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ROUNDING THIRD: Older men are the survivors

John David Fay
Sentinel columnist
Posted 9/25/22

Older men (really older) have a kind of ambience that didn’t exist in our younger days.

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ROUNDING THIRD: Older men are the survivors


Older men (really older) have a kind of ambience that didn’t exist in our younger days.

We were always so competitive in everything — sports, girls, work, etc. — that we often didn’t bond with people not within our close circle of friends. That changes sometime around when you realize you are not really a primary factor in the world any more.

You’re the dad who tells bad jokes, the grandpa who burps at the dinner table or the old guy whose phone they have to fix every so often to keep them current. Old men are often considered irrelevant because they haven’t kept up with current trends. We may be stuck in the past a little, but for the most part, it’s because the world seems so much less friendly than it was.

We are not useless or irrelevant and other older men know that. That’s why we have a kind of “society” amongst us that we didn’t have earlier. Besides—we’re the survivors. Many of our dear friends have gone on ahead of us and our closed circle has been jarred open.

When you see an older man somewhere you always nod and say something because you recognize that he’s a survivor too. I’ve met a lot of new, older friends lately and I appreciate what they have endured to get to this point. We have so much information to pass on and I’m one of the few lucky ones that is allowed to do that—here!

But I get suggestions from some of them about columns and I often use them. This is one of them. By the way, I am not excluding the ladies from this scenario, but in this article, I’m mainly talking about men.

I wrote this poem a while back because most old(er) men check the obituaries each day and note the other older men who have passed and their ages. Believe me, most of us check how many are older or younger than we are. It’s kind of a badge of survival: “well, I lived longer than this guy that I don’t even know.” After a while, the numbers are a little frightening but you do it anyway. Anyway, I hope this poem explains this phenomenon better than I did. It’s called:

Old Men Know!

Old men know when old men die, a tale most folks ignore,

But old men give a silent cry for lives they’ve lived before.

Old men fade and pass away, and still another dawn,

For all had known there’d be a day when that old man was gone.

But old men see and they take heed, then store it deep inside,

And there it ripens like a seed that robs them of their pride.

They may not know the missing soul, yet they know of his years,

And add him to the rising toll of those who once were peers.

There is no scale that can be scored for when hearts cease their flow.

That is the purview of the Lord, and only He does know.

But old men know each time they see the passing ‘round the bend,

Their journey ‘pon this mortal coil is nearer to its end.

Old men know when old men go, though unknown he may be.

It matters not if friend or foe, the numbers now are key.

As age to age we pass on through this world where all must go,

When old men die, as they must do, we other old men know. JDF


Strange coincidence—there were shipwrecks in 1664, 1785 and 1820 and each time only one man survived. But, that’s not the coincidence. In each case, the survivor’s name was Hugh Williams—a different Hugh each time, of course.

Strange musical history—remember the popular song of the 50s called, “Dance With Me, Henry,” by Georgia Gibbs in 1955—a No. 1 pop hit. It was originally written and recorded by Hank Ballard, but named, “Work With Me, Annie.” It was a No. 1 rhythm and blues hit that time. Later on, Etta James recorded it as an R & B song entitled “The Wallflower.” No. 1 again in that category. So, three times, it was No. 1 with a different name—in less than two years—and we never noticed. Guess we weren’t as astute as we thought!


Woman texts husband on a cold morning -- Windows frozen! The husband texts back—Pour some lukewarm water on it. Five minutes later she texts back—Computer really screwed up now. Well, I’m a little screwed up, too, so I think I’ll take a nap. See ya! JDF


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