It was an unexpected downpour…that burst out of the sky.

The older couple huddled under their lone umbrella…trying to stay dry.


Until they saw two young girls…with a joy so beautifully unrestrained




playing in the rain.


The old man began to smile, held his arms out high…

then walked from under the umbrella..leaving his wife behind….

“Come back under here you insane old fool.” His wife demanded…

but the old man…he gracefully declined.


“Do not worry about me.” he said. 

“I am neither foolish nor insane...
It’s just...I had forgotten what it feels like…

to stand out in the rain.”


His wife closed up their umbrella…

and with a joy so beautifully unrestrained…

they laughed, 

they jumped 

they danced together…

playing in the rain.

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Old age doesn’t burst through the door…it takes time for it to arrive…

then one day you find yourself heading out to dinner at a little after five.


Hey, it pays to get there early…there are specials on the menu to be read, 

and we wanted to get back in time to watch the news…before we went to bed.


After we entered the restaurant and to our seats we strolled

I decided to keep my jacket on…to counteract the cold. 


When I first picked up the menu…I admit I was appalled

I thought, what am I reading…a contract…this print is much too small.


And I saw our waitress’s lips move when she handed us our bread

but she must have been talking in a whisper because I didn’t hear a word she said.


As I commented on the menu’s print, how loud it was….and how cold

I suddenly came to the realization…I have gotten old.


So I resolved I would embrace it…I smiled at Deborah, my wife

zipped up my jacket then proceeded to eat my tuna sandwich…

with my fork and knife.


After the waitress said “Thank you honey!” and from the restaurant we debarked…

I said, “That was a lovely evening…do you remember where we parked?”


On our way home I commented to Deborah about how our meal tasted great

except I was a little unnerved by that old guy across the room 

who seemed to be watching everything I ate.


She happily pointed out I was looking at a mirrored wall

and that old guy watching me…was me…

In my defense the lighting was a little dim

and my eyes aren’t what they used to be… 


As I say old age does not burst through the door…

it takes time for it to arrive

Sometimes it sneaks up on you …

at a restaurant…

while you’re eating dinner…


a little after five.

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I received it in the mail…a card addressed to me!

I’m to meet some people for a luncheon…and this luncheon will be free!


The food pictures that grace the front of the card are, of course, a masquerade

for directly under these is this question:

Confused about hearing aids?


The luncheon might be free…but it’s hearing aids they’re trying to sell

They are assuming since I’m older now…that I don’t hear as well.


My hearing is just fine, thank you (I’m pretty sure my family agrees)

but I’ve noticed once I reached 65…I get a lot of these.


Emails, cards and letters asking me if I need things…

like an alert system in case I fall…

Am I getting the most from my Medicare?

Do I need to lower my cholesterol?


How is my sex life? Am I depressed? Am I too skinny, too bald, too fat?

not to worry if my correspondences are correct…there’s someone to help with that.


They’re concerned if I am healthy, depressed, their concerned about my heart…

apparently they think, at my age, everything’s falling all apart


I even receive messages asking if I’ve made my funeral arrangements…

or do I need to save

I guess they figure I’m further from the cradle and closer to the grave.


Now I’ve been blessed with good health and a wonderful life…each day is a happy day

So when I get these emails, cards and letters I usually delete them or throw them away…


But lately I’ve been thinking…some of these luncheons I might attend

some of these people I might have to meet….

After all, I am on a fixed income…


and even old and healthy people have to eat.

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Yesterday a young boy asked me

in a voice both innocent and bold

“Can you tell me what it’s like old man…

How does it feel…getting old?”


“A lesson on old age.” I smiled.

I’m afraid I cannot teach it.

for how can I speak of old age


when I have yet to reach it?”

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We’ve come to know her on our walks…she seldom wears a frown.

She’s up early, just like us, and drives her golf cart around town.


Everyone knows Freddy…she wouldn’t have it any other way

Saying hi to her is a tradition…a wonderful way to begin our day…


Sometime we stop and chat…she loves to talk…she isn’t shy

Oftentimes we just wave to her as she goes zooming by.


She is an emissary…an ambassador…one of our city’s oldest living members

She loves to tell her stories…and share all that she remembers.


Today we waved as usual until she beeped and pulled alongside

then asked if we were busy or would we like to take a ride.


We happily jumped into her cart…for this adventure…we were ready

I climbed into the back…while Deborah sat up front…right next to Freddy.


She said she was excited to show us something…She knew we’d be excited too…

She drove us to her house where the entire lawn was decorated…

It was her birthday….92


We wished her a happy birthday…actually we kind of had to yell

(Perhaps that’s why she talks so much…cause she doesn’t hear so well.)


We continued on our walk as Freddy drove off fast..forthwith

looking for another person or persons to share her birthday with.


As we watched her drive away I wondered if every town has a Freddy 

I imagine that they do…

someone whose been around forever…someone who’s 92…


And if you do…take the time to get to know her…

talk and wave…if she asks you…sit behind

for you never know where she will take you


or what treasures you might find…

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I’m not sure how one explains old age…I’m not sure what rules apply.

At the funeral when my Grandma died…I remember how they tried…


I heard them say how she was a friend to many

A mother…a grandmother…a wife…

How she was fortunate as people go

to have lived a long and wonderful life.


But when I think about the time back then, for I was only 10 you see

with those things they all were saying…I could not totally agree.


Sure she might have had some wrinkles but I didn’t think of them back then

I never thought how old she was…I just figured…she was 10.


I guess this age thing has to do with the way our lives overlap…

how we all have our own techniques…and methods to adapt.


Grandma knew me my first 10 years of life…before the time she passed

While the 10 years that I knew her happened to be her last.


But she read the books I liked to read, she played the games I liked to play

She ran and jumped and climbed with me, she was 10 if she was a day.


In the Spring we’d plant a garden…a secret garden that was ours

In the Summer we’d go swimming or sit under the stars


She liked to take long walks with me…show me things I did not know

She helped me gather leaves in Fall…and build forts in the snow.


So was she old…my Grandma?

as I now search my memory..

to many it might have looked that way


but she was never old to me.

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