Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bush league comment

Damn, these old people are starting to get on my nerves. Not the old folks of my acquaintance. Since falling in with Nancy, I have met quite a few bicyclers who are twenty years or more older than I and in better shape now than I was twenty years ago. Yesterday, I spent several hours with Gordon, a spry 84-year old, manning a water stop at the WOW Ride, a bicycle ride along the Western Reserve Greenway Trail. Gordon and I were at the midway point, where the riders who had opted for the sixty-mile ride turned around and headed back south.

Gordon would have been riding, but his friend had other obligations, and when you're eighty-four and have had a hip replacement and have occasional balance issues, it's best to have someone along for the ride. It worked out well for me, however. We didn't have much work to do, but such work as there was for us, Gordon did it. He helped Nancy get things set up and taken down, and in between, he saw to it that the water coolers were kept full. Gordon also told nearly everyone who stopped for water that the bike trail was once Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way and that the current Norfolk Southern Railroad is creating some obstacles to getting the trail completed through Ashtabula to the lake. But as repetitive, ornery and opinionated as Gordon can be, he is on top of things.

And I'm not sure what the average age of the people is in my writing class, but I'm pretty sure it is over seventy. They are all vital people with a wide range of interests. It does me good to be around people like them.

What is bothering me is the old people in AARP publications, specifically Laura Bush. Now, she isn't exactly old; sixty-three would have been old twenty-five years ago, but as my birthdays pile up, the number needed to get old increases. But, AARP the Magazine is aimed at mature persons, and it did have a feature on Mrs. Bush. "What's reassuring is that time passes and things change and war doesn't last forever," the ever-hopeful Laura tells us. That might be true for those of us watching from half a world away, but for those killed, disabled or psychologically scarred on the battlefield and their families, the war will be a fact of life long after the hostilities end and the last soldier has come home.

The crux of the problem, I suppose, has less to do with Laura Bush than it does with amount of time available for me to think about it. With that in mind, I offer the following:

Mornings in retirement

The old routine took but minutes of my morning:

the papers were there, and I turned to the crossword

to get my puzzle fix. But then came Sudoku;

it had my number, and I found time for Jumble

and then it was on to Celebrity Cipher,

which led to a stubborn addiction to word search.

I’m pretty sure it’s not a good sign, doing word search.

Better I should read and write more in the morning,

instead, I decipher Celebrity Cipher.

But first I have coffee and finish the crossword

and then more coffee, causing my nerves to jumble,

distorting the logic I need for Sudoku.

I get so perplexed when I work on Sudoku

and get stymied and give up and then flee to word search,

which I always solve. It’s easier than Jumble,

not a challenge, even early in the morning,

unlike the Plain Dealer’s tough Saturday crossword,

and never witty like Celebrity Cipher.

It can be baffling, that Celebrity Cipher,

although it’s never as humbling as Sudoku,

and isn’t nearly as much fun as the crossword.

But it takes a dull sort to opt to do word search.

Yes, I’m a dull sort and not sharp in the morning,

which also explains why you’ll find me doing Jumble,

those weird anagrams of words all in a jumble,

and decoding words in Celebrity Cipher.

And so I use the precious moments of morning

finagling numbers to finish Sudoku,

before I throw it aside and go to word search.

I really should stop when I’m done with the crossword,

but on I go, without uttering a cross word,

and don’t even think as I go and do Jumble,

and let some power drag me on into word search.

Are my wits sharpened by Celebrity Cipher?

Does my thinking improve when I do Sudoku?

Do these exercise my brain or waste my morning?

I do the crossword and Celebrity Cipher,

fumble with Jumble and fight, too, with Sudoku,

and finish my morning in a mindless word search.

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