Reading and trudging away, into another blessed New Year!

I’m quite glad I spent many years of my youth as a dancing fool.

Margot Oxendine

January 2018

It’s a new year, and you know what that means: We’ll all be another year older, sooner or later … if we’re lucky.

There are many things I was told when I was younger that I barely listened to, and now really wish I had. There are even more things that “oldsters” knew and kept to themselves. Either they didn’t want to discourage us young folks, or they decided to keep their secrets and let us learn for ourselves that aging brings some unhappy surprises.

I’m quite glad I spent many years of my youth as a dancing fool. It’s certain that I am not commanding a dance floor nowadays. Sure, every once in a while, a song comes on TV that has me hauling my considerable self out of my easy chair, and doing what passes at my age for a dance. One night recently, there was a tribute to the Bee Gees on TV. Oh. My. Stars. I couldn’t stop dancing, right there in my living room. Some sort of magic overcame me, and I felt 25 again. Oh, it was exciting!

Had Brownie still been with me, she would have shot me a quizzical look, and slunk underneath the dining room table. Dogs and cats are not too fond of dancing. Once, back when I was dog-sitting two big, chocolate darlings, I leapt up to dance to a reggae tune. (I was still leaping then; now all I leap to are conclusions.) The larger dog got very excited; he got a wide, dopey grin on his face, and leapt up himself, planting his massive paws on my shoulders and knocking me down!

I actually got out of the chair last week and danced to Bruno Mars. I had no idea who Bruno Mars was, but his music compelled me to move. At least, I know I can still make dancing happen … as long as I’m alone in my living room.

I like to think that I was once one of the world’s fastest walkers. Never a runner, mind you, but I’m rather low to the ground, and was capable of zipping about with the swiftest of them. Now, I’m grateful to simply plod along on a wooded lane. I am surely breaking no records, at my aged pace. But: I am out there! I can even work up a faint sweat, if I don’t mind collapsing once I get back in the car.

Another pastime I used to take great pleasure in was driving to the “big city” — usually Roanoke — and shopping. I could spend all day in Macy’s, Lowe’s, Michaels, TJ Maxx, you name it. I could have a great lunch somewhere. Often I could even fit in a first-run movie before driving home.

The last time I tried this — sans the movie — I actually fell asleep at the wheel. In broad daylight. Only the grace of God kept me from careening off the mountainside. I’ve been afraid to drive to Roanoke ever since. I’ve convinced myself there is not another single thing I need.

I have now become the one who whines, “Oh, I don’t like to drive at night.” This statement used to perplex me when older ladies uttered it. Now, I know exactly what they’re talking about. Shoot — I don’t even consider going to Virginia Beach any longer, because I can’t make that five-hour drive in one day. Who knew this would happen?

Now, it seems the only time I get out of town is when I have a doctor’s appointment. Even then, I imagine I will stop at a fabulous big grocery store, have a leisurely lunch somewhere, and so forth. Yet, once I walk out of the medical building, I discard those fantasies and hit the road back home. Where did all that youthful energy go? Gone with the wind, baby.

In my youth, I spent a lot of time reading. And I am very thrilled that I still do that, more so than ever. I can often breeze through a book in a day, if no one bugs me.

So, here’s what I’m left with: Reading a lot (thank heavens for libraries, because I’ve also learned the true meaning of “fixed income”) and trudging along a wooded road. I’m quite content with my abbreviated list of hobbies.

As they say, it’s hell to get older. But, it sure beats the alternative!


To read more of Margo’s columns, order “A Party of One.” Call 540-468-2147 from 9-5, Monday-Thursday, or email: recorder@htcnet.org.