Publisher’s Corner: Old Is The New Young!

I often forget just how old I am. Looks like no matter what I do, I will turn 64 on July 28. I am not trying to dismiss my age, and I am not in some sort of senior denial. It just seems like yesterday that I spending my summers playing baseball at Memorial Field in Webster Groves and swimming for hours on end at the community pool. Now my wife Niki is taking our grandson Jackson up to the very same pool. I drive by the ball fields every day to and from work. I watch the kids playing and I remember well the smell of the catchers mask I wore and crack of the bat when I got a hit. I remember the dirt and dust and the sweat and the glory of being 12. Now both my daughters are twice that age. For me it’s just moving on, day by day. Chalking up the months and years. It’s the simple things in life like our gardens, the blooming echinacea and seeing the first praying mantis, lightening bug and hearing the first cicada of the summer. I hear it’s going to be a bad year for cicada. But I have seen many such cycles in 64 years. And I don’t really feel so old most of the time. Apart from the health issues that plague many seniors, I feel pretty darn good. Oh, I don’t really lift anything heavy anymore, and I am pretty crickety following a round of golf. But overall I am doing pretty good. Old is the new young, someone said recently. I think it was an elderly psychologist on one of the talk shows. But seriously folks, you are truly only as old as you want to be. My wife says I act like a kid sometimes, and that gives me great hope. Even though I am not sure she means it as a compliment. My hearing is a bit suspect as I hear cicada all year long. There is some name for that infliction. Ringing in the ears. It’s the white noise that helps me get to sleep. And bathroom breaks. Well we won’t get into that. But I have embraced my senior status. Especially when I get the senior rate at golf courses. There has to be some reward for a stiff swing and squeaky follow through. Hey, I can still run with Jackson in the front yard. I do try to get home from work early some days to watch Jeopardy. And it keeps my mind sharp as a … “What is a tack Alex?” My wife Niki and I love to work in the yard. Growing gardens and families is what life is all about. I love old black and white movies. Just watched Casablanca again for the 50th time. But I do like the new blockbuster movies, too, with all those special effects — before you think I am just some old poop living in the past. The 50s were an easier time I must say. Growing up in Webster Groves was perhaps a bit too sheltered. It took some time away to really appreciate the old hometown. I have always enjoyed writing. I remember the Monster Club chronicles I created in grade school and the main character, Henrietta Harry. Sort of a ancestor to the Addams Family “ Cousin It.” Now I write columns like this one about turning 64. Only a couple years away from retirement. As If I would enjoy not working. What would I do every day? Our cats and dogs would love to have me home I guess. When they see me, it usually means food. But I would miss the day-to-day mission of publishing. Everyone needs a purpose no matter how old they are. When I was 12 my purpose in the summer was to play baseball and go swimming. At 64 my purpose is remembering life at 12. The greatest gift a person can have at 64, is 64 years of good memories. And a good afternoon nap after a round of golf with the boys and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?

Here’s Looking At You Kid, J.B. Lester; Publisher