My wife and I were out walking our puppies today, which is always an interesting experience because probably 50% of the people we pass want to stop and pet them and ask where we got them, etc. It’s generally an interesting experience, and a good opportunity for the dogs to get out and socialize with new people and other dogs.
Anyway, we were walking down the street and we happened upon a dapper-looking elderly gentleman standing on the steps of his Victorian home. He was sharply dressed in a yellow cardigan and appeared ready to enjoy an evening out. He remarked on the puppies and we struck up a conversation. Turns out, it was his 80th birthday today and he was off to a birthday celebration. I was a little surprised, as I would have pegged his age at something like 65 – 70. I wished him a happy birthday, to which he responded with a thank-you and a “perhaps you’ll get there someday, old boy.” Classic. He also urged me to ensure that I drank plenty of gin. We wished him farewell and continued down the street. Farther down the block, I turned around to watch him and he was just standing on the step, enjoying the cool breeze and the fading sunlight of the evening. He had about him the air of a man who has lived a full life and who is still enjoying every bit of it.
I generally don’t particularly enjoy being around the elderly, partly because I feel like I have little in common with them, but mostly because their lives just seem so depressing to me. But this gentleman seemed different. Even though I only met him for a brief moment, he made an impression on me. I hope that when I’m 80 years old, I’ll be as content and happy enjoying my life as he seemed to be.
Happy birthday, sir. Now I’m off to see about that gin.