COLUMN: Rounding Third ...


Most of us can point to very good friends we’ve been able to acquire over a lifetime. If you’re lucky, you get to spend many years with them and enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded souls.

I have been lucky enough to have had a few and I may appear harsh and talk roughly with them (It’s the way we grew up, men didn’t display emotions), but I love them dearly.

The friend I talk about in this week’s poem was one I made in my later years and only knew him for 14 years before he had to leave for a better place. I hope you have had one this faithful and this true, because life would be very sad without the experience. If you have, treat him extra special this week because I declare it — appreciate your good friends’ week. Oh, I can’t do that? Well, I did anyway.

“Two Old Men”

Two old men sit together basking in the sun,

Hoping that this time together won’t too soon be done.

Two old men with hair turned gray and hips that burn and ache,

Bodies, once athletic, that now just droop and shake.

Time so quickly passed on by, our youth so long ago;

We do not speak; we only share a melancholy glow.

Enjoying time that does grow short as summer turns to fall,

Then winter’s chill will fill the air and cast a knowing pall.

I know he’s been a better friend; a fact I must abide,

For though at times I sharply spoke, he’s never left my side.

He comforts me when I am sad; my pain he’ll gladly share,

And when I reach my darkest times, I know that he’ll be there.

So, two old men just sit and ponder futures they can’t know.

Which one will sit in sadness when he’s the last to go?

I itch his chest and pet his head, his paw upon my thigh.

We do not speak — there is no need. We just let time go by. JDF

(For Hammer)

We have another great dog now, but this big old German Shepherd just struck a chord within me and, call it maudlin but, I still have his ashes on a shelf at work, with me, where I know he belongs.

Joke: Harold’s wife had bought a whole new line of cosmetics and asked him, “Honestly darling, how old do you think I am?” He put down his paper and looked her over carefully, then answered, “Judging from your skin, 20, your hair, 18 and your figure, 25. “She beamed and said, “Oh, you old flatterer.” He interrupted and said, “Wait a minute. I haven’t added them up yet.” He gets the cast off in 63 days.

Time warps: If you lived in the 50s, or have even read about them, you might be surprised at what we didn’t have then.

For instance:

Pasta had not been invented. It was called macaroni or spaghetti.

Curry was only a surname then.

Pizza? We thought that was a leaning tower somewhere (Tomato pie, maybe!).

All chips were plain.

Bananas and oranges only really appeared at Christmas time.

Rice was in a milk pudding and never, ever was a part of regular dinner (just dessert).

Brown bread was something only poor people ate.

A Big Mac was something we wore when it was raining.

A take-away was a math problem.

Oil was for lubricating; fat was for cooking in.

Healthy food consisted of anything edible.

Cooking outside was called camping.

Seaweed was not a recognizable food.

Kebab was not even a word, never mind a food.

The only things we never had on/at the table were elbows or hats.

Historical tidbits: What we now called the Civil War was not called that back then. In fact, there were 25 different names for it.

Before the Battle of Richmond in the Civil War (1862), one of the first gas-filled balloons hung over the battlefield. One of the very interested observers was the Prussian Count von Zeppelin. Guess what he was the father of?

Okay folks, time for me to rest these weary old bones. See ya next week. JDF


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