The Seasons Of My Life

Guest Blog by Marvin Manning ( My Uncle )

Written at age 94

As I move through the seasons of my life and summer turns to fall, I find that the Golden Years are not so golden after all.

The junk food that I loved so much has been replaced with lettuce, celery, carrots and such, and the steaks I thought so fine now taste like old sawdust seasoned well with pine.

The golf balls I could hit with ease now fade from sight as I approach the tees, and the fly line that I could cast so neat now falls in a pile near my wobbly feet.

The rides that I would so joyfully take about the countryside has been replaced with trips to offices where doctors, dentists and chiropractors preside, and the strolls around the neighborhood with a dog along are just a memory of days so quickly gone.

The best clothes that I could afford to buy are hanging in a closet shrinking down in size, and my feet which good leather would adorn now hosts calluses, bunions and corns.

My hands which could tie flys so nice sometimes feel like chunks of ice, and the grip which I could apply force now drop spoons, knives and forks. As they are not steady and shake while I eat, I need to wear a bib just to keep myself clean and neat, when a meal is over and I can eat no more, you can safely bet there will be a mess upon the floor.

My ancient ears miss many sounds such as the doorbell ringing when company comes around, and my voice once clear and strong now loses power when I talk too long.

Things falling to the floor are an irritation beyond compare simply because I cannot bend down to pick them up from there, and trying to get an item from the cabinet shelf up high is frustrating and just not worth the try.

Good penmanship is not a forte of mine, but what happens when I sit down to write is purely asinine. Sentences wander aimlessly about the sheet and words bunch together like a flock of frightened sheep. But while lined paper solves the sentence problem, and a detailed and tedious approach to keeping words apart help matters much, I can’t help but think when I review my work that it sure looks a lot like chicken scratches in the dirt.

Sleep I much adore and will try nearly anything for more. But when bedtime comes about and my body responds to discomfort caused by bursitus, arthrits and gout, I lose good sleep just spreading gels, liniments and ointments about. Then just as I think I have control, my dear old bladder signals it is full and to the bathroom we must go.

As my balance is not too good and my legs don’t function the way they should, I use grab bars, walkers and canes to avoid falling about the house. And being equally cautious, I avoid certain recliners, rockers and couches, for if I get too close, they may entice me to sit down and then keep me there until help comes around.

My days start early in the morning when there is little doubt I can complete the tasks of my personal care while no one else is up and wandering about. These are many and include only a few of the more common, such as bathing, shaving and flossing, which I assume most male people do. When these are finished I sit down with a cup of coffee freshly perked and check to see how much time was spent in performing what was once thirty minutes of work.

Since my early childhood I have been dressing myself with ease, wearing whatever, whenever I pleased. But back then I was blessed with being flexible and didn’t realize that anything could be so difficult as putting on my clothes – that fabric sticks together like it has been painted on with glue, that buttons don’t always align with opposing buttonholes, that what I need to grip is beyond my fingertips, and that clothes can be snagged by my bigger toes. And then, when I am trying to dress and not accomplishing much, I often wonder why industry has not built a robot that can do this kind of stuff

My eyesight is not as good as I expected it to be, but what I didn’t expect was double vision and just how entertaining it can be. For if I place an object on a surface that is flat, I can play my version of the old shell game by trying to determine precisely where it is at. But I am being facetious here, for I find in this particular ailment that getting two for one is not really all that fun.

This I have saved for last as it involves my wife who has shared a great portion of my past and who now has dementia, requiring constant care and attention. As part-time caregivers deal with the most critical and difficult of these, the leftovers are the responsibilty of untrained me. While this particular phase of my life has been somewhat devestating, the results achieved for coping with it have been more than somewhat satisfying, which causes me too truly feel that I am succesfully performing the most important job with which I have ever had to deal.

The changes mentioned here have mostly happened over many years and now reflect one thing quite clear: the downsides of getting old and being old will prevent them from ever having a glitter equal to that of shiny gold.

Thanks for reading.

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