Aging Ain’t For Sissies


When Kate left to go back up north, she gave me her bicycle.  And I stared at it in my garage for several weeks, finally bought a helmet to protect whatever brain cells I might have left (thanks, Richard) and last Sunday afternoon I left Jerry watching golf and went off on my first bike ride in over forty years.

It was a fairly short ride, not by choice.  I came to the first stop sign and stopped and put my feet down.  I was still on the bike seat and my feet  didn’t reach the ground and oops, I fell right over.  Honestly, I felt so incredibly stupid.  What’s that they say about “it’s just like riding a bike”?  I looked around.  Whew…no one saw how dumb I looked.  Then I got to my feet (ow!) and got back on the bike and rode home, scraped up a bit and hurting but functioning!  And I did manage to stop in front of the garage door and not kill myself.

My left side still hurts, especially when I roll over in bed or get up from lying down but other than that, I’m doing just fine and I will get back on that bike again when I get back home.   And Jerry lowered the seat for me…that should help.  Pathetic, huh?

The experience brought home to me that I’m not as young as I used to be.  There are things I just can’t do….and things I can do but I’d better be careful.  When did I get old?  I don’t remember.  Most of the time I don’t FEEL old…this week I do but this week I’m in pain.  As soon as that heals maybe I’ll go back to feeling young again.  Right?

I’m in Massachusetts at the moment.  It’s been cold and raw and with rain and hail and snow (yesterday and the day before) and crisp and sunny (today)   It was like this last time I came.  Jerry says I bring the cold weather with me.  Hmmm

This is a family trip.  I did see friends from Center School the night I flew in (so many of my fellow teachers have retired…and look so good.  I loved getting caught up on their lives) but since then I’ve been in Pittsfield, visiting mom and spending time with Dad and Annette.  Family party this evening…Dad and Annette have been married forty years.  Hard to believe!  They’ve had some great times during those forty years, traveling all over the world, cross country skiing, biking (they knew perfectly well how to ride a bike when they were in their sixties), hosting parties for friends and family.  They’re living a pretty quiet life now but managing okay and still willing to take care of wandering daughters who show up every few months.  But, as I said in my title, old age ain’t for sissies.  There are many benefits to living long , happy lives but there are days when it can be not so easy.

Mom is in a nursing home and is contented and peaceful.  She seems to like to sit and look through old pictures and talk about the days when her kids were small.  She doesn’t remember those days but likes to hear my stories.   The caregivers are very kind and are taking good care of her.

It’s the end of snowbird season.  So many good friends will be heading north at the end of the month or in early May.  The goodbyes have already started.  Not fun but we are so lucky to have them for as long as we do.  And if the weather up north stays as cold as it has been, perhaps they’ll stay longer!

I’m not going to see Kate while I’m here. It just isnt’ going to work out. She left Milwaukee on Easter Sunday and is moving into a condo on the water in Hull, Massachusetts with her sister, Karen.  Keep them both in your prayers.  It’s not going to be an easy road ahead for either one of them.

Okay..books.   I read The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring author) and Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen.  Liked them both a lot.  I usually like Chevalier’s books.  Anna Quindlen…some I love, some I like, some I could do without.  This was a good one.

And movies…Saw The Lady in the Van (Maggie Smith) and Hello, My Name is Doris (Sally Field).  Lady in the Van had its humorous moments but it was not a comedy   As a good friend observed, “Homelessness isn’t funny.”  I thought it was fabulous.  Doris was hilarious (and sad).  I’m not sure if anyone but Sally Field could have pulled it off.  The plot was mighty silly in parts but my friend, Martha, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I’ll be heading back to Florida on Tuesday evening.  I have several projects to work on as soon as I get back.  I’m doing a book for Kate (like the one I did for Mary Anne) and a slide show with music for Calli for her First Communion.  And I’ve been working on a book about my six years of teaching in Florida.  Jerry and I are also trying to put together a trip to England and Ireland.  It’s pretty well done except a few extra days that we have in England and we’re not sure where to go or what to do.  Need to get it all finalized soon but if anyone has suggestions, let me know.   We’ll be in London for four days and that’s all planned.  It’s the following three days that we’re not sure about.

Counting my blessings …love to all






6 thoughts on “Aging Ain’t For Sissies

  1. Mary, Being you ain’t for sissies! I get pooped just reading your posts. xxx Jan


  2. When I was in England I loved Salisbury. It doesn’t seem to have been a very long distance from London, from what I remember. The town is so cute, and the cathedral was amazing! I also loved Bath. Let us know what you plan!

  3. Dearest Mary…no we aren’t getting any younger! I hope you’re feeling less painful each day…lowering the seat will help so your feet can touch! You must have your long johns on up there! Even a cold morning at yoga down here doesn’t beat snow!😩 Sure your parents are so happy to see you and you them! We’ll miss you Monday night for Turtle Patrol meeting but I will remember to get your shirt. See you Wednesday in Punta Gorda. Safe travels my friend! Love ya, Pam

  4. Cindy Thomson

    So we both too a header this week. Me… just walking to my car with a cart from the store. Hit a rut and down I went. There are nice gentlemen in this world still. I had three of them come over to help me up along with my cart and its contents. Sorry you are sore. I felt like a fool and look around to see if anyone was laughing. Nope. But I still felt foolish. You need a bike like I have. Its a recumbent street bike called a Mobo Triton Ultimate Three-Wheeled Cruiser with racing stripes. This Grammy rides in style. I will send you a picture.

  5. Wendie Highsmith

    Mary-Sorry about that lingering winter weather in MA. We’ve had spring here until it isn’t. Raining today-things are really greening up.

    I had to chuckle about your bicycle adventures. I think it is hard to do it if it has been a long time. If you get to feeling comfortable again, riding around Venice is lots of fun and safe on the Venice trail that winds all over the place…one of my favorite things about living there.

    Really glad you are able to get to MA to see your family. I know it means everything to them. It ain’t for sissies!!

    You may have been slowed down a bit a year or so back, BUT NOT ANYMORE! More power to you, and may it continue!

    Love, Wendie

  6. Oh, no!! I hope you are feeling better. I traded my last bike for a Townie that reminds me of my childhood girls’ bike with upright handlebars, full seat and no bar to prevent touching the ground with my feet in an emergency. It is perfect for a safe, slow & steady ride. Getting old does not mean giving up, perhaps it means adjusting to the change so we can continue to do what we love.

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