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Township Roads: Some things I never thought

Fri, Dec 27th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

The end of every year stimulates my memory. My family often tells me that they cant remember the circumstances of many of the stories I tell, but I guarantee I dont make them up. Not all of them anyway. Having a memory for events may be a mixed blessing. Im pretty sure my memory is no better than anybody elses. Its just that I have the nerve to write about some of them.

I picture myself from time to time like Uncle Billy in "Its a Wonderful Life". Uncle Billy cant remember anything and ties strings around his fingers for reminders. He forgets what the strings are for and eventually his absentmindedness causes a crisis for his innocent nephew. I dont have near the fun with alcohol that Uncle Billy did so I cant blame my memory lapses on that. I am always careful to go to the bank before I go to the post office. Id rather try to deposit birthday cards and the power bill than to put my bank deposit in the mailbox.

I can remember some things I used to think about and I can remember never having thought about some other things. I never thought that six years ago, when I started writing this column, that I would have written some of the things I have. I never thought that people would read what I had to write every other week for six years although I am sure that there are people who prefer my columns in the weeks it doesnt appear. I never thought that an editor would print everything I sent him although this column may be the true test. I never thought I would miss only one deadline in six years. I never thought that Id be sitting here typing with a cat in my lap, watching public television, listening to my wife talk about our next outing with her family, and all the while having my son fire a dart gun at the television from behind my ear. Consider the source. Always be careful what you read. I am always careful what I write because I live in fear that someday someone might actually read it.

I always thought that I would be really old when the twenty-first century came around but I lived to see it and I think Im still fairly young. I never thought that Id live through the atomic weapons crisis of the sixties. I never thought wed all have to consider facing an even worse fate. I remember getting my smallpox vaccination, but I never thought that Id be faced with the possibility of having to decide whether or not to get another one.

I never thought Id go out and cut firewood for fun. I never thought Id make a living punching numbers into a computer. I never thought I would go for over twenty years without milking a cow. I never thought that once I quit farming Id still miss it after twenty years, but I still miss parts of it.

I never thought Id live with a dog in the house. I never thought Id live with a cat in the house. I was pretty sure I would never get married. I was pretty sure I would never have kids and if I did, theyd be girls. Two dogs, half a dozen cats, a beautiful wife and three strong sons later, I guess Id have to say I thought wrong.

I never thought Id get to the point where Id look at a lifting job and say, "To heck with it. Ill get the boys to do it." That day has come and it doesnt even bother me to ask them to do the heavy jobs. I think I am as capable as I ever was, but I never think about my sore back until the next day.

I never thought wed have an artificial Christmas tree, but we do. I never thought Id like an artificial Christmas tree, but I do.

I never thought Id live this long because when I was really young it was hard to believe that anybody could be this old and still enjoy life. Now that Ive made it this far, I suppose that I will have to do as Mark Twain recommended and start taking care of myself.

I never thought Id go to the doctor more than fifteen times in one year and still be considered pretty darn healthy for a guy my age who has one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I never used to think of anybody as having one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I never used to think of myself as a "guy my age".

I thought that when I got to be as old as I am, I would know what is going on in the world. I dont, but now I think that I wont ever know and I have decided that is all right.

I never thought that I would write about Chuck. I remembered Chuck the other day when I was out cutting firewood with my chainsaw. Chuck and I lived in the same dorm when I was in college. Chuck was a forestry student and a lumberjack. He was unbeatable on the racket ball court and an expert with a chainsaw. He taught me things about racket ball and chainsaws that I still remember. The other thing about Chuck that I remember thinking, and I never thought I would mention to anyone else, is that Chuck had just about the most beautiful eyes that I have ever seen in a human being. I am not too sophisticated in the attractive eye department, but Chuck had strikingly long eyelashes and brilliantly colored irises that any woman would envy. I wont say that I got lost in that lumberjacks eyes because we didnt know each other that well, but they did make an impression that I remember after three decades. Thats an impression that could come to haunt a less confident guy.

Youre probably thinking that this is more than enough about things I think and things I never thought. I think youre right.

Happy New Year and Happy Thinking!

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