2017-12-02 / Viewpoints

The Old Timer

BY HOWARD ‘MAC’ MCDONALD

A person who grows to an advanced age doesn’t notice the small changes that are happening to him all the time. But there are those occasions when it hits you like a ton of bricks and you realize nothing will ever be the same.

Having my driver’s license yanked was a tough pill for me to swallow. Then my sons talked me into yanking my .380 automatic from my car because they remembered what a short temper I used to have.

At least I don’t have to worry about a DUI. The changes in your body’s abilities is probably the hardest thing for an old-timer to accept. Two glasses of beer will put me into lala land these days.

I am at Shirley’s mercy when it comes to mobility. Her driving skills have greatly improved and she handles the traffic very well. Her mellow personality changes when she gets behind the wheel and she is quick to respond to another driver’s comments.

Road rage is an epidemic out here. If you get too outspoken, you will find yourself in a fist fight or you might get shot. Many of the incidents that are covered on the local television news end up with a gunshot.

Since I have been taking my happy pill, I am as gentle as a lamb. The family command decided it is still okay for me to keep the .380 within reach in my own home.

Fifty years of serving in the Rotary is quite a feat, so Gentleman Jim Miller in Emporium deserves all the accolades. I believe Ken Gerg has also passed that milestone and perhaps some of the other Rotarians. A short memory is another curse for old-timers.

I do not forget the founding days at Pa. Pressed Metals. Ken Gerg saved the working man in Emporium. He is one of the many people in this country who have done so much, but get no credit for the things that they have done.

Young people of today cannot imagine that there was a world without television and the internet. There was actually a time when people talked to each other face to face and children were required to show respect for their parents.

The television dial that offered three channels has yielded to the remote with push-button access to hundreds of channels. I have considered throwing my TV and remote into the trash can.

One thing that stops me is the channel that plays traditional country music. The old country songs put a smile on my face and I can usually sing along.

Most of those great voices have passed on. Willie Nelson is still chirping away. Merle Haggard and Glenn Campbell are among the most recent country singers to go over the bridge.

Diabetes sent Waylon Jennings to the Promised Land. Before he checked out, he had a leg amputated. I have type 2 diabetes and when my feet hurt I wonder when I might have to face the knife. My meds keep my readings in check, but with the new diabetes medication you have to be careful. The side effects can kill you.

Rainy days and Mondays get me down. Here in The Valley of the Sun, we have not had any rain in 100 days. The times are often dry in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. The temperatures have been dropping and being outside is very pleasant.

The winter visitors are arriving in force. You have to plan your life around them. The traffic has gotten really heavy. We’re used to it by now.

Food banks are gearing up to feed the homeless. There seem to be more of them in recent years. I know there are also freeloaders who know how to work the system. With columns and columns of help-wanted ads in the newspapers, I do not understand why there are so many unemployed people. Minimum wage is better than no wage at all.

Dozens and dozens of used car lots are laid out along every highway here. It looks like good deals are everywhere. Some of the lots have scores of big motorhomes. I wonder how these dealers can make a living with the competition being so fierce. If you are in the market for a motorhome, come to Mesa, Ariz.

Yesterday as we drove to church I calculated that I saw at least $500 million in vehicle inventory over an eight-mile stretch, and that road goes at least 15 miles further.

There was a notice in the paper about the nice concert members of the Rigas family are going to bring to the Coudersport community on Dec. 9.

I am still bitter over the railroad job that the federal government used to bring down Adelphia and send John and Tim Rigas to prison. Tim is still sitting there waiting for the wheels of the federal justice system to turn. He should never have gone there in the first place. He should be back in town with his family.

With all of the news going on in the world these days, the media decided that the only story that really mattered last week was the Christmas shopping frenzy of Black Friday. We didn’t venture out into the masses.

Black Friday is supposed to be a day when the merchants get rid of a lot of their inventory and load their tills. I say they should put their best deals up every day and may the best store win.

That day comes right after Thanksgiving. At our Thanksgiving dinner table, I was thinking that the Pilgrims did a good job when they selected the turkey as a symbol for this New World. We have a lot of turkeys in Washington, that’s for sure.

We are a nation of wealth and the land of plenty, but also a nation of greed and people who are just fine with the idea that not everyone gets to share in our bounty. A lot of people say that the USA is heading toward a doomsday. If the Democrats and Republicans in Congress would work together, that could be avoided. Now is the time to settle differences and put America first.

Sometimes, if you say the right thing, life on the home front becomes easier.

This woman was standing nude in front of her bedroom full-length mirror and remarked to her husband, “I feel terrible. I am fat and ugly.” She continued that it would be nice if her husband paid her a compliment.

The old boy thought for a minute and replied, “Well, your eyesight is pretty good.”

We were served papers by our neighbors about the behavior of our dog. Their dog complained that Sarge’s nose was too cold and he made some suggestive woofs 28 dog-years ago when he first met her. They will have to hash this out in the courts.

Keep your powder dry and your musket ready.

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