle on the high school football team. As an adult he never was much for active sports. He did enjoy fishing and hunting. It must have been arthritis he had it bad and did me the kindness of passing it along.

vanilla said...

Chuck, like your dad, mine enjoyed fishing and hunting, ostensibly "to feed the family." Well that was the case, for we seemed always to have venison in the locker. (Remember when we rented frozen food lockers and had to go into town to get the goodies from them?)

I believe you would have enjoyed knowing my father-- most people who knew him did.

Your father favored you with the genetic proclivity for baldness and arthritis? Mine did me a "favor," too. He passed along to me none of his athletic prowess or coordination.

Secondary Roads said...

Father's will do that--they don't have a choice. Yes, I remember renting a food locker. A couple of years later that was dropped in favor of a rented freezer that sat on the front screened porch.

vanilla said...

Chuck, it is so satisfying to contemplate the days that once were, especially since we can think about the fun parts while editing out the broken bones and embarrassing moments!

Vee said...

I remember how athletic Dad was and that he loved being with young people.

What a nice young lady you encountered. That had to make your day special.

vanilla said...

Vee, as a kid I thought that Dad was disappointed that I did not possess his athletic abilities, but later I came to realize that it was not Dad who was disappointed in me, but it was I who was disappointed. I even think that maybe he was glad I did not have those skills!?

Yes, the woman was very nice, but now I see myself as an object of pity. *kidding*