By Marge McMillen
My mother taught me never to ridicule others less fortunate than I, and I have lived my life practicing this lesson learned. But really, there is a limit, isn’t there? I mean, just look at that old woman performing the simple act of getting up out of a chair. The grunts and groans emanating from her lips will astound you, and I find myself saying under my breath, “For heaven’s sake, just stand up. Why make such a production out of such a simple act?”
And then I realize … that woman is me.
What happened to that lively young girl who never gave this mundane routine a second thought? I’m referring to the same one who used to mow a lawn, clean a house and go out for an evening of dance all on the same day. Remember her?
Today I am addicted to Dancing With The Stars, and though their dance routines blow my mind, what really gets to me is that after a strenuous gymnastic routine, the couples run up a flight of stairs as though floating on a cloud. Are you kidding me? After sitting in a chair, I find I need something from the basement, but there are those stairs. I mean, there are those stairs! Count them … 12 down and 12 up ... a major operation, even with the help of side-by-side banisters.
But then, the mere act of walking is a challenge today. I remember a TV show titled Laugh In that aired years ago, starring Arte Johnson as a doddering old man who shuffled his feet in tiny steps, taking forever to go a very short distance. It was funny … or at least I thought so then. But here I am now, shuffling with the same gait, getting nowhere fast. Oddly, it’s not so funny anymore. Strange how your taste in comedy changes through the years, isn’t it?
I am looking out the window and realize the lovely season of spring has finally arrived. Ah, that blessed season … Buffalo’s reward for weathering a long, bitter winter. But wait … look what’s grown under the snow. Now I see a green lawn sprinkled with an array of brilliant yellow dandelions. I remember relishing the act of gardening, but now I look upon it as a true form of torture. Getting down is tough, but getting up is next to impossible. Weeds you say? Suddenly I see beauty in these lovely flowers of gold. Count that as another plus for growing old.
And then there is the housework. What I used to do in a day, now takes me a week…or more. Besides creating three meals a day, making beds, doing laundry, etc., I used to take on a project like washing both sides of every window adorning my house, along with the accompanying curtains. Now I wash one window, and maybe wash the curtain from said window. Surely that warrants me a prize of some sort, doesn’t it? Like a glass of wine and a snack? Yes, that’ll be reward enough. I’m not hard to please, another plus for growing old.
And so I say, young folks, enjoy your youth. I did. And if you’re lucky, you may one day be a creaky old lady or a doddering old man, but on your way, always remember that old saying. “Never judge another until you’ve walked in their shoes”.
So, yes, I may be a creaky old lady … but considering the alternative, I’m happy to be here providing comic material for the young, and hoping and praying they will live long enough to do the same.
Marge McMillen of East Amherst wonders what happened to that little girl.