I’ve just returned from a delightful outing with my childhood pal Buddy Gorday. For the past hour, we’ve been sitting in his truck in the parking lot of the Madison County Airport, a very active airport for its size, watching aircraft takeoff and land… and sharing sweet memories of the past. We were doing what old men do.
There was a time, way back when, in the days when I was far, far younger, when I simply couldn’t relate to this. This morning my memory was jogged to such a time, many years before, when I experienced a stark and powerful illustration of the ‘progress’ of time, which I could not at that time comprehend.
Buddy is only eighteen months older than me. But a year is much, much longer when you’re ten… than when you’re eighty. Remember? This day, Buddy and I were far closer to 10. We were in his front yard at the time, probably doing what robust, active boys did during those days long before TV and video games. We chased one another, dared each other to ‘see’ if we could jump over the neighbor’s hedge, always doing active and physical things like that. And that’s when we spied him… and old man slowly making his way down Evergreen Street.
I don’t recall if he had a cane or not, but he walked slowly, carefully, and slightly bent over as if he needed one. I stopped my activity, and simply stood and watched, actually a bit confused. In my young mind, I could relate to only my then young and active body. I couldn’t understand his slow gate and posture. My thought was: Why is he walking so painfully slow? Doesn’t he understand that all he needs do is to stand elect and walk purposefully and correctly? I even walked a few paces myself as if to demonstrate!
Fast forward seventy years. Now I understand.
This morning, when Buddy pulled up in my driveway, it was two ‘old men’ meeting to go out and play again. But we had no plans to chase one another around the yard, or to jump hedges. It was to do what ‘old men’ do… sit and watch the airplanes take off and land. It’s only ‘the fun’ that has changed to other things. I’m sure we haven’t changed a bit!
The photo above is of Buddy and me taken on Evergreen Street. I’m sitting in my beloved and much-used airplane ‘kitty-car.’ I’m not sure of the date, but at the time, we were just doing what kids did in the 1940s.