Senior Moments by
100
(121 Stories)

Prompted By Senior Moments

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Sure, I have senior moments. I just booked a plumber to fix a toilet…on my birthday. I often leave the house with one-third of the necessary accoutrements. I have a schematic on my closet door showing me how to put my pants on in the morning. All that and more. However…

I look back along the gently curving corridor of my life...

I have many more precious senior moments that are not about forgetfulness; they’re about life lived, people loved, journeys risked and taken, desires pursued, skills developed, experiences recalled, pleasures treasured, comprehension fermented into occasional clots of wisdom.

Science, mechanics, history, literature, and myriad civilizations worth of accumulated knowledge serve as my allies and companions. I’ve hugged people, dogs, cats, cows, chickens, goats, donkeys, horses, elephants, and kangaroos. I’ve laughed at bad comedy and cried at tragedy. I’ve raised kids and watched the mirthful ghost of a spirit dance through the ceiling as an elder died. I can look back along the gently curving corridor of my life and see reflections from infancy, childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood, and old age.

I can smell the sweet, warm breath of cows, the freshness of new mown hay, the stink of a dead woodchuck. I can hear the soothing sound of a ball game playing on a radio in the next room, the staccato syncopation of afro-Cuban drums.

I’ve built houses and cherry wood cabinets, cut timbers for mine shafts, repaired broke down trucks on freeway off-ramps. I’ve hauled plywood, tossed lumber to a second floor, tiptoed along roof rafters with no net, fought forest fires and watched my own creations burn.

I can feel the sharp metallic air of an autumn morning, the silence of snow at twenty-six below, the murderous shriek of one-hundred mile-an-hour winds, the soft rose and purple light of a Hollywood sunset.

I carry vivid sense impressions of standing under the blinding glare of stage lights and feeling a wave of laughter hit my chest. I’ve felt the clash and thunder of rock and roll of my own making surround me on stage, I’ve felt the strength of my hands, arms, and chest flow from the unseen signals in my brain to the dark, rich tones of an upright bass.

I’ve stood above the roaring river of a press room as it shoots a speed-blurred ribbon of newsprint into bundles of a morning edition that I helped write. I’ve smelt the ink-fresh odor of a newly published book. I’ve been annointed by professors in the arcane robes of academia. I’ve looked out at the open, appreciative faces of students and loved them for their curiosity and courage.

I can remember the grace and precision of my childhood handwriting, the finger-busting word production of courier on onionskin, the mind-blowing mastery of MS DOS codes.

And over the decades, I’ve learned to connect history and memory to my current senior moment. Burning Buddhists, Gulf of Tonkin, Ho Chi Minh, Robert McNamera, 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld, Che Guevara, Daniel Ortega, Dick Cheney and George Bush, Rolling Thunder, Shock and Awe, resistance, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, mystery and desire all connected, all within reach. I embrace them, bound in precious volumes and arranged in the arsenal of my senior moments.

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Profile photo of Charles Degelman Charles Degelman
Writer, editor, and educator based in Los Angeles. He's also played a lot of music. Degelman teaches writing at California State University, Los Angeles. 

Degelman lives in the hills of Hollywood with his companion on the road of life, four cats, assorted dogs, and a coterie of communard brothers and sisters.

Visit Author's Website



Characterizations: moving, well written

Comments

  1. Wonderful Charles, thanx for your beautifully-written look back at your richly-lived life from your present senior moment. Here’s to many more good years!

  2. Suzy says:

    This is lovely, Charlie. Thank you for reminding us of all the good senior moments one can have, and we probably all have, although maybe not as varied as yours. However, I have to say that I love the idea of a schematic on your closet door showing you how to put your pants on in the morning. 🙂

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    A life well and diversely lived, Charlie. Thanks for reminding us that missing a few beats is nothing compared to creating the whole symphony.

  4. Marian says:

    Terrific story, Charles, and what a fascinating and evocative image to go with it. This is a good reminder to cherish all our senior moments in their complexity of stress and duress, pleasure and joy.

    • Thanks, Marian, on both counts. I thought the image captured the labyrinth that human experience builds over the years it takes to become “a senior.” Or señor. And I’ve found myself enjoying and benefiting from my accumulated memories, skills, and experience. Just so long as I keep all the moving parts lubricated, it seems to work pretty well.

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    I love the unique direction you took on this prompt, Charles. As always, beautifully written. You make a profound point as well. We all have so many precious memories that are also senior moments.

    • Thanks, Laurie. I’m glad you enjoyed my ‘departure,’ from the usual notion of senior moments. As I wrote to a friend, ‘I often feel that I am a walking library at Alexandria with my life’s journey, skills, knowledge and experiences all stacked up in a random but easily accessed archive (hence, the illustration).

  6. Wow, Charles…just wow. The gamut of your precious sensory memories is breathtaking. I read this three times and went deeper each time. What a rich catalog!

    • Thanks, Barb! I do often feel that I live inside a big library of life that I can draw on. I think Retro has been rich in its mission, and I’m working on the third of a series of resistance novels set in the 1960s that aren’t heavily autobiographical but still draw on that library’s contents. I’m glad you enjoyed strolling through my ‘stacks.’

  7. Khati Hendry says:

    Thanks for sharing the labyrinth with us. It was beautiful, and evoked many memories for me too. It is good to reflect on these experiences, and to share them, especially with those who can remember the same time frame, and with any luck, with those who follow and who care enough to listen. No better time to take stock, savor, and reflect upon a full life, for if not now, when? Well done.

    • Thanks, Khati. I think the senior-moment elements that I appreciate the most involve the mixture of history and personal experience that result in my good fortune to have been politically aware since the McCarthy era, understanding the true nature the repetitive cycles in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Can you imagine deploying, fighting, killing, and even dying for ‘freedom’ in any of those places?

      My appreciation has few rewards beyond self-preservation and a dedication to resistance, rebellion, and social change, and the awareness carries with it great rage at the hubris and greed and ignorance that brought us to all those places — and more; let’s not forget Central America, Iran, Chile, Guatamala— and great sadness at the empty sacrifice that is still so often celebrated here in America.

      I also appreciate having been brought up in a family of scientists who gave me a clear eye toward how things work, from the cosmos to the ecosystems of our planet and the microcosmos that confuses so many. Let’s hear it for a moment of senior appreciation of what we have lived and loved and learned!

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