The fogy in me

By Stephen Harris - For The Tribune

Stephen Harris Back In The Hometown

So it’s come to this.

Come Friday evening, after a long week trying to make a little jingle, I arrive to pick up my Lady. It’s time to kick up some dust, to blow off some steam. The weekend’s started!

What do I come up with?

“Want to go and get that light fixture?” I ask the Lady.

Instead of magic in the moonlight, instead of exploring the possibilities with the light down low, my idea of a hot date was spending the evening in the aisles of Lowe’s. Instead of dreaming of our future, instead of sipping the elixir of love, we’d be reading installation instructions and comparing wattage.

In my defense, we had gone all week with the kitchen darkened. The old light fixture in the center of the ceiling probably was as old as the house itself. When the painters a while back took it down and then reassembled it, the Lady noticed that they had some parts left over.

The fixture whined annoyingly at first after being turned on. After a couple of weeks the circular florescent bulb started off with just a faint orange glow near the plug-in for a few minutes before alighting. Finally it just stayed with the orange glow. Finding something to eat in the orange-tinged dark was an adventure.

By the way, on that Friday night we just ate in the lighted living room and stayed put.

What’s happened to us, as I approach my seventh decade? At one time I grew annoyed with the old folks who just wanted to sit and talk when they could be out playing ball with me or some such.

Now I’m one of them.

Not long ago I got an invite to spend a weekend with a stepson and his family in the Land of Dolly in Tennessee. The invite was conditional. I had to take the three kids to the water park while my hosts attended a morning-long, time-share sales program that was part of the vacation package.

They’re always nervous, and that includes the Lady, when they have to leave me alone with the grandkids. They’re afraid I’ll break something.

So here I was sunning in a lounger beside the lazy river and beside a cute, blonde, blue-eyed, bikini-clad young woman. She was content to be still and retiring as was I and work on a tan.

I could feel the envy of the other, passing codgers even through the shirt that covered my eyes from the bright summer sun. The observant fogies must’ve wondered about the odd pairing of me and the cutie, who was my granddaughter.

The younger grandsons left for the slides and I didn’t hear from them again for about a hour when they breezed by en route to the bathroom. Good. They’re old enough to entertain themselves now.

There was a time when I’d be on the slides. Or in the game room. On on the putt-putt course. Or splashing in the pool. Anything but laying still.

The grandkids’ parents finally got paroled from the time-share torture chamber. “Janice wants you to come up to the room,” said the mom with a hint of a smart grin. She had told the Lady that I’d never leave the play yard.

I high-tailed it out of there. And it was not for any of the hijinks that the mom suspected.

We just sat in the cool of a darkened room that we would not have to clean. I propped up on one arm of the couch and she on the other.

With no duties to perform and no schedule to follow we just chatted. And that was thrill enough.

I did not take notice of the moment in my life when I gave up adventure and thrills and experiences and transitioned to a life of quiet and contemplative contentment.

But at some point it happened. And it feels quite good, surprisingly enough.

Young people, I can only ask that you try and understand. It’s a phase that I’m going through. And some day you will, too.

Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.

Stephen Harris Back In The Hometown Harris Back In The Hometown

By Stephen Harris

For The Tribune

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