Tue, Feb 20, 2018 01:52 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Smile Awhile
The Olden Days

Here’s a couple of jokes that came by way of e-mail this week.

Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day. One remarked to the other, “Windy, isn’t it?”

“No,” the second man replied, “it’s Thursday.”

And the third man chimed in, “So am I. Let’s have a beer.”

And here’s another one.

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards. One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, “Now don’t get mad at me ...I know we’ve been friends for a long time...But I just can’t think of your name! I’ve thought and thought, but I can’t remember it. Please tell me what you name is.”

Her friend glared at her for at least three minutes. Finally she said, “How soon do you need to know?”

And while we’re on the subject, my grandmother Lucy used to say that “old age” was tragic. Needless to say, I was young then and was never going to be old, so I didn’t take her advice to heart. That was my first mistake because the older I became, the more I realized that getting older was not only tragic, it could be devastating.

In the past few years, my health has declined so I have had time to reflect on Grandmother’s adage and now view my advancing age from a different perspective. Although, I don’t always feel as good as I’d like, I have learned that, even though they’re unattractive, wrinkles aren’t painful. (My husband said baldness didn’t hurt either.)

Several weeks ago, my best childhood friend, Kathy Barker (Branson) who has also had some health issues, came to visit her father, Bill “Radio” Barker. She and her husband, John, had retired and were moving to Florida. As we sat and talked, I started thinking about how Kathy and I used to view getting older and remembered when we constructed a “rest home” in my family’s garage.

It was the summer of 1961 when Kathy and I decided to section off the garage and use it for a rest home for all the old people we knew. We partitioned the rooms off with ropes, set up lounging lawn chairs in each cubicle, attached cord to empty paper cups to use as telephones, and invited people to stay. We were also going to serve drinks and food at an additional fee. In retrospect, the rest home looked like a big concrete room with a bunch of chairs sitting around. because that’s exactly what it was.

The cost was a dollar a day, and the first person Kathy asked was Imogene Ward, a fifth grade teacher at Paintsville Elementary. I asked my sixth grade teacher, Lillian Arrowood. Our spiel went something like this, “Would you like to come and stay at our rest home for old people?” I can still remember Kathy and I talking about how hard teaching must be and how the teachers really needed a rest at the end of the day. Heck! We were providing them with a service.

Now that I’ve had a chance to think back on it, we must have sounded like idiots.

I can’t remember the looks on their faces, but I can only imagine since they were both younger than Kathy and I are now. I’m sure they were either amused or amazed by the audacity of our question.

Despite our good intentions, the “rest home” idea fell through when Mother and Daddy converted the garage into a family room (probably just in time to save us from humiliating some other adult, not to mention ourselves). The entire idea was so ludicrous, it had to be mine because even then Kathy was much smarter than I was. But just like a good friend, she went along with me.

But with health issues the way they are, and the golden years just around the bend, Kathy and I might need to break out those lounge chairs and paper cup telephones once again. Now, if we could only find someone to feed us.

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