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  • Dear Pippo,
    I hope this letter finds you well and free of rips in your seams. I am fine.

    I suppose most people come to this conclusion at one stage or another of their life, but I certainly wasn’t ready for the onslaught of Grandpa-itis from which I now suffer. It’s not that I am discontented with my lot in life. I love being a husband, father of six, in-law parent to four, and granddad to five and a half grandkids. I don’t disparage the growing amount of salt and pepper hair on my head even though I accuse my hair stylist each month of cutting off only the dark hairs and leaving the gray ones. (Author’s note: I used the term “hair stylist” because it makes me sound much more urbane. If I said, “barber”, you would automatically picture me in the elevated leather swivel chair of Floyd Lawson, the wavy haired, mustachioed, story telling follicle combing character on “The Andy Griffith Show”…okay, so I go to the barber shop…)

    Anyway, I was sharing with you, my Dear Pippo, that life is happening at an accelerating rate that would make a NASA propulsion engineer envious. While looking at pictures posted by friends and relatives on Facebook, I no longer shake my head, sigh, and say, “Babies having babies!” Now I look at the photos, sip a Metamucil cocktail, burp while pressing the top of my fist against my breastbone, and sadly sigh, “Babies having grandbabies”.

    In this stage of increasing “elder discovery”, I remember when I became older than the oldest player in the NFL and I thought (even though I never played a single down in an organized or sanctioned game of football), “Another opportunity lost. I’ll never play in the NFL.”

    Age does that to you. All of us who are old enough remember the dread day that the AARP invitations began to arrive in the mail. I signed up, not for the political posturing nor the discounts, but because The Wife became eligible through me even though she is several years away from the minimum allowed AARP age and looks like she’s nowhere near eligible (Did I say that right, Honey?). See? Old age makes you mean. I couldn’t help myself.

    Clerks and waitresses have started offering me the option of “The Senior Discount”. I recently at a Denny’s with my boss (he actually likes to eat there—I call their fare “funeral food”-- it’s just my opinion). The waitress offered me the “old people discount” and I’ll admit at first she was discreet. However, upon my polite thanks and refusal, she gave me The Knowing Eyebrow as she sweetly said, “Oh, it’s for people who are over fifty!” I was most offended. I hate being called old when I walk into a place where I lowered the average age of the clientele just by showing up.

    I have also become more forgetful. Even in this age of phones and computers capable of reminding me of times and appointments, I still miss out on a lot of stuff. For example, I apparently have created a habit of leaving the iron on after pressing The Shirt of the Day. The Wife chastised me, claiming I’m going to kill her and The Boy in an appliance fire one day. I shuffled my feet, dug my toe in the carpet, looked downward and replied quietly, “I don’t deserve to even use the iron. Here, you can do it. We’ll be much safer that way.” Oh yeah, did I mention our couch is really soft?

    I have also begun to roam from room to room and office to office looking for things only to forget what they are when I get there. I stare at things with a blank look, trying to remember why I am looking at them. It takes me 10 minutes to decide if I’m going to wear the navy pants with the cuffs or the pair without the cuffs for Sunday church. I stand at the refrigerator side by side with The Boy—neither of us knowing what to eat but both of us with different reasons. A few days ago I got fully dressed for work and noticed that I hadn’t shaved. I went back to the bathroom and shaved, then headed for the car. When I sat down in the car I realized I didn’t have my phone. I returned to the inside of the house to retrieve it. When I arrived at work it dawned on me I had left my other key ring on the night stand. I drove back to the house thinking I would get it. I am ashamed to admit that the house key was on the key ring in the house on the nightstand.

    I think the final straw was when I uncovered my new, still-in-the-package 2012 desk calendar while cleaning my office on December 20th. It wasn’t so much that my office was that cluttered. I was shocked to realize that I hadn’t missed the calendar. I was reminded of my friends who neglected to mow their lawn all summer. When they did get around to it, they found their not-so-recently deceased dog among the tall grass. While that event answered a world of questions about dear old Bowser’s whereabouts, the family was understandably distraught that they hadn’t really missed the dog after the first few months. I guess time is just that way.

    And so, My Dear Pippo, I close this letter so that I might take The Wife and The Boy on an outing and to supper…that is, if I can remember where I parked the car.

    Signed,

    Luzen Sannity and his wife, Eymnotta Seanure
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