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Ode Age


I can recall days of spotless skin, taut and tanned. When ankles routinely pivoted painlessly, my wrapped wrists pulled true with every swing of the bat. The subject of the game falling beyond every scrambling outfielder.

Sure-footed, I made first base and sometimes more in footwear worn and torn. My body could run, turn, and stop at will with no need to catch more than a single breath. Backyard tackles brought grass stains, cold muddy cheeks and smiles back when my body still bounced as it hit the ground. “Let’s do it again” were the only cries to be heard. Conversations rang true as a bell, my responses quick. My stories held listeners in the palm of my hand with every adjective low and slow.

I’ve traded all that prowess and quick wit for wisdom hidden in wrinkles. My gait is more measured as I diligently survey the terrain. Familiar is good, exotic must be pondered. Take the case of climbing the risers for a photo-op with fellow graduates at my 56-year high school class reunion. The convergence of time and space at that moment was significant. Marking time as 74-year-old men and women pose for someone else’s posterity.

The top of the right side of my left foot and the bottom of the left side of my right foot brings some pain at night now and again. The left one is of a dull sort the right one is a shooting variety. At times the back of my neck burns a bit for no reason, kind of like my left hip after standing awhile. My right thumb is also giving me fits and I don’t know why. I haven’t planted a tree or pitched a ball for some years. There are more voluntary afternoon naps now, identical to those mandated by my mother and dreaded as a child.

There are times when I reach for a cup of coffee or knife and fork not recognizing the outstretched slightly tremored hand or the face in the mirror for that matter. Now my body bares barnacles, topped by ever-whitening hair a double chin (or two), hearing loss, dry eye, a cardiac implant and a need for prescription toothpaste. It’s the toothpaste that’s insulting but as an educated man of wonder, I know this is all just a phase I’m going through.

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