Just a little old: retaining a sense of wonder


As we get there, it’s easy to get jaded. After all, we have seen a lot; it takes more to create a “Wow!” Being open to a possible “Wow!” can help us stay young at heart. This is at least the case for this writer who will soon be 80 years old.

I’ve had several wows and learned some cool stuff over the past few weeks, partly thanks to a nice visit from my nephew Toucalit and his wife Nancy.

Maine State Music Theater’s extraordinary production of “The Color Purple” was a “Wow!” How often do you see an audience interrupt a musical with a standing ovation before the show is over?

An American Bald Eagle often perches atop a large spruce tree in front of our house. Why does this eagle choose this particular tree? And why are there so many more eagles this year?

The International Space Station flew by our house one night, cruising at 17,000 miles per hour. Google informed us that this flying wonder is about the length of a football field and can circle the earth in 19 minutes. Now that’s a wowser.

Speaking of Google, our visitor Nancy is a very talented artist. She showed us an amazing painting she had done of a black family dressed in colorful clothes posing for a photo. And another woman was taking a picture of the woman taking the picture. “Wow,” I said, “How did you come up with this idea?” “Google Earth,” she said. She went on to give me a Google Earth tutorial, during which I learned that you can zoom in almost anywhere in the world and see buildings and people up close, not necessarily live, but you have a idea of ​​a place. Nancy sometimes skims over Google Earth for painting ideas. Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

Speaking of tutorials, Toucalit taught me how to tap into Curtis Memorial Library’s digital offerings using my library card. I didn’t know I could get movies on my laptop this way.

One of our neighbors lost his precious white poodle; later that same day, a beautiful rainbow appeared over Casco Bay. A beautiful send off for a beloved pet. The poodle’s death evoked memories of the day our dear Black Lab Chowder crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Tina and I sometimes broke down for weeks afterwards. Dogs do this to you.

Here is some useful information transmitted by Toucalit and Nancy. Did you know that gossiping can be described as “giving tea?” Better yet, tsismis (pronounced “cheesemis”) is another term for gossip? Give me the tsismis on this guy.

Speaking of words, our family members love playing the Fictionary game. The person who is “it” chooses a word from the dictionary that no one knows the meaning of. Then that person writes the true definition on a piece of paper. The other players write a plausible definition on different pieces of paper. People close their eyes and vote for what they think is the right definition. You get points if people pick your definition wrong, and the person who does gets a point for each person who didn’t pick the correct definition. Try it some time. You will once again remember the incredible number of unknown words in the English language.

I noticed a young gay couple pushing an adorable little boy in a stroller. Later I asked the grandmother how they got the child. She told me that they had used a surrogate and were planning to use her again to add another child to the family. Now I ask you: how could anyone be against such a wonderful way of giving the gift of parenthood to two young gay men?

I ran into a neighbor who was weeding her garden and she told me the hardest part was figuring out what was a weed and what wasn’t. But then she got a weed app which solved the problem. Take a photo and the app will tell you what it is and if it’s a weed.

I don’t know what new things I will learn today, if any. I know I will try to be better at keeping my eyes peeled for new discoveries. There is still a lot to see there.

David Treadwell, a writer from Brunswick, welcomes comments and suggestions for future Just a Little Old columns. [email protected]

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