By Joe Rector

So, I recently celebrated my true entrance into senior citizen life. To me, 65 is the correct age for entering the group, even though AARP mails out membership cards to folks when they reach 50. At any rate, I am a bonafide “senior.” Does this mean I am allowed to fuss and cuss just a little? I hope so because here goes.

I’m now what many in this world call an old man. My hair has been gray for years, but of late, its seems to be racing to the crown of my head much faster than in previous years. I’ve never been a muscle- bound man, but at least things were firm, or at least they used to be. My skinny legs are now matched by my skinny arms. My belly seems to round out more each day despite the walking and exercise I get. Even my chest is trying to slide to my navel. A gym membership offered through my insurance might stop the atrophy and even provide a bit more tone and endurance. I’m trying to find a suitable time for exercise at the Y, but other things interrupt my visiting schedule.

For some reason, missing my mother surfaced this birthday. That’s a bit silly for a 65-year-old man, especially since mother has been gone for more than 20 years. Still, I’ve thought about her and wondered what she’d think about all that’s transpired. She always wanted the back section of woods cleaned out. These days, the area has a carpet of grass and only a few trees to provide shade. I’ve come up with questions that only she could answer. To be honest, I miss the Melt in Your Mouth cake that she whipped up for birthdays.  Either plain or iced, the cake was a favorite of our family. A friend asked me the other day for the recipe, but I had to tell her I didn’t have it and now can’t figure out where it might be..

The weather didn’t cooperate this year. Instead of warm temperatures, a mixture of clouds and sun and rain kept us from hanging out at the pool. Oh, my grandson Madden dove into the water, and I got in as well. Upon exiting the pool, I put on a pair of sweat pants, the first time I’ve ever celebrated a birthday in long pants. The blood runs thinner these days.

The biggest birthday disappointment this year came at the hands of Mother Nature, or perhaps it was the result of global warming. The honeysuckle scent never arrived. A few meager blooms on the vines appeared, but that “birthday smell” just didn’t come. I thought that I might have been in the wrong month to celebrate another year, but a check of calendar told me I had the right date. To this day, the sweet honeysuckle smell brings back so many wonderful memories, but it hasn’t been around, and I feel a bit cheated.

This year, the usual birthday excitement didn’t make an appearance. Instead, a satisfying sense of contentment moved in. My children and my grandson again returned home for the weekend to celebrate. Just being with them and Amy is enough to make me happy. So, I suppose the other things that didn’t turn out right don’t really matter after all.

None of us knows how many birthday celebrations we’ll have.  We should enjoy each of them with a thankful heart. This year just didn’t have the same pizazz as previous ones. Still, I am thankful for the good life I’ve been given and for the many wonderful people who have been a part of my time here. I look forward to the next trip around the sun and pray that I will have the good health and good sense to appreciate it. I’ll do a better job omitting the whining and fussing that have crept into my mind on my 66th year.