Fringe benefits from middle age plus

Friday, February 1, 2013

For nearly 20 years I have been writing a column called Middle Age Plus each week. I chose this name because I was a little beyond the halfway mark of my life (I thought) when I began these weekly visits. But the main thing was I wanted to point out all the pluses that this age brings to those of us fortunate enough to reach it. But when I looked at some of my recent columns I found I was belly aching about things in town, having fun with words or reminiscing about "the good old days." I decided it was time to use a column listing all the pluses I have received in recent weeks because I am middle age plus.

I am in good health, but sometimes I get lazy and don't enjoy the long walks I need to take from some parking lots to the building I need to enter. I notice this especially at the Nevada Regional Medical Center when I have to park in the lot north of the hospital, walk through the lot, cross the ambulance drive and go halfway past the building before actually entering it. When I am headed for an unpleasant test early in the morning on a cold day it starts me off in a bad mood. I overheard some friends talking about their enjoyment in having one of these little blue hang-down labels that allows them to park close to buildings in spots designated for those with handicaps. Well, I don't have a handicapping condition, but I do dread a walk on wet or icy pavement, and don't enjoy a long walk on a very windy day.

I also heard someone telling a friend that she was considering getting such a label because she thought she was old enough now. I didn't know that age would qualify you and she wasn't sure either. However, I called the license office and sure enough, if you are over 77 years old you can get the desired sign. I qualified. I assumed there would be a cost, but it was free. All I needed was a driver's license or some proof of my age. I think they could really tell by looking, but I gave them my license, they filled out a paper for me to sign and I received my blue banner. I looked at it to check the date I would need to get a new one and found it was good until 2015. I hope I am also.

What a nice feeling it was to know I didn't need to go searching for a good parking place. And it was all because I was middle age plus (77).

To celebrate I drove through a drive-in restaurant to get a Dr. Pepper and got my cool drink and a "Have a nice day" for only 64 cents. I have always wondered why they do reduce the cost because we are older, but since I paid my dues many times over the years buying treats for children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I just enjoy the reduction and don't worry about it.

During the church service on Sunday we were surprised and pleased to find that a children's choir was going to sing a song for us once a month during the service. Everyone enjoyed that as well as those of us who are middle aged plus. But the younger people didn't have the warm fuzzy feeling we older ones did when we saw children of parents we had known at that same age, taking their place as part of the life of the church family. And we could enjoy it without any anxiety about how an individual child would perform since we had left that type of pressure behind us years ago. Whatever they did, we could enjoy. But no parent needed to be tense this time. They were great.

But probably the best thing about being middle age plus is that we have a son who comes over daily to bring dry firewood for our stove (and probably to see if we are still breathing), a daughter who brings me books from the library to read, another daughter who keeps me company when I want to watch a romantic Hallmark TV show, a son who calls "just to talk" and does so quite often, and two wonderful daughters-in-law, seven grandchildren who bring us much joy, and 12 great-grandchildren who keep us up to date on what's going on in every age from infancy through high school.

Life is good.