Friday, June 21, 2013

When I am an old man...

When I am an old man...
I will be surprised I made it that far.  If I do.
It's not that far away.
There's a good chance, I won't.
I will consider it funny to have aches and pains.
I already do.
I will not whine about being old.
Or apologize for aging.
I will consider it honorable and amazing.
I will laugh at myself for being funny looking, and bald, and having ears that stick out.
I already do.
I will be proud of my past.
I did a lot, against great odds.
And against fierce opposition.
I will be skinny and awkward, like when I was a teenager.
Only with more wrinkles.
I will smile a lot.
Or not.
I won't say much.
When I do speak, I will say thoughtful words.
I will bake sourdough bread.
And home made pies.
And make cornbread, and tamales.

I will putter in the garden among the bees and hens.
I already do.
And grow pole beans and zucchinis.
And grapes, and figs, and peaches.
From my beehives, I will give packages of fresh honey, to nice people.

My curses will be colorful and complex.
And used sparingly.
And aimed at the self-righteous self-important, and smug.
And greedy.
I will learn Spanish.
I will not consider it an insult to say "old".
Don't whisper "old", or use euphemisms.
I will consider "old" an honorific, respectful, and esteemed.
I will stand proud and crooked.
Like a beautiful, ancient, wizened bristlecone pine.
I will growl like an old lion.
I will tell people what I think.
If I like them.
If I don't, they aren't worth my effort.
My favorite shirt will be an old flannel shirt, from Goodwill or a yard sale.
I will wear it everywhere.
My favorite hat will be a cap I already wear.
It will be frayed and stained.
I will wear it everywhere.
My favorite trousers will be an old pair of khakis with side pockets for pruning shears and a pocket knife.
I will wear them everywhere.
I will grow the best tomatoes in the neighborhood.
I will tell young people, stories they didn't know.
About wars they never heard of.
And great minds no one told them about.
I might make them up.
Or not.
No one could make up a past, as interesting, as the real past.
I will quote Robert Green Ingersoll.
And Samuel Clemens.
My loyal dog will always be by my side.
He will roll in the grass and be covered in dust.

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