Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

February 6, 2013

Golden Years - Part 3

Greensburg — Some time ago, a poor disillusioned soul looking forward to retirement and envisioning a life of leisure, penned the term “Golden Years.”

If this person’s identity were known today, his or her wanted poster would be hanging in every nursing home in the country.

Outside, snow is swirling around the house and forming into drifts while icicles hang from the eaves like silvery daggers. Naked trees are outlined against a dreary, gray sky that threatens to dump more frozen H2O on the lawn.

A bitter wind creates depressing moans like the cries of lost souls as it whips across the windows. It’s February, the one month of the year that serves no purpose other than filling a dreary space between January and March. It’s during this month that we snowbound, shivering, idle “senior citizens” rue the fact that our parents hadn’t raised us on an exotic island somewhere in the South Pacific.

But, perhaps if this had been the case, the shoe might have been on the other foot. Imagine telling your family that in order to escape the withering heat of winter on Hawaii, you’ve decided to treat them to a couple of months in North Dakota. While gazing out the window at the other houses in the neighborhood — which are empty because their occupants are spending a few months basking on sun drenched beaches in Florida — I thought about what prompted this golden years individual to come to that conclusion.

During our younger years, we moved through life like a tornado through a Kansas wheat field. Like well-oiled machines, we bounced like grease in a hot skillet, came down with the usual kid diseases like mumps, measles and chicken pox and probably broke a small bone once in a while. In my family, any ailment short of a skull fracture was treated with a foul tasting concoction called Dr. Drake’s Miracle Elixir. It actually cured nothing, but to avoid further doses of the stuff, we grew really efficient at faking miracle recoveries. Hacking and coughing in the morning got us out of school for the day, but a miracle recovery that evening spared us any more Dr. Drakes.

There followed years of education, starting a family and a career, and an IRA to guarantee financial security during our “golden years of fun and leisure.”

All too suddenly, you’re standing in front of a small group and accepting the gold pocket watch as a symbol of your many years of boring and dull service with Boring and Dull Manufacturing Co. Like a fledgling bird, you’re shoved from the nest to face total freedom, to fly on your own, to enjoy the fruits of years of labor and sacrifice. Within a short while, you finally understand the definition of baloney — and it ain’t lunch meat.

That isn’t true for all retirees, but unless you own a villa in Monte Carlo and count your savings using a wheel barrow, it’s now time to find ways to amuse yourself and avoid having your spouse hire a hit man.

The most obvious next steps are to take up golfing, tennis, or fishing. Considering that the average price of a single golf ball can exceed the price of a haircut and that you will no doubt be driving them into various lakes and heretofore unexplored jungle-like territory, the tennis courts seem like a good compromise. That is, until the former smooth bone joints begin sounding like popcorn when you swing the racket. Fishing? Unless you go on expeditions to exotic locales for giant tarpon or sword fish, you might as well be behind the desk at ‘ol Boring and Dull Inc.

It narrows down to paying attention to a lawn that has been neglected for 35 years, finally replacing washers in the faucets to stop the notices from the water company that you have a serious leak, and considering trading your sports car on a minivan because getting into the thing has become like trying to put on a pair of shoes that are two sizes too small.

Believe it or not, some retirees actually consider taking up ball room dancing. The thought of attempting to swing to the music of Lawrence Welk on feet that have problems maneuvering around traffic in Walmart is ridiculous.

Many seniors attempt to maintain a youthful appearance through hair dyes, facial makeovers, clothing styles, and even cosmetic surgery. Dyeing hair means going from a dignified gray to Elvis Presley black overnight. Facial cosmetics work on a temporary basis whereas cosmetic surgery leaves a person with a permanent smile and eyes that have the person looking like they’re sitting on a tack.

Considering youthful clothing styles these days, an older gentleman wearing jeans that fail to cover the tops of their BVD’s won’t impress the others at the Saturday night bingo games.

 

1
Text Only
Columns
  • opn-gb042414 Column Armerding headshot Taylor Armerding: Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key College graduates with a debt hangover could definitely use an advocate. The average graduate will leave college next month owing $30,000, and enter a still-mediocre job market. But that advocate is not superstar freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren from M

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • opn-gb042414 Wolfsie Column headshot Dick Wolfsie: In a perpetual comma I misplace a lot of things: Keys wallet gloves the dog's leash. Recently I misplaced something that may not seem very important unless you read that last sentence carefully. Then you will realize that believe it or not I can't find my comma. Yes it's

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • nei-gb042314 Spaulding Column headshot Jack Spaulding: Spring turkey hunting season off and running Indiana's 45th annual statewide spring turkey hunting began last Wednesday, April 23, and DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs is expecting harvest results similar to last year. Hunters may kill one male or bearded turkey in the spring season,

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • nei-gb042314-linda kennett column jpg Linda Hamer Kennett: Crate art Paper labels from 1880 to 1930, collectively referred to as "Crate Art," are a unique form of American Folk Art. Originally designed to be glued to the ends of wooden crates to identify produce during shipping, the graphically attractive labels are

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • nei-gb042314-pat smith column headshot Pat Smith: Pat's potpourri This is a Pat's Potpourri day. Sometimes bits and pieces of things that don't quite make a whole column, but are still interesting to readers and me, become a column. Roger Welage told me not long ago that he spent the first 25 years of his life on S

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • nei-gb042314-homemakers logo Eileen Fisse: Garden time nears First a reminder: Club dues are due May 1 to our county treasurer, and now is the time to register for the Home and Family Conference which is held in June. Also, a reminder to sign up to work at the fair. I want to thank those who already signed up

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maureen Hayden: Judge Richard Young described as “careful and thoughtful in his decisions" When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn't

    April 22, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 22, 2014

  • Thanks, Max

    Max Dickson has given the historical society a gift that many will enjoy for years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lee H. Hamilon: Government As Innovator? You Bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: There are many reas

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.