Then there was the referral to some advice on growing older from Will Rogers that is a lot more truth than fiction. To wit: Eventually, you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it. (I’m there.) The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
As I readily confessed a couple of weeks ago, I have roared right past a somewhat significant milestone in life.
The full impact of the situation, however, has been a little slow sinking in — they say that sort of thing comes with the territory.
Gosh, I’m now about the same age, or older than, just about all my relatives, and lots of my friends are younger. But, running with a youthful crowd can help keep you young. At least, I think that has worked for me.
Well, after all the hoopla died down, I took time to go back through the cards and emails I received offering congratulations, and/or condolences. And some of them were really very clever.
Lots of the cards you buy today are somewhat crass, or just downright not clever, or even acceptable. But some are really funny. Especially the one I got two of dealing with the perceived loss of hearing one encounters when reaching my age.
Then there was the one with the picture of the very suave gentleman extolling the merits of their wine to his date. I took it as a compliment — until I opened it up and there was some sarcastic sentiment about making stuff up. (The original used an appropriate four-letter word.)
Then there was the referral to some advice on growing older from Will Rogers that is a lot more truth than fiction. To wit:
• Eventually, you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it. (I’m there.)
• The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
• Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me; I want people to know “why” I look this way. I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.
• When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of algebra.
• You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.
• I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
• One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it's such a nice change from being young.
• One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.
• Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable. (I really like those last two. And the next one.)
• Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf.
• And, finally, if you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you're old.
Then there was the card from a dear Montana friend who sometimes thinks a little bit out of the box. She challenged me to join her in thinking out of the box when I Christmas shop — at home — this year. She put forth several ideas to get me started.
“Everyone gets their hair cut,” she said, “so how about a gift certificate from one of your local hair salons or barbers?
“Gym membership? It's appropriate for any age thinking about some health improvement,” she reminded me.
But she was only getting started.
“Are you an extravagant giver who thinks nothing of popping for an expensive gift? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like their driveway plowed all winter or lawn mowed for the summer.”
Or rounds of golf? Local restaurants offer gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at a breakfast spot? How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom?
“She would probably love the services of a local cleaning lady for a day,” my friend suggested. “Or maybe you have someone on your list whose computer could use a tune-up?”
OK, you were looking for something more personal.
“Local crafts people make jewelry and pottery and beautiful wooden bowls and boxes. And they sell them.”
Plan your holiday outings at a local restaurant and leave your server a nice “Merry Christmas” tip.
“Honestly, do you really need to buy another 10,000 Chinese lights for the house?” my friend asked. “When you buy a string of lights, maybe 50 cents stays in town. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice tip.”
That got me to thinking that those mail order catalogues or Internet shopping trips might not be the best deal after all. I remember one Christmas, in particular, that we pledged to do all of our shopping at home. And it worked. Really well.
And we all still agree it was one of the best Christmases we ever had.
Jim Fall is a local weekly columnist. He is a former publisher of the Maryville (Mo.) Daily Forum.