… Well, this could be the last time
This could be the last time
Maybe the last time
I don’t know, oh no, oh no (Rolling Stones)
John Clark musing about the concept of When. After my third fall on the day before Labor Day (only my ego suffered), the most abysmal gardening year of my life, and assorted dark thoughts (non-lethal, but mostly humorous as hell), I’ve turned to pondering those ‘last times’ all of us will face, or maybe already have started to.
Some are part of the natural evolution of life. There was a time when I bowled ten pins three nights a week, but that lost its allure a long time ago. I still have uncounted gigabytes of computer role-playing games on my two computers, but while I think of them fondly, I hardly ever play, mostly because it’s more fun to create my own fantasy lands as a writer. The same goes for friends. I learned a long time ago that not everyone ages or matures at the same rate and I’ve outgrown people I was once very close to.
Then, there are ‘lasts’ beyond our control…places going out of business like the movie theater in Pittsfield and the drive-in in Skowhegan, or products we’ve bought and come to rely upon that have vanished from store shelves.
In my case, it seems like every birthday after a certain point that ends in zero changes my body chemistry to make eating something I’ve enjoyed all my life unpleasant. at fifty it was fried foods, at sixty spicy stuff (at least the upper ranges I used to consume with impunity). ant at seventy, I discovered I had a sudden intolerance for avocadoes.
I have a friend and a cousin who have sold their motorcycles because of the danger of dropping them, or getting hit while driving. Likewise two other friends have sold their boats and no longer fish. They cited the following reasons, danger of tipping and lack of fishing buddies. In a related scenario, a friend in Hartland volunteered that he’d quit hunting when he had to use his shotgun to help prop him up so he could walk home.
Most of the ‘lasts’ that come to mind involve physical activity, but not all. Consider the following: going to a concert-rude, rowdy crowds and poor hearing all come to mind as does the sad reality that many of the performers we grew up with are dropping like flies (I really miss Gordon Lightfoot), not to mention obscene ticket prices. Twenty-two years ago today (9/11) probably did it for many in terms of flying. We still do, but given a choice, I’d go by train. Then, there are pets. We have an old, nearly blind and deaf dog who we both love, but when he’s gone, that’s likely it. I’m tired of feeling like I’m a hostage to his weak bladder.
As for the physical stuff. I know climbing even a gentle mountain trail is behind me. We climbed Katahdin 47 years ago and I can still remember how long it took to stand up without wincing after we returned to camp. Flat, well-cleared trails are still doable, but wading on slippery rocks while fishing is out, as is getting into a kayak. The getting in is no problem, the reverse, however is likely a deal breaker. Canoeing is still possible as long as the two of us can get the sucker atop my car and fasten it securely.
As for gardening, given how much money we put into ours this year, not to mention the time and effort (mostly on Beth’s part) to keep it weeded, just so we could get a handful of tomatoes, celery, and a few meals of beans? Not likely to go there again.
‘Whens’ still on the go list include going to sporting events, eating out, plays, day trips, taking unusual photos, our week in Perry, going to book sales and then selling online (that NEVER gets old), discovering new books to read (don’t tell Beth, but I have 6 new ones on order at Bullmoose), cloud watching, and most important of all, coming up with new story ideas whether they are short ones or book length. I sat down last week to create something for a short story competition sponsored by a liquor company. The requirements were a it needed a ghost and had to be between 250-2000 words. I whipped up a nice rough draft of 1945 words in three hours. Once it set for a couple days, I submitted it. Will it win? No way of telling, but the last one I wrote for a similar contest ended up in King’s River Life.
Where are you on the ‘last’ spectrum?