Ode to an Old Lady

Belly up to the old girls’ bar

Stop digging your own grave

Looking down might kill you

It’s happened to other people

People you know

They couldn’t help themselves

 

Give away your old shoes

Hang the black sweater on the rail

Singing may keep you alive

It’s written in a hardcover book

There’s evidence

A woman lived a thousand years

 

 

 

 

The End of Lament

The day I decided to quit being sad about getting old.

Red's Wrap

Flying Bicycle

I crossed over today. There’s no other way to say it. Like a dying person who sees the bright light, I’ve stopped the struggle, ended the resistance, faced the truth and found that I am fine with it. All at once and for no reason that I can explain, I am just fine with being 65.

At a stoplight today, I looked up at the sky and thought I should take a picture of this, the top of the windshield and the bluest blue sky. It could be my emblem of freedom, driving around town in a Thunderbird convertible. Two older guys in a black Cadillac looked over at me, gave my car a very approving look, and gave me two thumbs up. I feel fine when people who really appreciate pretty cars like my car. People who have taste, discernment, people like me who are older and have seen…

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In Parenting and Other Things: The Gift of a Bad Memory

Antique Store

I read an article a few days ago entitled, “Rare detailed personal memory a burden, and ultimately a gift,” about a young woman who could remember every day of her life in complete detail. Every day. Every detail – what day of the week it was, what she did, what she wore. Everything. There was a sense in the article that this peculiar gift had sometimes driven her crazy, that beyond the incredible party trick, there was a certain torment from remembering so much. After all, we all have days not worth remembering in all their monotony and aggravation and others so difficult and dark that they need to be forgotten so we can function without weeping.

Me, I remember very little and, lest you think this is a symptom of something new and terrible, let me tell you I have always been this way. I remember the tiniest snippets of time, microscopic mind antiques, someone handing me a sandwich, my sister’s flawless feet hanging off the edge of her bed across the room from mine, my son walking with his hand on my shoulder around State Fair.  Collector’s items, thousands of them, all crammed into a space too small, screaming to be cataloged.

One has to wonder why some moments get stuck in a mind’s revolving door and others fly through to be picked up by the wind and blown down the sidewalk.I don’t have an answer for that nor do I envy people who remember so much more than I do. My husband remembers Brewers games we went to twenty years ago, knows instantly if we’ve driven a particular patch of road before, and knows which lakes we canoed  last summer and which ones we just talked about. It’s all water to me.

My children, on the other hand, remember every dropped stitch.

If there was ever a trial about my parenting and I was put on the stand, I’d be non-stop “I don’t remember. I don’t recall.” The jury would raise its 24 eyebrows. How can she not remember anything about raising all those kids? My kids, each one of them, would counter with chapter and verse. It wouldn’t all be pretty but I think some of it would be. I don’t remember.

I’d like to think that if the Alzheimer’s ax hits me, it won’t be the shock other people feel since I already don’t remember very much. Bu then I realize that Alzheimer’s is really about not remembering that I just typed this and then it’s about not remembering how to type and then it’s about thinking the keyboard is the dashboard of my car. Still, maybe my lifelong lack of memory will soften the blow, decades of practice in living totally in the moment. It’s a rare gift, being right here right now and don’t I know it.