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It’s my birthday

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By Ken Begley

 

It’s my birthday!!!


This month I will turn 55 on Oct. 26.
It’s a milestone for me.
You know why?
Because I will have, by the U.S. Census Bureau’s official definition, passed from being “middle aged” to senior citizen.
That sort of shocked me, but middle aged is defined as the years from 35 to 54.  After that, I’m on the downhill slide.
Normally, I’m always happy to finish a task and mark it off my list, but this hasn’t been one of them.  Still, getting older has had its benefits.
I get all those discounts at AARP now.  I can wear work shoes with black socks and shorts and no one even looks at me odd.  In fact, I don’t have to be any sort of slave to fashion because no one is really looking at me at all.
Unfortunately, that benefit didn’t just come with age.
I was sort of born ugly and have been losing ground ever since.  Still, my added age just makes it all the sweeter, as I don’t have to be burdened down with any sort of beauty that has to be maintained.  Think about all those people that are really beautiful or handsome and every time they enter a room everyone’s eyes turn toward them.  It’d be enough to make you paranoid after a while.
But every now and then I get a letter or two from some of my more senior readers that makes me perk up and shows me aging is more a state of mind than condition.  It especially makes me feel good as it ensures that someone else other than my one most faithful reader (thanks Momma) is checking out the words I pencil in each week.
For instance, Mary M. Barber of Springfield may be 95, but when she sends me a letter you would really think it is coming from someone in their 20s.  She has the most beautiful handwriting you would ever want to see.  I showed the kids and my youngest Belle marveled at how she could write such a straight line on blank unlined paper with such perfectly- formed letters.
Of course, that did make me feel a little inferior as my handwriting looks like a drunk chicken with it’s feet dipped in ink had run across the page.
Rose Cusick writes me every now and then from Bardstown. You might remember her from the St. Rose area where she grew up. Rose has written some really nice pieces on her early memories  of growing up in the community. I haven’t had the chance to write back but I want Rose to write a column in the near future about growing up in the county when she was young. Hey Rose, consider this my open invitation to spell me one week.  I’ll wait for you to send me a column.
Another letter came to me from the beautiful Mrs. Imogene Keeling. Her husband was Leon Keeling, who died in 2007 at the age of 89. He spent 50 years at the Harrodsburg Herald and something like 20 more years before that in journalism, as well. Yep, you can be sure of one big difference between Mr. Keeling and me. I read some of his writing and Mr. Keeling was a REAL newspaperman and I just play one on Wednesdays in The Sun.
Finally, I have to say it made me feel a little bit concerned about my future as all these smart, beautiful women, are well, women.
However, Mrs. Keeling gave me some hope when she wrote.  She wanted to say how much she loved an article that was in the paper by Mr. Johnny Hardin when he spelled me one week.
He wrote a column entitled “Johnny Hardin’s Walk Down Memory Lane.” It was probably one of the most popular columns ever written in the paper. It talked about the Springfield of his youth and all the people he remembered.
Everybody knows Johnny from all his decades in the grocery business.  He’s always smiling, always laughing and knows everyone after so many decades of working and running his own business.  Yep, he still has a mind as sharp as a tack.
I was checking up on Mr. Hardin the other day.  I wanted to know when he was sending me another column.  I thought he’d have more time for writing as he is now semi-retired.
I was wrong.
Johnny was out knocking on doors in his run for Springfield City Council.
These folks may one day wear out but you can bet on one thing.
They sure won’t rust out.
(Writer’s note:  Happy Birthday to my friends Belle Sutton and Alex Mann.  Both have birthdays with me on Oct. 26.)