Come fly with me to younger days

Published 9:15 pm Thursday, April 14, 2011

At what point in life do we stop getting older and just get old?

There was a time in life when I’d call my oldest brother in Maryland and we’d chat late into the night about things that can never be discussed on this innocent Opinion page, but that only two like-minded brothers can share.

My most recent discussion with my brother had none of the youthful, carefree subject matter that it carried back in our teens and 20s. This conversation was all about his stomach ulcer, arthritis in his shoulders, and his union contract negotiations while my end focused on my blood sugar and, yes, my own arthritis in my back.

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And, please understand, good people of Suffolk, my brother and I are not, or rather were not, angels. We have had adventures, both together and individually, the likes of which would make the wildest party animal blush. And now, we are reduced to talking about weird body ailments and pension plans. Growing older is clearly to blame.

These are no longer fresh, invigorating talks between two young, rabble-rousing brothers but the ramblings of two grown men. How does that happen all of a sudden?

So, now that I’ve figured out that my big brother is just getting old and dragging me right along with him, I’ve been forced to ask myself whether to enter into that great compromise of life where we accept that we are of a certain age and there are just certain things we don’t do after a certain age. Or do I take the Dylan Thomas route and rage against the dying of the light?

In addressing this little fork in the road, I went back to where I always go to solve my dilemmas — to the bottom of my Chinese food bag. And there, in my fifth or sixth fortune cookie after my meal, was a fortune that helped me determine the theme for the present spring and upcoming summer seasons. The fortune read something to the effect of “When you think you’re too old to do something, that’s exactly when you should do it.” (Now can we all see why I love Chinese food so much? Moo shu and wisdom, all for a very low price.)

Now I am determined, as we all should be, my beloved Suffolkians, to embrace the things that I have available to me no matter what age I am or how aggressively my big brother is dragging me to senior citizenship.

So what I’m getting at here is that I will take advantage of the events and adventures that a former rabble-rouser can still enjoy here in Suffolk. First on my list is the Festival of Flight coming up at the end of the month. After all, there’s no better way to revive one’s youth, I’d imagine, than soaring above the clouds.

And the next time I speak with my dear, old brother, I’ll have something more youthful and interesting to talk about than rheumatoid arthritis or hypertension.