By Joe Rector

Holy Cow! In about a week, my twin brother will turn 64. I can’t believe he’s that old. Jim hasn’t changed much over the years, and I hope he stays constant for many years to come. It is, however, a bit upsetting to realize that my brother is that old. How’d it happen? I am concerned about several things that swirl around his arrival at the age of one year short of Medicare. Actually, all the fretting is about me.

First and foremost, I’m worried about running out of time. In my teens and even into his 40’s and 50’s, I was focused on the things I enjoyed. I truly loved my teaching career, especially when it concerned the students and not a bunch of ridiculous tests that measured systems’ abilities to administer them. Now I am more than halfway down the hill, and so much needs to be done in such a short time.

I retired, but that didn’t mean I quit working. Part time jobs have kept me busy while providing a supplement to my monthly retirement income. What is so rotten about part time jobs, or full time ones for that matter, is they tie retirees to schedules that they hate. I’ve always liked staying up late at night, but when I must rise at 5:30 a.m. to be at work at 6:30, early bed times are required, and “The Tonight Show” or late ball games are things from the past.

Like many people my age, I have a bucket list. Unfortunately, it’s much too long to cover. Many want to travel abroad to see the wonders of other countries. I much prefer making my way to the breathless sites of this country. Years earlier, taking such trips wasn’t possible because we had small children. These days, they still are on the back burner until I can quit work. I hope my body isn’t worn out by that time so that I can’t enjoy the sites.

That’s another thing. I’ve noticed more and more that I can’t do what I used to do. Even with a moderate amount of work or activity, every part of my body is attacked with aches and pains. My hair line more closely resembles my maternal grandfather’s. My crooked, sore fingers remind me of my maternal grandmother’s. Joints don’t squeak, but they do keep me awake some nights, and walking all day at my job doesn’t help a bit.

My biggest concern is about the time I have to spend with my children and grandson. After what seems like a blink of my eyes, Madden has become a rambunctious boy; he’s lost those toddler characteristics that I loved so much. He’s already become a polite, patient young man who tolerates his grandparents. Before much longer, he’ll not want to spend much time with us at all. The older we grow, the harder it will be to provide fun things for him to do when he comes to visit.

I love Dallas and Lacey, but sometimes they remind me of adult children who are keeping protective eyes or their parents. I’m not yet to the point where I am unable to do things for myself, but I can see my children’s minds wrapping around that eventuality. To be honest, I want to be their hero, not their burden.

So, another year is passing. I’m thankful to be here and to have been showered with so many blessings. My prayer is that I can stay vibrant and healthy for at least another 30 years. We’ll see how that plays out.


I received a card in the mail the other day. It was from the woman about whom I’d written a few weeks ago, the one to whom I sent a love letter on toilet paper. Inside the card was a kind note with sweet words. Best of all, it was written on toilet paper. Thank you, Andy, for responding on such elegant stationery. It made my day!