Aging gracefully? Hahahahaha &$#@ that!

I remember mom telling me to act my age. It was really silly as she said that when I was two, five, ten and so on. The fact is, I WAS acting my age. πŸ™‚ Now, not so much. There comes an age where we have to be responsible adults and that’s understood. I see absolutely no reason to leave childhood joys behind though. If I had one, I could still entertain myself for hours with an Erector Set.

Men (and women) do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

My dad, for one, Β has never lost his joy of playtime. He’s had to adjust a bit over the years and his toys have changed, but he still finds time to play. I had that confirmed when I went back home to the desert for a visit recently.

The Sonoran Desert in Southern California
The Sonoran Desert in Southern California

Growing up with mom and dad was an adventure. We were poor, but there was always food on the table by the time I came along. Vacations always involved camping and exploring the Western half of the U.S. We didn’t just camp, we learned the geography, geology and history of every place we went. Dad taught us to be curious. We also had plenty of time for play. Once, dad sat and whittled a water wheel out of scrap firewood. It stood about 10 inches high and when we set it up in the nearby stream, it worked well. When I was 5 years old we backpacked over Kearsarge Pass in the Sierra Mountains. I carried my own pack.

Dad also put his hiking stamina to good use back home in the desert. He and a few others founded a desert rescue unit and Β he learned how to track. He is one of the best trackers I’ve ever seen.

Now, he can barely walk. Due to a congenital defect, he no longer has any cartilage in his ankles. He still walks, but slowly and painfully. He uses crutches at all times (no wheelchair or scooter). Does this slow him down? Only when he’s walking. He still has toys to play with.

Two seater quad
Mom and Dad have put 3633 miles on this quad

Yes, he and mom go riding together now on the two-seater. He has made changes to the quad and added areas for storing food, water and emergency equipment. In addition, he improved the handles and footrest for the back seat rider. He also put in a bracket to hold his crutches. Wait! This is the desert. That means lots of sand. How does he walk in the desert with crutches?

Dad
My dad, the master tinkerer.

Yep, my dad found a way. He tinkered in the garage until he created his crutch shoes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Did I mention that dad likes his toys? Yep, the quad is adorned with toys.

Dad's toys
Dad’s toys

The garden has toys. The house has toys. They are hiding in a gazillion places. Before they closed the bookstore, it was decorated in toys.

Dad's toys
Front and back of the tree cat. Those are birdies hanging from the tail.
More of dad's toys
More toys. The last time it snowed back home was in 1932.
Even more toys
Bunnies and ostrich eggs

As you can see, my dad still loves to play…even at the age of 84. While my dad would never use a four letter word, he would laugh derisively at anyone telling him he needed to age gracefully. I hope to age just as gracefully as my dad. πŸ™‚


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8 Replies to “Aging gracefully? Hahahahaha &$#@ that!”

  1. I soooo agree! Your dad is one neat ol’ guy!!

    Having finally reached **cough, cough** 40… I’m constantly told be some people that I ought to stop being so frivolously childish at times and “act my age”. Those people are just meanies…

    Luckily for me, my sweetie Carolyn thinks I’m keeping both of us young by holding on to my sense of whimsy and serving as a constant inspiration to her to enjoy Life without losing your inner child. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one… πŸ˜‰

    1. You are certainly not the only one. I’ve watched too many people who forgot how to have fun. They were unpleasant to be with. I still have my childhood curiosity, my sense of humor, and I still remember how to play. Since aging isn’t optional, I may as well have some fun in the process. πŸ™‚

  2. I remember a few years back when we were both down there visiting, her dad wanted to go ride the quads out in the dunes…
    I was thinking yeah, how about a mellow ride through the dust? Be nice to plod along outdoors a bit.
    Yeah.
    I started getting an inkling of what was in store when we woke up before sunrise to load up after coffee, and I was given a set of safety instructions. Long story short, I spent the next hours choking on his dust, following his tracks at full power in an arc going up sand dunes, using the last ounces of upward momentum before turning dozens of feet from the bottom, with heat radiating from every surface.
    I’d do it again, but I’ve learned not to try and outrun the old man… Old bat out of hell, more like…

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