Well, we’re down to the final 120 hours that, again, has for me gone faster than a lightning strike. I suppose, despite the myriad of problems we all see on the national level, from a personal standpoint, I should feel pretty good about 2021. Health-wise, there’ve been no major issues, just the usual concerns that most aging men face with prostates, blood pressures and arthritis, but no doctor informed me of my imminent demise.
As far as my perception regarding time passage, well, I think for the young, they would disagree with that whole lightning-strike speed thing. There are so many impending desirables that time seems to drag for the young.
For the grade school scamp I once was, May seemed an eternity before my June days could be spent riding bikes with my childhood pal Jimmy Fry to Lima’s first shopping strip in the pre-malls days, Westgate, to get to W.T. Grant, on the far west end, where the absolute best comic book rack and supply of baseball cards could be found.
The days seemed to crawl as I approached that magical age of sixteen when I would be able to get that license, essentially what amounted to a golden ticket with the word independence stamped on it. And, of course, time moved like a three-toed sloth again as I awaited eighteen when I could quaff my first legal 3.2 beer.
However, after our youthful times grow smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror and responsibilities rush at working adults day after day, and, yes, at seventy, I’m still a full-time worker as well as a moonlighting free-lancer, work weeks so often become blurs and weekends, mere eye blinks.
Now, segueing to New Year’s Eve, I can remember a time in my life when the last day of a year was indeed something I celebrated with a night out on the town, as if there really was something wrong with the year I’d just lived, and it was actually a good thing to be casting it aside like an old sweatshirt with too many holes. Well, at my I age and faced with the stark realization that in my life’s hour glass, there’s a whole lot more sand in the bottom bulb than in the top, I sure let go of each year with profound regret.
Yes, my New Year’s Eve celebrations were a long time ago. Now, it’s perhaps a movie and a meal with Lady Jane in the afternoon and surely home before Mother Nature pulls the shade on the day. In the evening, I’ll load that crockpot up for some overnight pork, potato, apple and sauerkraut cooking, climb into my lounging clothes early, have a few cold ones while watching a movie or game and slip off to bed long before the mayhem reaches its crescendo in Time Square.
Besides the failure to see a year of my verticality gone as celebratory, another reason for my staying firmly planted inside each December 31 is the older I get, the less I like driving in the dark. Some, as a road quality auditor for Mid-American Cleaning Contractors, I have to do, but, in my nonworking
moments, I surely don’t embrace venturing forth into the darkness that I once during youthful times loved.
As a teen with my running mates, my, how we couldn’t wait till darkness descended and one of us could grab a set of keys to load up that car and cruise North Street. If you’re of a certain age, you remember the route, don’t you, the slow passes through Red Barn, Frisch’s and Kingburger parking lots and that absolute slowest pass made through the Spyker’ lot to see who was inside having a lemonade and noshing on that signature breaded veal sandwich?
I suppose there’s a certain timidity that descends on most of us as we age. I spoke recently with Lady Jane about our shared aversion to driving unnecessarily in the dark. And we laughed at what we once thought nothing of doing but surely would never do now. For Jane, she remembered a trip when she was, I’m sure, one of the University of Dayton’s prettiest co-eds with some college girlfriends to New York in 1968 to traipse around the city way after dark when they weren’t inside the March madness of Madison Square Garden watching Don May lead the Flyers to a National Invitational Tournament title.
And, I remembered just three summers later taking a summer job at a resort hotel called the Essex and Sussex on the Jersey Shore and several times making the hour-long drive with some of my new pals into New York City to attend night games at Yankee Stadium, concerts in Central Park and visits to Times Square, often not leaving to drive back to our hotel dorm until midnight or later and giggling each time over Mom and Dad’s shared oblivion.
Looking back on such times, Jane and I agreed it’s almost as if we are recalling other people’s lives.
At any rate, I think like the majority of my fellow septuagenarians as well as those fortunate octogenarians, nonagenarians and centenarians, I’ll be keeping The Eve on the down low yet again this year and leave my once delicious darkness to the young.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at email@example.com.