At Home on the Range: Role models | TheFencePost.com

At Home on the Range: Role models

by Jody White

Elsmere, Neb.

We are now officially into winter, with its long, frigid nights, and grey, cold days. It’s that time of year when my feet are banished from anywhere close to Butch’s side of the bed as they have become like two blocks of ice! It’s that time of the year when each of us feign sleep in hopes that the other will get up first in the morning and turn the heat up, and the coffee on.

Neither one of us want to face crawling out of a warm bed onto a cold floor, and then going outside to do chores.

It seems at this time of the year we go to town less; out to dinner almost never; and out dancing? Yeah, right! The opportunity for very many extracurricular activities this time of year is limited. So when we were invited to join the “Senior Citizens Community” (my name for them, not theirs) card parties, we were desperate enough to not only join, but not even object to being considered senior citizens! Which, just for the record we are not! Not that I have anything against being a senior citizen. I just don’t want to be one until I’m actually there! Needless to say, we are the youngest card players present, and I suppose I do find some kind of consolation in that, although it was pointed out to me that 50 is just the “youth of old age”! What a bummer.

Butch and I are so grateful that the people who belong to this group of pitch-playing enthusiasts are not cutthroat, but are just there to have a good time, or we would be in big trouble. Cards really aren’t my thing. I’m strictly there for the social aspect and the food, and both are incredible.

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There is just something about being around a group of people who love life, and even in their 70s, 80s and 90s still really know how to enjoy themselves. I’ve learned more hysterically funny points of interest and history about our little valley, and the Sandhills than I could have ever learned from a book. Mainly because a lot of these people are pieces of walking history themselves. They have lived here all their lives, married, raised children. And then they followed grandchildren and then great-grandchildren, and in some cases great-great-grandchildren in sports, rodeo, or whatever. Their minds are sharp. They are witty, funny and oh so wise. You see it’s not their minds that are not functioning up to specs, it’s their backs, hips, legs, arms, feet, and hands that give them fits. With the exception of just a few people, none of them can shuffle cards anymore. The last one who tried included all of us in a game of “52 Pick Up,” because the cards went everywhere! Oh, there is that occasional mental lapse, “Who dealt last? No I don’t think it was me. Was it? Are you sure?” They kid each other about it. They are delightful company, and are my role models for senior citizenry. And although they may not be able to shuffle the cards much anymore, and they might lose track of where the last deal was, they do know their cards. They have a strategy, and keep to a game plan while I’m still trying to keep track of what beats what!

Butch and I try to go to the card parties whenever we can. We limp through the game, everyone trying to help us ” make that help me, Butch actually does okay. In truth? I believe I have more of those “senior moments” than they do. But they are all so patient, as I throw away cards that count; forget my glasses and can’t read the suit (mostly struggling with differentiating between clubs and spades); or dealing in the wrong direction. The table that I’m playing at is always the last to finish. I’m famous for asking dumb questions and then, in my nervousness, forgetting the answers before I get to the next table, and so on, and so on. I know I’m probably a cross to bear. And they bear it so patiently, and with such a sense of humor.

I asked one of the gentlemen who goes regularly how he grew old so gracefully, with such wit and wisdom. He thought a moment and said, “Old age is just like everything else. To be a success, you’ve got to start young!”

Now ain’t that the truth???