Just two guys waiting at Walmart

Published 9:24 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2015

By Frank Roberts

The age-old old-age question is, “How ya feelin’?” I go for the honest answer: “Lousy.” Then I’ll ask, “How much time do you have?”

They check their watch, stammer a little bit, then explain they’re on the way to see their Aunt Bessie, ’cause her dog just had five kittens.

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When I was their age, I probably did the same thing.

Fellow age-olders are the most patient, mainly because they can’t wait to find an opening during your spiel about your variety of aches and pains. Invariably, they are in worse shape, they see more doctors, they have more prescriptions to fill.

Recently, I took my regular trip to see my specialist in Greenville. On the way back, there was the absolutely necessary trip to Walmart. Often, I accompany the wife, riding around in one of those motorized carts.

When we arrived, there was one handicap vehicle left. I got on, but an employee said it was broken. I had to settle for one of those ultra-hard benches they have in front.

A gentleman who, I would say, was a spring chicken — in his early 50s — invited me to sit with him and talk.

He told me about his early-life wanderings before he took a job at a Virginia Beach country club. He smiled as he explained that he began as a busboy, and then worked his way up to cleaning the dishes and waiting tables.

He told me that the boss really liked him and begged him to stay. But, there was a woman involved, and she was so pretty and he loved her, so — what else could he do? — he followed her to Akron, Ohio.

I don’t know if they were husband and wife or if they opted for “staying together.” I do know that, soon, the flame was extinguished, and back he came. I didn’t get the rest of the story. His nice-looking wife was on the way out and asked — well, ordered — him to follow, with a brisk, “C’mon; let’s go.”

Anyway, he kept me occupied until my wife traipsed by and ordered me to follow, with a brisk, “C’mon; let’s go.”

If you don’t feel like sharing “problems of the elderly” there is one solution. The first question strangers ask — and note the emphasis — is, “How old ARE you?” One wife, who believes in honesty above all else, knows how to handle this situation.

She refuses to lie about her age, so she tells one and all that she is as old as her husband. Then she lies about HIS age.

I told my doctor that I was feeling worse than I did on my last visit — my old bones are giving me the what-for from top to bottom. I try not to let it bother me, which is not easy to do when you’re whipping about with a cane.

My theory is that old age is 15 years from now.

Someone once noted that the best time for men to have babies is when they’re 80. That’s when they have to get up 10 times a night, anyway. I do know a woman who was named after Betsy Ross — but not long after.

That brings me to the old country song, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive.” It was high on the charts in 1952.

The song was a hit for Hank Williams who, prophetically, died while the song was reaching for “hit-dom.” Truth in music.

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at froberts73@embarqmail.com.