In my head I am still twenty but after a day of playing troglodyte in ma’s basement that illusion crashes head on into reality. It would seem the mileage accumulated on the road of life is beginning to show.
The first time I walked head on into a funny thing called age was a few years ago on a trip to Supai, one of the most amazing places on earth. It was business that necessitated the trip to that little touch of paradise but with time to kill it was a desire to again see the falls that led me to honestly think I could walk another three miles, each way.
The illusion of youth is the only thing in the world that could have led me to believe I could drive 120 miles, walk 24 miles, and take care of issues in court all in one day. There was a time when that was not only a possibility but I would have had enough time left in the day, and enough energy to spare, for a game or two of pool and a couple of beers.
On this trip the reality that shattered the illusion arrived in the form of a wrenched knee on the way up from Havasu Falls. There I was, more than a mile from the village, which is about eight miles from the parking lot under a blazing summer sun with a knee that was rapidly swelling to the size of a small melon.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, that fellow with the wings of grey and the wrinkles around the eyes that I saw in the mirror that morning was me. The second thought was that if I didn’t suck it up, get to town, find Byran, a friend, and borrow a horse for the trip out of the canyon, there was a very good chance that I wouldn’t be getting any older.
So, with tears streaming down my face, and a flimsy stick for support, I began hobbling toward the village of Supai. Humility can be a virtue. Humiliation can be a blessing in the form of a motivational tool.
On this particular venture it was a little old lady that appeared to be somewhere between 65 and 200 years of age that provided the motivational humiliation. She had on a plain t-shirt over a bathing suit and thongs, seemed immune to the heat, and had a shuffling pace that was slow but methodical.
I would hobble to a rock, sit for a minute to let the throbbing subside, and then pass her as I continued on my painful journey. Then I would again sit down and she would pass me. As we neared the village I realized there were but two choices, find the strength to beat her into town or find a bigger stick and take her out. Humility is one thing. Absolute humiliation is another.
Shortly after my return from Supai the illusion of youth slowly began to reemerge but, increasingly, reality intruded keeping it bay. It would seem that meme has been picking up speed as of late. Perhaps that sense is merely resultant of the blurring of mileposts on the road of life this past few weeks; skin cancer, broken tooth, and the death of my little sister to name but a few.
Still, I do derive a bit of pleasure in having lived long enough to be one of the old farts that works circle around youngsters while telling tales that begin with, “When I was your age…” But the greatest reward in aging is Sunday’s with the grandkids, the realization of just how blessed I am to have a dear friend to share the adventure of life with, and the eager expectation that comes from knowing new adventures areon the horizon.

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