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Reflections July 2019

Grow Old along with Me; The Best Is Yet to Be

By Andy Duffy

I’m one of those guys who was never cute when I was young. Girls would cross the street to escape my attentions. Little girls would scream in fright when I tried to play peekaboo with them. Young mothers glowered at me.

We old guys are certainly not immune to the aging process. We get bent and feeble. Despite that, we get better as we grow old.

I first became aware of the principle when my daughter was working at a local pizzeria. She would come home saying that so and so “is a cute little man.” Sometimes, she would mention some so and so I knew years before. I knew the person wasn’t a cute little young man. Obviously, although my daughter was too polite to say it, the guy turned into a cute little OLD man. I realized then that the aging process must do remarkable things.

I’m one of those guys who was never cute when I was young. Girls would cross the street to escape my attentions. Little girls would scream in fright when I tried to play peekaboo with them. Young mothers glowered at me.

Then wrinkles creased my face. My walking became halting. When I would enter a store, I would hobble from my car to the entrance. Aging is tough.

And then, pretty, young things started giving me special attention. I didn’t like it, but it happened. I would go to the feed store for a bag of pig meal. Some tiny cheerleader-looking lass would offer to load my purchase for me. I would go home and grumble.

“Do I look old and feeble to you?” I would ask my wife. She would say that I did. That didn’t help. But I would say, “I can load my own stuff. I should be lifting things for that girl, not the other way around.” Then she would laugh at me.

Even then, I never thought I was becoming a cute little man. In my mind, I was still strong and virile.

Then today, I was in a store looking for a gift. My eyes fell on a mug rack. I decided that a coffee mug might be just what I needed. Even with my new eyeglasses, I don’t see all that well. I appraised the rack. I didn’t know if I should step closer to the mugs to read them or stay back a step or two. Then, I spotted movement, and I raised my eyes.

Across the mug rack from me was a beautiful young lady with sparkling eyes and golden hair. She was with one of those young guys who looked as if he could have played college football but chose to join his uncle’s electrical contracting business instead. We all know the type. If we were in ranch country, he would be one who would be roping steers and riding bulls. He was the picture of robust manhood. And the gal he was with gave me this huge, friendly smile. Maybe I reminded her of her grandfather or something.

A few years ago, I would have been offended by the thought. Today, I was too charmed to worry about my pride. Hey, if she were willing to give me a smile like that, I was willing to embrace my newfound appearance. Maybe growing old isn’t so bad.

My brother used to tell me to live fast, die young and make a good-looking corpse. Well, I never would have made a good-looking young corpse. By growing old, though, I guess I attained a degree of cuteness. It’s too little too late, but I think I’ll take it.