Time Changes Everything

3 Apr


Remember the old country and western song “Time Changes Everything” composed by Anna Wilson? It was sung by most C & W singers: Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and others. If you’ve been around more winters than you’d care to mention, you’ll attest to the truth of that title.

You might also say that time messes up things too, but that messing up and change are synonymous. The main difference between the two might be the probability that we could have avoided some of the messing up. Unfortunately, however, as the words of another song put it, “It’s Too Late to do Anything About it Now” (sung by Willie Nelson).

Regardless of which word we use to describe the fix we senior citizens find ourselves in, it means the same thing: aging is inevitable as falling leaves in winter and its companion is change.  If you find a way to avoid the inevitable, please let me know and we’ll both soon be billionaires. But rich or poor, we’ll still end up in the same leaky boat.

The grim truth of the song title, “Time Changes Everything”, came to mind the other day when I went outside to dig a hole for a new azalea plant that would replace the one that died. The thought didn’t occur to me ‘til later that time apparently has the same effect on plants, trees and car paint.

So if you’re a man of many winters and find you have to dig a hole in your yard, which tool do you take first to the job site? A shovel? A grubbing hoe? A posthole digger?

None of the above. You take a lawn chair. And before you go back to your shop for the digging tools, you sit down and observe your surroundings, listen to the birds a few minutes and plan your strategy for performing the task at hand. After all, digging any hole for any purpose is a major undertaking, never to be taken lightly. Gone are the days when digging holes for fence posts encircling ten acres of new ground on the family farm of our youth. Realizing that as you consider the sore places you’ll have after planting your new azalea caused me think of yet another song. “Gone are the days, when my heart was young and gay. Gone are the days in cotton fields away.” But Stephen Foster was a relatively young man when he left this life. What could he know about such things?

Digging is not the only physical chore that tells all that time respects no man, regardless of race, ethnic group or the size of his bank account. He is made aware of this in a rather disgracing manner while doing things other than digging holes. Stooping down to pick up a penny he dropped comes to mind. Have you noticed lately how much farther it is to the floor from a standing position than it used to be? And how about getting down on your knees to clean up the coffee you spilled? Wow!

Getting back on your feet from your knees brings to mind the purpose of fork lifts and dynamite charges. The getting down was easy; it’s the getting up that is so humbling.  You hope no one is watching when you crawl to the nearest standing object that provides the means of restoring your dignity. It’s a blessing you’re alone when we have to do that. That’s why it’s less embarrassing when we struggle to rise from a sitting position in the bath tub: we’re alone. Makes you wonder when they’ll start putting bottom lifters in those water pits.

At such times one might wish he didn’t have to suffer such indignities, but if he does he immediately remembers the only option left for him if he didn’t.  He gains some comfort from knowing he can still endure the annual IRS Plague, the filing of his federal income tax return this time of year. Only the toughest old birds can continue tolerate that aggravation.



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