The Day after

Bird Droppings November 2, 2011
The Day after

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

I find myself using age to my advantage when the little girl at the register at Kroger asked for senior citizenship or not. I carry my AARP card with pride when it gets me 15% off my hotel stays or car rentals. One of my favorites however and unfortunately true at times is; what did you say your name is? It seems I cannot remember or I gave you what grade yesterday seems folks at my age cannot remember to well. Sadly with nearly two thousand students in the school I do not always remember everyone and I have my days when kids in my class I play the where did you come from routine. You are really in my class?

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” Samuel Ullman

I was standing in the hall yesterday when a senior stopped by. It has been many weeks since I had put up a photo of a ladder leaning against the new football building. I had also on the photo stated something to the effect of “when climbing any ladder some of the steps can be hard but to get to the top you still have to make them”. For me at sixty two yesterday it was easy to look back and recall. It was about this time eleven or twelve years ago I was at an away football game and experienced something that a few days after Bird Droppings got serious. I felt an overwhelming anguish and even mentioned to a friend standing beside me it was as if I saw the angel of death. At that moment a dear friend was in a car accident many miles away and eventually that night died. The next morning when I returned from the hospital I had a quote from Aerosmith attached to my computer, “Life is about the journey not the destination”?

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” Douglas MacArthur

A very great man once said this as I look at the words faith, doubt, self confidence, hope and despair. What powerful barometers for us as humans? These could be gauges for our souls and humanity’s concern for humanity.

“In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long.” Nikita Ivanovich Panin

“The years teach much which the days never knew.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wrote a few days back someone I would want to meet is Ralph Waldo Emerson I am amused at how when in high school I passed him by so easily now read daily.

“Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.” Sam Ewing

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” Mark Twain

Pieces of the aging process and so many fight it with tooth and nail. Various anti-aging drugs and concoctions plaster the TV and media. A favorite is the smile exerciser on QVC (not that I watch QVC) but this couple have invented a rubber band mouth exerciser to cut down on facial wrinkles.

“Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.” George Bernard Shaw

Sitting watching my sister with grand children and my mother and mother in law with their grandchildren and now me with my granddaughter I might argue with Shaw youth brings vitality to the aged.

“A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, grieves and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was in a Bar-B-que stand looking and reading hot sauce labels. Tabasco sauce is made on a small island in Louisiana. The peppers are aged in vinegar in oak barrels. My nephew was a waiter for some time at, The Capital Grill in Buckhead before medical school. He was learning the wine list showing my wife and I nearly four pages of wines many of which were near my age and those had the most value. I like this age determines your worth.

“Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.” Robert Southey

Talking with and dealing with teenagers daily I can see this it is harder to remember my own teenage years or even watching my own children as they deal with the angst of teenagedom.

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” John Barrymore

The day I stopped looking at regrets as hindrances as boulders in my pathway of life my journey gained meaning. These encumbrances simply became lessons to endure to further my journey.

“The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left.” Jerry M. Wright

I often am amused when a teenager pulls alongside as I am driving with the bass fully loaded and stereo blasting to a point all you hear is the throbbing of woofers ready to blow. Some cars mounted on hydraulic shocks can emulate the tunes bouncing in time. I wonder what music is being heard funny when I play certain native American drum and flute pieces students question my sanity yet it is nothing more than a quiet throbbing of a drum versus the ear numbing bass of modern pop music.

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.” Mark Twain

Samuel Clemons aka Mark Twain would also be on my list of those I would like to meet along with Ralph Waldo Emerson. There are so many great writers, speakers along the historical way but these two for me stand out.

“Everyone is the age of their heart.” Guatemalan Proverb

An interesting use of heart, what it referring to is not the muscle that drives blood through our bodies and as the advertising business reminds us, needing Lipitor, Advicor and or Benicor or this or that to keep functioning. Heart is that inner piece of us some call the soul. Many authors have written their best sellers about this subject, Gary Zhukov, and Thomas Moore to name a few.

“There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age – I missed it coming and going.” J.B. Priestly

A bit of humor, we earn respect at any age, that credibility and impression can be a significant factor as we go through the pathways of life and love. I find it is the lack of respect for students that often gives poor teachers trouble. I always enjoy the comment of teachers demanding respect from their students. That is earned and demanding respect usually leads to conflict. I recently attended a conference with Dr. Sutton and sitting by my desk several books on Oppositional Deviant students. Adding to the excitement across the room two students who are when they leave my room.

“I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.” Author Unknown

Trying to keep up with three sons can be a task, fortunately they also like sitting still occasionally and are in college now. I have many former students and non-students who simply passed through my room with babies and youngins and watching them now as parents is fascinating. Many of these kids were problems in high school and now are moms or dads. There are some who are extraordinary parents and one or two I am concerned about.

“The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.” Mark Twain

“It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.” Brigitte Bardot

In my childhood days Brigitte Bardot was the poster girl, the Pamela Anderson of the 1960’s. It is interesting how she is still in so many ways, still a beautiful women, I like that word ripen. I sometimes disagree with her animal rights activity which goes overboard occasionally.

“Old age is fifteen years older than I am.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

The author of Sherlock Holmes enjoyed life; he sipped each drop and tasted it to the fullest. As often as I see thoughts from authors and poets, for a moment a glimpse of whom they were and are. I told my wife no grandbabies till I am sixty. Granted I we were blessed with a granddaughter just a little under a year ago and that changed many things in our lives. So a few more weeks and we our grandbaby is one and all are excited.

“Age is opportunity no less, than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus

The moon is still blazing away or I should say reflecting away well half way as it is waning in the morning sky in these early hours. When available stars scattered about light the night, Orion is just over my house a few hours back. I liked this illustration of how at night we see the stars and during the day they are invisible. As I age many things that were insignificant during youth now become crucial and have such significance.

“There is still no cure for the common birthday.” John Glenn

Our former Senator and astronaut John Glenn has embraced aging and made being a senior citizen cool. A movie a few years back Space Cowboys with Clint Eastwood featured aged former astronauts and test pilots who get their chance to show their worth. We do get older day by day but it is in the heart.

“Everyone is the age of their heart.” Guatemalan Proverb

This I cannot say enough and this is so true. My friends please today keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart.

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