I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, December 2, 2018

December musings

Whatcom Park stairs
Yesterday morning several of us ladies met to go on a rather longish walk. Although it was supposed to be around five miles, it turned out to be closer to seven. As we were walking along, we saw two older women ahead of us, and I pulled out my phone to see if I could get a picture of the incredible head of hair that one of them has. See that white mane? When I passed by, I complimented her on that magnificent hair. She said, "thanks, I grew it myself."

Usually when one ages, your hair gets thinner. If I were to grow my hair out, I don't think it would get much past my shoulders, and it wouldn't be pretty, like hers, but sparse and wispy. No, I'll stick with my short hair and get it cut every six weeks. But I can admire a head of hair like hers and be thankful that I don't have to care for it.

My birthday was yesterday, reminding me that the months and years are flying by quickly. Frankly, it is beginning to feel like I'm on a carousel and as it picks up speed, I'm hanging on for dear life. One day I'll be unable to keep hanging on and will fall, laughing and hoping for a soft landing. One could hardly do better at a soft landing than President H.W. Bush: at 94, he died peacefully in his bed last Friday, a few months after the love of his life, Barbara, passed at 92. His last words were, "I love you, too." True gentleman to the end.

My brother Buz put the lyrics and song to "76 Trombones" on my Facebook page, and that song has been bouncing around in my head ever since. Thanks to the internet, I could find the lyrics easily.
Seventy-six trombones led the big parade
With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.
They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos,
The cream of ev'ry famous band.
I'm probably one of the few people who remembers that song when it first came out in "The Music Man," which was on Broadway in 1957. It was revived several more times, and a movie was made about it. From that link:
The show's success led to revivals, including a long-running 2000 Broadway revival, a popular 1962 film adaptation and a 2003 television adaptation. It is frequently produced by both professional and amateur theater companies.
Well, that explains why it is still so well known today. It's still a current phenomenon, so I can feel just fine belting out the lyrics and "oompha up and down the square," while I try out the flavor of 76. Why not? Many people never get the chance to experience old age, and I intend to pick up my knees and march towards 77, with a happy cadence and a smile on my face.

Of course, I'll be a lot happier to smile when I no longer have a fat lip from a fall I took on Thursday. Yes, another one. This time I was on a rather steep uphill and lost my footing on a slippery root that was covered by wet leaves. I fell forward and hit my lip pretty hard, along with scraping my shin and tweaking my wrist. It could have been much worse, but my pride was injured the most. Yesterday as we ladies enjoyed coffee together after the walk, a few noticed the bruise, which is beginning to be quite impressing. We then talked about the falls that several of the others have taken recently, some of which could have ended up with terrible consequences. Fortunately, other than scraped elbows and fat lips, we are quite capable of carrying on. Gravity just keeps us on our toes, trying to stay upright and able to move around without further injury. I smile at a quote I remember from my skydiving days: "Gravity is not just a good idea, it's the LAW!" Some of my friends had t-shirts with that saying.

I'm going to the movies with my friend Judy today, this time to see "The Green Book," a movie starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. It's gotten good reviews, but there is quite a bit of controversy over the subject of the movie. The title refers to a book that was used when travelling to help African Americans navigate the Jim Crow south, telling them where it was safe to stop and eat and stay for the night. Ali plays a gifted concert pianist, and Mortensen plays his bigoted driver. I really like both of the actors, and a few of my friends have already seen it and enjoyed it.

Last week we went to see the new Melissa McCarthy movie, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" Not being much of a fan of McCarthy, I was not sure I'd like it, but she plays Lee Israel, a real person who became a world-class forger and wrote a book with that title from her prison cell. I enjoyed it thoroughly and expect to see McCarthy nominated for an Oscar, at the very least. She showed she can do more than just slapstick comedy. I recommend it.

Well, I just looked up at the clock and realized that I'm in danger of running behind my schedule this morning, wanting to get to the coffee shop within the next half-hour (which means I will definitely be late). Oh, well. This post takes whatever time it takes to write. I'll hop out of bed, hopefully paying attention to gravity, and head off into the day. My partner is still fast asleep, tea is gone, and winter temperatures mean I'll be scraping frost off the windshield before taking off in my trusty car. I hope that you, my dear friends, will have a wonderful Sunday. Stay safe and remember to give your loved ones a smile and a hug until we meet again next week. I wish you all good things.


gigi-hawaii said...

Belated Happy Birthday, Jan. And many more.
Sorry about the fall, but at least your teeth weren't broken.

Tabor said...

Had dinner with friends last night and we talked about falls. I had that nasty one in Puerto Rico, but am hoping with my osteoporosis that I have few more in my future. My hair would most certainly clog the drains if I let it grow that long! I cleaned the shower drain with ne of those long squiggly things the other day and brought enough hair to look like a small gray mouse!

Linda Reeder said...

I seem to spend a lot of effort these days avoiding falls. It goes with the territory of being "not young".
I used 76 Trombones as the theme for the birthday cards I made for Tom and Jan on their 76th birthday. They survived the year and moved on smoothly to 77. I have no doubt you will too. Just stay on your feet please. :-)

Rian said...

Not another fall, DJan! You are lucky it wasn't worse. Between you and Joanne (Cup on the Bus), there's been a lot of 'falling' (of course she's had some really bad ones). Yes, you have been lucky, but do be careful. And as for the long white hair, I too use to wear my white hair in a long ponytail or braided down the back (It was never that long or that thick). My friend told me that I looked like Willie Nelson... ha! But I did like it... however, eventually went back to short. And before I forget, Happy Belated Birthday! Enjoy the carousel and keep hanging on!

Gigi said...

I'm glad you were seriously hurt; that could have resulted in some missing teeth. Have a great week, my friend.

William Kendall said...

Ouch on that fall!

Elephant's Child said...

I do hope that gravity treats you (and me) more kindly this week.

Red said...

Sorry to hear about the fall. We're between a rock and a hard place. If we protect ourselves from falling we do next to nothing. Vigorous activity is crucial. You know that because you tell me about it. Today I fell three times. I was cross country skiing and the snow was deep so I got wet. My glasses had fogged up and I didn't notice it so I kept losing my balance.

Far Side of Fifty said...

So what did you do for your birthday? Hope it was great. Too bad about your fall...glad you were not hurt too bad. Have a wonderful week:)

Mary said...

Your comments about the carousel really hit home. I too feel life is just spinning by ever faster and faster.

I also feel we are leaving a gentler time. I really felt this with Bush senior dying and the wonderful classy happy decent life he led and the person he was. I’m afraid we will not see this again...maybe not the horror we have now, but I have just a sense of a more humane and caring for all of the people era passing. The world has changed and not for the better, I’m afraid.

Be safe with those falls...not good at our age.

Mona McGinnis said...

Like the song, I would say you are a current phenomenon.

Arkansas Patti said...

Ouch, I understand those face plants. I may look for one of those gravity shirts. Right now I am picking up my feet like I am marching to 76 trombones:))
You are still a youngster to me.

Rita said...

I remember the song. Now it's playing in my head--LOL!
Sorry you fell again. Just so glad you weren't hurt any worse.
Yes, this carousel is spinning along. Maybe I didn't notice how fast it was going until I kind of stepped off. ;)

Dee said...

Dear DJan, I do remember 1957 and the movie. That song always has me moving my feet and playing an imaginary trombone!

Sorry to learn about the fall. But so relieved for you that it wasn't more serious.

As to Sunday-- I had a lovely day, one of the best in several weeks. And today I am mostly potching and feeling grateful for my warm home and for food for the cats and me and for my friends and for the fact that I have Social Security and an Annuity and I can afford to heat the house and buy food. I am one of the lucky ones. On these days of chill and overcast, I think often of those who are homeless on the downtown streets of Kansas City. And of the stranger who has no friends. And of the imprisoned by bars or fears or PTSD. So much pain, DJan, in our world. Your blog, always with its emphasis on gratitude and friendship is a welcomed lighthouse in the darkness of the storm we find ourselves in. Peace.

C-ingspots said...

So sorry to hear of your fall! I'm glad you're alright. Yes, the time seems to be speeding up with each passing year. It's shocking how fast it's going! I want to do and see and experience everything, while I still can. Happy Birthday to you!!! I can only hope that I will be doing as well when I (hopefully) reach your age. Long hair or short, you are a beautiful woman, inside and out. As always, reading your thoughts gives me a peaceful feeling. Thank you. And in case I don't get the chance later, I wish for you a beautiful and peaceful Christmas holiday. May 2019 be kind to us all...

Galen Pearl said...

Four people I know have suffered serious breaks in the last few months from falls after simply tripping over something. Gravity indeed. Not something to be fearful about, but something to be mindful about as we navigate our world.

I hope you liked Green Book. I saw it yesterday and enjoyed it--a feel good movie about a real life unlikely friendship. I grew up in the South that was depicted in the movie--terrible to confront the truth of that past (and sadly still the present sometimes), but inspired by the ability we have to rise above and reach out. I always enjoy your reflections.

Dr Sock said...

A seven mile walk - that is impressive. Walking is such a great way to stay fit and enjoy nature, and it is a bonus when you do it with friends. I use walking poles on steep or difficult trails.


John's Island said...

Hi DJan, One of the things I love about Eye on the Edge is that, almost without exception, I find something in the post that makes me say to myself, Dang, That is exactly the way I feel. This time it is this: “Frankly, it is beginning to feel like I'm on a carousel and as it picks up speed, I'm hanging on for dear life. One day I'll be unable to keep hanging on and will fall, laughing and hoping for a soft landing.” I just couldn’t have said it better. I am sorry to hear about your fall and hope you are mending quickly. Thanks for another great post. John