I sometimes find myself in a riddle when I think about Sally’s and my approximately 16,000 days we spent together (before and after the wedding) beginning in the late 1970’s. Aside from our jobs and the time we spent as spouses and parents, we found time to spend many days, nights and weeks in camping, history, entertainment, family and friends, sports, concerts and just relaxing vacations on our 43rd birthday plus years together. We have also hosted children from other parts of the country who came to our city for various reasons and also met their families and we tried to roll out the red carpet as best as possible to make them welcome in our city feel home and community. We have met wonderful people who were with us in the same groups our children were involved in activities before they grew up and left the nest to start their lives in their jobs and start their own families.
We have been fortunate to be involved in school trips as guides, fans, teachers and coaches and we have been blessed to have met even more great people who have also taken part in these trips. We were involved in many of our children’s local school and community activities, which brought us together with so many other parents who were in each of these groups and situations for the same reasons.
During these many years and numerous travels we have seen sights, seen family, met new friends, shared amazing moments together, all of which have resulted in many smiles, laughter, sometimes tears (of joy) and many amazing memories. We can’t estimate how many.
Retirement hasn’t turned Sally and I into snowbirds, even though winters aren’t fun at our age. We would like to try to avoid some of the winter chills, snow clearing, wrapping up in blankets and heating the house in the short term. We probably won’t be six months north/six months south or even nine/three, but maybe a month after the holidays would be a nice respite from the cold of our area. Until then, we will continue to make mini trips to concerts, ball games and family visits.
The VFTB has raised the issue of this narrative before, but since then our involvement in activities has grown and we don’t seem to have let up. On the contrary, we seem to have gotten a little more intense in how we enjoy our experiences. As we’ve aged in our years together, I often wonder what it looks and sounds like when we attend sporting events, concerts, etc. We let ourselves go, in our clothes, in the vehicle decoration and mostly in our voice. We’ve always tried to immerse ourselves in whatever activity we enjoy, but I sometimes wonder if people are looking at us and wondering when these Fogies will grow up and start acting their age?
Having said that and demonstrating my loyalty to being a Jimmy Buffett Parrothead, I look again at the lyrics to one of his more popular songs entitled Growing Older but Not Up, in which he sings:
“I’m getting older, but not growing up
My metabolism is comfortably stuck
Let these winds of time blow over my head
I’d rather die while I’m alive than live while I’m dead.”
Sally and I are definitely getting older, but not grown up yet. I hope we never will. We love to sing along to the concerts we go to. We’ve smashed: Margaritaville, Rocket Man, Piano Man, Sweet Caroline, Hotel California and Don’t Stop Believin’ with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Elton John, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, The Eagles, numerous tribute bands we have in Cleveland, on the Floating Stage at Bemus Point and with live entertainment bands at local taverns in Richmond, VA and Nashville, TN. We love cheering/high-fiving when the “Guardian Children” (formerly Indians) come from behind or run away to another win. We have been very vocal at all of Jon’s sporting events and cheered on all of his teams/teammates from his t-ball through the college years of play. We applauded loudly at every band, orchestra and/or choir concert that Chasy, Chris and Jon were associated with. We were loud and proud when Jon took his oath to serve and protect. It’s safe to say that we don’t always put decency before our emotions when attending certain functions and events. I’m also very loud when I’m at Waddington’s Tavern with my fellow Browns Backers from Jamestown, NY during football season.
The point is, anyone who thinks that we don’t need to behave our age and grow up is right under certain circumstances and attitudes, but I’m very glad we can still do that at our mature age “Middle Ages” from 69 and ?? (I love you Sally), rejoice, get up, sing as loud as we can and have fun like most of the people of all ages we’ve met in concert halls, outdoor venues and stadiums while playing sports here and there events and music programmes.
To prove my feelings in this tale, one need only read the words tattooed on my left arm, the same words that end the chorus of Jimmy Buffett’s Growing Older but Not Up, “I’d rather die while I live than live while I’m dead.”