Bill Moeller Commentary: And Life Goes On


There are two songs that have been running through my brain this past week.

One of them was written in 1938 by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson for a Broadway show called “Knickerbocker Holiday.” It began with these words: “Oh it’s a long long way from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September.” 

Go ahead, look up the song online for the complete lyrics. They’re beautiful and poignant.

The other song was written by Paul McCartney and asks, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64? Sixty-four? That’s nothing.

He should try to sing those words when he’s 94 as I can now!

Cinco De Mayo is not the only reason for celebration on May 5. It’s also the day that marks the arrival on this earth of yours truly back in 1928.

So why am I saying this a week later? 

The answer is, because I felt that writing last week about the return of the Centralia Farmers Market to Pine Street was more important.

Getting back to my arrival, even though I was there when it happened, I don’t remember the day of the week that I took my first breath, but I know that last Thursday was the day that 94 candles would have been placed on the birthday cake if there had been room.

Instead of a party, my son and daughter-in-law and I celebrated — with no fanfare — at the Shanghai Cafe in downtown Centralia. It’s become sort of a habit with us lately for special occasions.

One reason has to be the fact that it’s not the old Shanghai Cafe you might remember. The atmosphere is totally different and the food is much more authentic, and that’s enough of a free commercial.

I’ll just say we like the new look.

So, how does it feel to have lasted this long?

I can truthfully say that I’ve felt better than I have in the last couple of years. I don’t mean just the two recent spills I’ve taken — they hurt for a while but that eventually went away.

It’s the loss of memory that hurts without stopping.

If you find yourself talking to me these days, you might notice a blank look on my face. I try to subdue the puzzled expression, but I’m sure it’s noticed.

It only means I’m trying like all get-out to remember — in this order — your name and why I can feel a warmth between us while at the same time I’m mad at myself because I can’t bring the answers to mind.

I’m certain that there are more than one or two ways to battle this situation. I’m also aware that such an attitude can be and must have been overcome by others, and then that thought seems to be pushed aside by asking myself, “Do I really want to go to all that trouble surmounting such a state when I could spend the same amount of time working in the small garden that brings me such satisfaction?” 

Enough of that.

On a lighter note, I can still paddle my kayak when it’s warm and when there’s someone else who can load and remove it from the top of the car (and help me get out of it when beached at the end of the cruise). And I can still sit under the neighbor’s tree that shares its shade on my side of the fence while reading or simply sitting there with Sam on my lap. We’ll be celebrating his second birthday next month.

So, does wisdom come with age? Or shall we settle for enjoying the moment, be it May or September?


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at