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At a lecture by the head of Duke Health Care, the fair doctor referred to a person of my age as a geriatric. Never thought of that as a classification for me at 80. Still when I consider things, I know I let my mind wander just like my grandmother did. I think of things that have no place in the real world. My mind takes on challenges that most people don’t waste their time to consider.

When a cloud rains does the cloud disappear? I have asked many people and they all say “no.” But if raining is from clouds, why doesn’t the cloud go poof? In the Cascades, in Washington State, the moisture is picked up over the ocean and then deposited on the west side of the mountains. On the other side there is a semi-arid climate. If the clouds gave all their rain on the western part of the Cascades, then why are there clouds on the eastern side? I know it has to do with the movement of clouds, the dew points and the temperature changes, but I think clouds should instantly disappear if they pee their water.

Another rocking chair wonder: If you eat beans and they cause gas in your body, do you weigh less? I suppose you could gain weight if the scented gas weighed more than the surrounding air. But when my life’s partner farts, the air is filled with the fragrance of her inner self. It rises to my nose above the covers. QED — lighter than air. I scientifically looked at this problem. I weighed myself and then ate enough beans to raise a few blankets. I hourly weighed myself, and I saw no significant change. Hmm? 

In a restaurant I can’t help but watch people. I always wonder about the relationship of the people at a nearby table. One time “the he” came to the table first, sat down and took out his phone. “The she” sat opposite “the he,” took out her phone did some poking and began to laugh. He looked at her with a smirk while she smiled lovingly back at him. Were they phoning to each other or were they multi-tasking? He looked at me. My stare was obvious. I reddened slightly and looked away. Later as she left he whispered to me, “We text each other — more private.” Phone sex crossed my mind — or?

I like the book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. Recently, we bought a canary with only one foot. Seems the person who banded him, banded too tightly and the foot fell off. The canary uses his wings to get around and is apparently happy with life. We have owned many canaries and this one sings better than any of them. All day it twills, chortles, and reaches crescendos. Is he saying “Where the hell’s my foot?” or is he possibly just content?

When I think of the Serengeti, in Africa, I think of pencils. The animals of the plateau in Africa migrate with the seasons following the water and the food. My pencils migrate from where I use them to different rooms. Often they will congregate by the sofa in the TV room. They don’t seem to watch TV, but I have found the erasers all face the “tube.” Sometimes my pencils seem pre-ordained to seek the kitchen. Are they hungry? Do they like the smells? 

I just notice dead leaves spiraling on the patio. I’m reminded of a man’s hair at the base of a part. So, another day passes in a haze of odd cognitive connections. I’m as content as any geriatric can be. In fact I’m considering calling myself Jerry.

Les Ewen

Les Ewen wallows in the advantages of age and laughs at the disadvantages.

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