4. March Forth on March Fourth

In which Carrie honors “old guys” (to encapsulate also gals) and the gifts that keep on giving…

My grandfather on my mom’s side has one of those rascally forms of dementia, so he doesn’t, as far as we understand, remember much.  But I do know he would appreciate my little homonymic pun in the title, being a wordsmith himself.  All of my relatives will catch themselves occasionally expressing a “grandpa-ism” and we’ll nod knowingly at each other when we come up with a phrasing that he’d appreciate.  Even at his advanced stage, his wrinkles and conditioned facial muscles can’t hide the humor he naturally advocated.

And so today was another  in which I adventured in the woods.  I got to spend it with two “old guys” who delighted me without fail.  When I say “old guys” I should clarify that it is far from derogatory, and perhaps my affection for those in this bracket will be understood as I continue…

I don’t know how old Gary and Bill are, to be exact…would not it have been rude to ask?  No.  It wouldn’t’ve.  In fact, they played up on their ageistic foibles any chance they got on our two snowshoe tours today.  Bill was as old as Mt. Bachelor, and Gary was born around the time plate tectonics were a-grumbling. I knew very quickly–when they referred to me as a “whippersnapper”–that I was really just a kid in their eyes.  And here I think I know so much!

Why I feel this practically unrealistic excess of gratitude for life at the moment, and the barely-managed repercussions of this energy, may be due to the newness of my recent roles in life, or just the well-known habit of the diversification of experience.  And yet, I know I’m just starting.

I’m learning from people like Gary and Bill that real LIVING doesn’t stop at retirement.  And, importantly, giving doesn’t either.  I want to be as old as Bachelor and march forth on snowshoes with the eager public from Denmark or Bremerton or Pennsylvania, and know that I’m not done after today…not yet…not tomorrow either…not until they lock me up and throw away the key…until I’ve done enough to ensure that I’m old enough to say I walked in the forest today and told people what it’s like and how good this is.


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