For some time now–considering that I am 74 and Jerry is 80–I have grappled with the thought that the designation of old age can be appropriately applied to me. :( I say grappled, seeing that the word denotes a bit of a struggle, for that understanding is not of gossamer threads floating in the breeze, nor of magic golden-light to which one naturally gravitates. Nope. Not compelling at all. Rankles a bit, the thought of sticking me in there with those little ole ladies who smell of moth balls and liniment and face powder, coupled with the shriveled-up sweet (or ornery) old men who hang about on walking sticks and who sit on benches in their little groups and rehash the same ole stories. You know the tales; those whose genesis lies far back in the day when the stooped little men were dashing young rascals and the darling maidens were swooning at their feet.

Nope, old age is not a desirable destination–well, except for the cliched line that goes like something this: Considering the alternative, old age is rather cool. Agree there.

Now, to the thrust of this post which is not precisely about old people, but rather about younger people and how neat it is when the young and the middle ones and the agey (no such word as agey, they say, but I’m using it anyway, for that is one advantage of being old–people kind of get out of your way and let you do what you will, anyway. :) ) all lump up together. Something to be said, I suppose, for youth groups, and singles groups, and old marrieds and young marrieds, and single moms and single dads, and widows and widowers, and over the hill gangs and moms with toddlers, and those who wear purple hats, or those who eat pork chops, or not. Such as that–get it? But I find it distinctly cool to hunker down with a rank that might include a baby or three crawling around on the floor, giggling teen-age girls and supposedly disinterested boys, a couple fresh from their honeymoon, a mid-life mother and father, frazzled beyond words, an adoring nine-year-old with a checker board, a smattering of pappys in their Lazy Boys and a granny or two bossing around the whole mess.

I know, I know, rather smart that way, for I understand that it is those who, as I, look from this far wrinkled edge of life who may find such a conglomeration more appealing than do those who look from the bud of the other edge, or from the middle. I get it, for didn’t I say myself that I’m not overly fond of being plunked down in the midst of bent little ladies, and our ole cronies of the male variety, but find myself sneaking out and trying to wrangle an invitation to the youth group’s Praise on the Mountain.

Which, at last, brings me to the actual crux of this post: My friends the Patrick Garrett family hang with us, and they pretend to like it! We eat meals together and worship, and make secret plans, and they invited Jerry and me to attend Patrick’s graduation ceremony up here at Twin Peaks and we watched them badge him as a Sheriff’s Department Chaplain. And they posed and let me play photographer on the banks of Lake Gregory and in that cool spot down Dart canyon.

I’m not going to ramble on about what their friendship means to me, for you, my readers, are smart. You understand. You know that’s what all these words are about today. You know they’re directed to you, also, to thank you . . . and to make you think.

Don’t tell Holly and Patrick, but when I know they’re coming, I hide my liniment bottle.