While attending a Christmas Eve party with my sister’s family, I decided there’s more to such celebrations than cheer, sugary treats, gifts and eggnog.
It’s a good time to take stock of what age is all about.
My great-grandniece, 6 years old, bounced around the living room as she passed out presents from under the tree. She giggled and danced like a merry elf.
When I was six years old, my great-granduncle was only a couple of years older than I am now. Like Marley’s ghost, he’s long dead. But I remember him well from back then.
He was a really, really, really old guy. Moaned as he got out of chairs. Plodded. Sluggish. An ancient raisin on two wobbly legs.
He lived all his life on the farm. I’m a city guy.
He traveled by foot or horseback when he was young. I drive cars.
He was a doughboy in WWI, the great war to end all wars. Supposedly. I saw Vietnam and now the endless Mideast conflicts.
On a sub-zero wintry day when he was a kid, he watched as his sister (my grandmother) stuck her tongue against the metal handle of the outside pump where they got drinking water. She did it just to see what would happen. Her tongue stuck tight on the frigid metal.
My drinking water comes from the faucet inside my warm house. I could spend all day slapping my tongue against the faucet, but it’d never stick.
For him, cell phones would be magic; computers, a miracle.
Today, most Americans have the gift of luxury. Nonetheless, we seldom pause and ponder those who came before. If we did so, we’d appreciate our lives and country even more.
My great-grandniece used a cell phone to take a photograph of me. I’m sure—when she’s my age—she’ll remember me as a spry guy with a devil-may-care attitude, smooth skin, brisk walk…uh, right?
And so I thought as my body creaked as I got up from my chair. I waddled over to pour myself another glass of eggnog.