COLUMNS

Outtakes: Are golden years all that golden?

Frank Weaver Jr.
Suburbanite correspondent

When you're the oldest male sibling in a family of 11, you learn more about life from living it. With a deaf father and no older brothers to question, heaven forbid you'd wouldn't dare ask an older sister about the mysteries of life. Growing up, no one ever said the golden years were all that golden. Nor did anyone say they weren't. Those tidbits of life you learn on your own.

Frank Weaver Jr.

Instead, we're told to work our derriere's off for a chance to sit back in later years to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But what's expected in life seems to remain that way, while in reality we're hit with the unexpected, day in and day out.

Let's face it, humans were never meant to live alone. After all we're not polar bears. We need each other to help, to socialize and to love. Else there would be no such thing as fellow humans. Other humans are essential to our well being and good health.

A person without friends doesn't last long. Unfortunately, aging brings about the loss of friends. In time it gets to the point where they are either few and far between, somewhere in the hereafter, and you're the last. The more you age all those friends you once had seem to diminish. By the time you reach the age of an octogenarian, there are hardly any remaining.

So who wants to spend their golden years alone, or, already set in our ways as we are, trying to make new friends. Not I. I'd rather enjoy what remaining years I may have left with those long time friends I've cultivated over the years than make new ones. And most people I've talked with said they would, too.

I thought about this last week when the TV went blank as the temperature dropped into the single digit range and a new blanket of pure white snow covered the outside for the better part of the week. I thought of all the friends I made as a coach with P.L.A.Y. Pops who have possibly gone on to that great sports field in the sky. Few longtime friends from the Portage Lakes Fireworks Association and early Boat Parade committees remain. And after living in one home for 41 years, downsizing from a four to a two-bedroom home in the lakes was necessary to make it easier for us to maintain as we approach those golden years.

After more than 70 stage productions on the Northeast Ohio theatrical circuit, not even a handful of my fellow thespians remain. Even after being recognized with one best-supporting and two best acting awards over a quarter of a century, it's not enough to fill the void left by the loss of friends. I think about this as I age.

But then I also think about all I have and how I'm blessed. I think about my grandson, Mitchell, and granddaughter, Mo, and how well they're doing. And our younger granddaughters, especially Mia who was born with little or no hope of surviving, and about how she lights up my life just with her presence.

I think about 24 year old Nina and how she gave at least two years of her life as a missionary to help poor children in Africa, Haiti and other foreign countries. I'm proud of our new teenager, AnnaMay and her natural talent for music and art, and get a kick out of little Ella, whom I call “Jitterbug” because she is constantly on the go. Then I think of the wonderful parents these girls have, our daughter, Wendy, and Bobby, the fine young man she chose to spend the rest of her life.

Finally I think of the one person who has stayed by me through thick and thin, my wife, Peggy, and I realize that if those golden years are anything like the past, then I don't want 'em to ever change.

Just bring 'em on.

Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com