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Out and About – Week of June 16th

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated a birthday that I had been dreading for about twenty years. I’ve never had a problem with birthdays, but this one really bothered me. To let the cat out of the bag, I finally reached my seventieth birthday. To some of you, I’m just a young kid, because you might be a few years older. It’s much the same feeling I get when I hear someone complain about being forty-five and really getting old. Age is just a number, and I don’t feel my age; I thank those of you who tell me that I don’t look that old.

I’m pretty sure that the reason that I dreaded this birthday is that my father never reached my current age, so I feel that I’m living on borrowed time. My mother lived well into her eighties, so there might be a good chance that I have many good years ahead of me. I hope I do, because there are still a few things I have left to do. I apologize to those older than I. I don’t mean to sound like an old man.

This last year has been a little rough on me physically. I’m dealing with a bad knee and the thought that I might never walk again without the use of a cane does bother me. It’s difficult for me to imagine walking at a faster gait without falling. I’m praying and hoping that my scheduled surgery will correct this.

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was waiting for my wife to finish shopping. I was sitting comfortably on a bench doing one of my favorite things: people watching. I must admit that I was feeling a bit depressed, which might have been the result of some new pain medication I’ve been taking. Anyway, as I was sitting there having my own little “pity party”, a younger gentleman passed by me in a wheelchair. He had a happy smile on his face, but he didn’t have any legs. I felt very ashamed of myself for feeling sorry for my condition. I have an 80% chance of a very good recovery. The man in the wheelchair will never have his legs back. I have absolutely no right to feel sorry for myself. Another life-lesson learned.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about meeting a new neighbor named Gloria. After I had sent this column to the paper, I thought of something that I should have added to that column. We are very fortunate to live in one of the many good neighborhoods in Three Rivers. We can, if we wish, take an evening stroll around the block and feel very safe in doing so. We know most of our neighbors and get along with them. We always wave or honk at them as we pass by, and they wave back with a smile. I don’t know how many of them read this column, but if they do, I’d like to thank them for being good neighbors and say that we appreciate their friendliness. Our neighborhood is a good one in which to get Out and About.

I’d like to apologize for something else, while I’m on the topic of apologizing. As often as I can, I really enjoy getting Out and About in my John Deere Gator. I’ve previously stated that the vehicle is completely “Street-Legal”. It is fun to drive, and I love to tick off the oil barons, because it is very fuel-economical. Anyway, as I’m driving around Three Rivers, I might not always see or hear someone wave or yell “Hi” to me. Believe me when I say that I’m not ignoring you, but I sometimes can’t hear you, or I’m concentrating so much on my driving that I don’t see you in time to acknowledge your greeting. The Gator doesn’t have power steering and the suspension is a bit tight, so driving it does require some much needed attention. If I see you first, I’ll usually honk or wave. If you don’t wave back, I’ll figure you’re just ignoring me.

Jeff Foxworthy is one of my favorite comedians. I’d like to share a couple of his comments that deal with living in Michigan:

If you have worn shorts and a coat at the same time, you might live in Michigan.

If you go out to a fish fry every Friday, you might live in Michigan.

If your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new pole barn, you might live in Michigan.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman