A Quick Opinion: Feeling older every day

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A Winters Express Op-ed column

By Charley Wallace

Why is it that when one of your grandchildren has a birthday, it makes you feel old? It is almost as bad as when you daughter turned 40, soon to be 43. My son will be 40 in a couple of weeks, but my grandson, Lukas, is only turning five. Trying to keep up with him will keep you young.

The people that I play golf with are all about my age, or just a little younger. We try not to dwell on our medical problems, and talk about life, family and how fortunate we all are. Most conversations end with, “where have all the years gone?” The joke is that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. Not really that funny, anymore.

It might be just my imagination, but the Express is looking better lately. More local stories and more advertising, which is good news, trust me. I do enjoy reading the Years Ago columns and find myself knowing more and more people from the 65 and 80 years sections.

Joe the Cemetery Guy asked Sherri and me if we would open and close the cemetery for him while he took some time off. We went through his training course, set our phones to remind us to open and close the gates at 7 a.m. and sunset. We live close enough to walk to the cemetery and I made a point of giving my parents a nod as I walked by.

Our last day on the job was Mother’s Day and we walked through the older section of the cemetery as we waited for a few couples to finishing saying their goodbyes before locking the front gate.

I joked that I know more people in the cemetery than those living in Winters. Walking through the cemetery brings back memories of people from my youth and friends that died too soon. There were 2,000 people living in Winters when I graduated from high school in 1969. At least half of those have died, so I’m guessing that I know about 1,000 people still walking around town.

When I put labels on the Express I would stop if there was someone that I didn’t know. There weren’t that many strangers on my list 20 years ago, but the last time I addressed the papers, that list was growing. I considered this a good sign. I joke that everyone who dies reads the Express, but not all new people subscribe to the paper. 

Taylor has his work cut out for him, keeping the paper fresh and getting people to subscribe. It helps to have the schools open, sports teams hitting the fields and support from local merchants.

Before life gets too hectic, take a walk through the cemetery, count your blessings and have a good week.

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