When I get older losing my hair, many years from now ... 

It was many years ago when I first heard those lyrics, from the classic Beatles tune “When I’m Sixty-Four” by Paul McCartney. The melody was catching and the message intrigued me, but as a teen the age of 64 seemed unfathomable. It was simply too far away to even try to comprehend.

Fast forward – and I mean at warp speed – to today and 64 is staring at me right between the eyes. Before election day this November I will be 64.

And I am fully appreciating that life is far too short. Blink and you miss it. Heck even if you don’t blink it seems like you miss most of it.

I can still feel the excitement of young love, dating Diane and falling for her head over heels. In my mind’s eye I can still see our first home as a married couple, a too-small duplex that added a bit of urgency to our search for a house.

It is mind-boggling to think it has been nearly four decades since we bought our first house. It seemed like forever before we found the right one, and I can still clearly sense the excitement of knowing I was home as soon as we walked in the door of our Bavarian Lane tri-level.

One of the first things we did after moving in was get a dog, a beautiful cocker spaniel puppy named Copper. My nickname for her was Little Pup, because one of the first days we had her home we thought she was lost until we discovered her curled up inside one of Diane’s slippers. I still miss her, even though she has been gone many more years than she was alive.

It seems only moments ago that we helped the boys with their Halloween costumes, and it was like no time at all until they grew too old for such childish games as trick-or-treating. Now we have watched the same transition with our grandson.

A great blessing in my life is my parents. I swear it was only yesterday that I was wrestling with Dad on the living room floor, or playing a competitive game of electric football. And I never will forget our evening meals together as a family. Even when she was working Mom always prepared a scrumptious home-cooked meal.

Those family meals were about far more than food, however. Unless we had a good excuse such as a school event we were required to sit down and eat with the family. Mom and Dad would ask how school had gone, and we all contributed to the conversation.

Even now I can close my eyes and picture everyone in their regular seats around the table, and I really can’t comprehend that my earliest memories of that incredible tradition are now more than a half century old.

Diane, the boys and I had very much the same tradition, and I miss those evening meals more than they probably will ever know.

Mom and Dad are still with us, and I am so thankful for that, but it is difficult watching old age catch up with them. Recently COVID-19 tried its terrible best to take them, but they were too stubborn to oblige and now are on the mend. I thank God they were vaccinated, as I believe that made all the difference for them. Watching them suffer and realizing I could have lost them has been one of the most difficult things I have faced in my life.

The frailty of life was driven home again just the other day when a friend of our sons, also the son of al longtime friend of Diane, died suddenly of a heart attack. That is so tragic, so sad, and a warning to us all to make the best of the short time we have on this earth.

As that milestone 64th birthday approaches in a couple of weeks I know how blessed I am to be able to share it with Diane, my mate for four decades. Right now I have the urge to wrap up this column and head into the living room, and sing a snippet of a song to Diane.

 Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64? 

Don Allison is an author, historian and retired editor of The Bryan Times. He can be reached at www.fadedbanner.com.

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