Thursday, August 10, 2017


A beautiful end-of-summer morning. If I were six years  old, I'd still be in my pajamas, eating Lucky Charms and drinking chocolate milk while watching cartoons at my grandmother's house. Instead, I'm enjoying the weather out on the porch swing as I work, wearing stretchy pants and drinking iced tea, chilling with the cat.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other, as the saying goes.

* * *

"Eeeeew!" This was my teenage daughter's response when she learned that our 80-something-year-old neighbor was dating again. When we drove past J's house, he and his lady friend were riding a four-wheeler together in the field next to the highway. "Old people should not be dating!"

I laughed and tried to explain that, inside our heads, we "old people" feel as young as we ever were. Our bodies may be wrinkled and saggy, but our eyes and our hearts are as bright as ever.

My young daughter remained skeptical. Apparently, she thinks there should be an age limit to new romances. "People in their 80s should not be dating," she protested. "That's just weird!"

I decided it would be pointless to bring up my friend who made the newspaper for being, at the age of 98, the oldest person to apply for a marriage license in Obion County. What about Abraham and Sarah, in the Bible? Well, that wasn't a new romance, so maybe their story didn't weird her out so much.

* * *

There are some songs that, when they come on the radio, you just have to dance to them, no matter how old you are.

"Is that your daughter?" The middle-aged man on the other side of the gas pump nodded toward the van I was fueling.


"Well, tell her I didn't mean to be rude. I was staring at her rather hard when I pulled in next to y'all. She was acting kind of strange," he explained, "and I wondered if something was the matter. She looks about the same age as my daughter. I just wanted to make sure everything was okay."

"Yeah, everything's fine," I smiled. I bit my lip to keep from laughing. Thank you, Jesus, that he didn't notice her mom, car dancing alongside her in the front passenger seat. He'd have thought we were both completely whacko!

Maybe my daughter and I should act more mature when we are out running errands in town and our favorite songs come on the radio. Maybe, but why?

* * *

When Sally directed us into the chair pose at yoga practice this morning, knees around the room crackled like Pop-Rocks in Dr. Pepper, my knees included.

When I practice yoga, I feel like I am about twenty-three years old. I feel strong and alive and positive, like life has many good things and lovely adventures in store.

My knees remind me that I am fifty-three, actually, not twenty-three. Such disparity between the physical me and the me inside my head!

* * *

When the kids were little, we did one of those butterfly garden kits for a science lesson. Eggs hatched into caterpillars. The caterpillars wiggled and squirmed and fed on rich brown goo until they grew large and swollen and stiff.

Like creaky grandfathers, they slowed to complete inactivity, wrapped themselves in small woolen blankets, and slept the sleep of old age.

But in their hearts, they were not old at all. They were young. Young and very much alive.

In fact, these ancient larvae were so young that they had not even truly been born yet, not born as what they were ultimately meant to be.

Then one day, immobility and brown wrinkles gave way to ravishing color and lighter-than-air new life.

Such magic took my breath away.

* * *

Inside our heads, sweet daughter, we are all very young. Does that seem strange? It shouldn't. Not when you think about it, really.

Here, whether we are eighteen or eighty-eight, we are all still this side of the chrysalis, and that is very young indeed.

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