From the Liberator, Vol. 35 No. 1 summer 2001
I have good news for you. The first 80 years are the hardest. The second is a succession of birthday parties.
Once you reach 80, everyone wants to carry your baggage and help you up the steps. If you forget your name of anybody else’s name, or an appointment, or your telephone number, or promise to be three places at the same time, or can’t remember how many grandchildren you have, you need only explain that you are 80.
Being 80 is a lot better than being 70. At 70 people are mad at you for everything. At 80 you have a perfect excuse not matter what you do. If you act foolishly, it’s your second childhood. Everybody is looking for symptoms of softening of the brain.
Being 70 is no fun at all. At that age they expect you to retire to a house in Florida and complain about your arthritis (they used to call it lumbago), and you ask everybody to stop mumbling because you can’t understand them. (Actually your hearing is about 50% gone.)
If you survive until you are 80, everybody is surprised that you are still alive. They treat you with respect just for having lived so long. Actually they seem surprised that you can walk and talk sensibly.
So please, folks, try to make it to 80. It’s the best time of life. People forgive you for anything. If you ask me, Life begins at 80.
Today, Dear Lord, I am 80 and there’s so much I haven’t done.
I hope, Dear Lord, you’ll let me live until I’m 81.
But, if I haven’t finished all I want to do, would you please let me stay awhile, until I’m 82?
So many places I want to go, so much I want to see
Do you think you could manage to make it 83?
Many things I may have done, but there’s so much left in store,
I’d like it very much to live to 84.
And if by then, I’m still alive,
Then, I’d like to stay to 85.
The world is changing very fats,
So I’d like to stick around and see what happens to the world when I am 86.
I know, Dear Lord, it’s a lot to ask, and it will be nice in heaven,
But I’d really like to stay around until I’m 87.
I know by then I won’t be fast, and something, I’ll be late,
But it would be oh-so-pleasant to be around at 88.
I will have seen so many things and had a wonderful time,
So, I’m sure that I’ll be willing to leave at 89. (Well…maybe)
Director, Delta County Historical Society and Museum