All my life I’ve been under the impression that old age was something that slowly crept on you when, possibly, your back was turned.
It was supposed to be like wanting to sleep an extra 10 or 15 minutes before throwing off the covers and reaching for fresh underwear.
It wasn’t supposed to smash you in the face with anything wet or unpleasant.
If you’ve been following these scribblings of mine for the past five or six months, you’ll have already become aware that one darned thing after another has destroyed the peace, the good health and, certainly, the wealth of this nonagenarian — starting from just about the same time that the big ball hit the ground in New York City at the beginning of 2022.
A short list includes tripping on some concrete and falling face first onto a small portion of Centralia’s Main Street, being diagnosed with “the virus” even though I’d had three shots to prevent such an event and then tripping onto concrete once again (backwards, this time) which resulted in some unpleasant and painful damage to both arms and elbows.
But then did I mention that I’m 94 years old? Oh, I guess I have, many times recently — if my memory works. All I can think of to ask is, “Where are the Guardian Angels when you need one?”
That question could have been safely asked about midway through last week.
I fell again.
My mission for the day was to clear off all the ivy shoots and blackberry bushes that had been creeping through the fence that divides my back yard from a field of them. My plan of action was simple: try to reach through small cracks and cut the invading specimens as far from the back side of the fence as I could.
The previous resident of my domicile had used large rocks — almost small boulders in some locations — to form a slightly raised bin of native plants. It was one of those rocks that apparently reached out and grabbed the toe of my boot, causing an unexpected connection between me and solid ground. One foot was twisted and folded underneath my body, causing a sharp pain in my ankle.
My first thought was, “Here I go to the emergency room again!” My second thought was, “No! I’ve already been there too many times this year. I’ll suffer my way through in the manner that a former paratrooper would be expected to.”
A good friend whose occupation was once that of a nurse guided me through what I should do to ease the pain and quicken the healing, a procedure that eventually brought me back to my previous status of an old man who should have known better.
But is that progress?
Other than that, life goes on and I still hope to be able to transfer my kayak from its cradle to the top of my Jeep and get it wet a few times this summer. We’ll see.
On a less personal subject, there seems to be some conflicts in the Port of Centralia lately, but then, that’s been the situation from almost the beginning of that body.
I’d given a lot of thought toward filing for a vacancy at the last election, but eventually decided against it, based mainly on my hearing problems in areas where sound seems to bounce around and become muddled, like in closed rooms.
I now wish I’d been thinking of what’s best for the community instead of what’s best for the ego. I’ve often mentioned my feelings on the premise that “bigger is better.” My conclusion is that it isn’t, or at least it seldom is.
In the case of a community, it usually only increases the need for more schools and more law enforcement while also increasing the cost of owning a home and driving behind more cars and trying to find parking spaces closer to our destination.
We citizens need to pay attention to decisions being made that may impact what has been our “normal” way of life — even if some of us are 94.
Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.