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WILD COOT: The golden years

marciadottin, [email protected]

WILD COOT: The golden years

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A man called me the other day, friend of mine too. “Wild Coot, what you think of the golden years that everybody says await us if we happen to avoid the trips and snares of life and manage to conquer three score and ten? (It used to be six score at one time – Genesis 6: 3.”
“Well, you tell me,” was my cautious response.
“No, I want to hear from you, because you are always pontificating like some prophet about sweetness, and on things you know nothing about.”
“YOU need to be glad that you are above ground. Thank God that He made this possible and thank Him that there
is still electricity in your body – although I question how much more interest He has in us!
“In those last years you can relax and enjoy your freedom from the stress of work. Each morning you rise but you have no obligation of work. You have your private pension or National Insurance. You can see your children progress for good or for bad. You can speak from an experienced perspective, although people may not listen. You can watch the world and the other sex go by from your patio or the side of the street.”
“That’s all well and good,” he cut in, “but how about when diabetes catch yuh tail and you have to eat grass like a horse while other people enjoy Trenton and filet mignon? How about the arthritis that stiffens your joints like an ungreased cog in a wheel? No teeth to call your own for pigtail enjoyment or the forbidden lobster (Leviticus 11, 22). The heart beats and stops for a little rest to catch its breath, panic sets in, but you live to fight another day. People stop addressing you as mister and call you ‘dads’ or ‘pappy’. Your eyesight is five-five and your driving independence becomes zero. A dozen pills a day is your friendly diet and you go everywhere with your medicine chest; your pill diet affects the stiffness and elasticity that precede sexual sweetness and you live on your memories. Those years do not seem golden anymore, not even the silver lining that is supposed to follow with expected heavenly bliss. If you have diabetes, milk and honey conflict with the doctor’s orders.
“Wild Coot, I am ashamed of you. That is a rather jaundiced view of life, although I would admit that there is a modicum of truth in it. I myself have just started changing body parts. I had cataracts in both eyes so my crystalline lenses are artificial. I was falling down and I had to get a hip replacement. My hearing was suspect so I bought a hearing aid that I can turn on and off depending on the speaker; a pacemaker bedecks my breast, it makes me careful about passing through airports and other screens.
“Two toes have not been replaced and so my balance cannot be relied on; then the kidneys stopped functioning over the past two years. Luckily a youngster in a motorcycle crash provided me with relief. I live every day in fear of a stroke that will leave me, if I am lucky, trying to walk and looking like a cripple. Flatulence is responsible for strange noises – not to mention fragrances. Other than that, these golden years are great because I can reminisce in my many moments of solitude as the sweet things flash across that inward eye for a sweet split second.
“Here in Barbados I remember the good days when the moon was ten feet away and I only had to jump to touch it. Barbados was a good place in which to live. In those days, not too long ago too, we had honest politicians; fellows of integrity on both side of the political divide and there was not a case of eenie meenie miney mo.”
He hung up abruptly; the phone probably dropped out of his hand. Set me thinking. Golden years? Probably God realized that six scores was too much for us to handle. Nowadays when you reach five scores the Governor General and all Barbados rejoice with you; you get your picture in the newspapers. Your life is spent, and more and more the wishing and envying take over.
It is a pity that today’s youthful days are so fraught with brass treasures. One needs to search diligently for the good things of life. However, the saying “make hay while the sun shines” should not be taken lightly and moreso during youthful days. Despite the political obstacles, sweetness must not be wasted on the desert air that now confronts us.