I don't mind growing older. But it really bothers me when certain other people do, especially when some are my heroes. Heroes are not supposed to grow old, Andy Hardy and Judge Hardy and Ozzie and Harriet and Ma and Pa Kettle should have stayed the same as when we first met them. Even if some were old then, they shouldn't have gotten any older! It's just not right.
They say, as we grow older our bodies shrink. Maybe that's why we seldom see Mickey Rooney anymore. Mickey was short to begin with. He sure couldn't afford to shrink. Somebody might step on him.
I don't know if Tyrone Power ever got old. The last time I saw him he was still young. He was a pirate.
I saw Judy Garland when she was young but also when she was old - the same with John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney and Burgess Meredith.
One that really got me down was Hendry Fonda. I probably didn't talk to God for a week over that. Henry had been the young Mr. Lincoln and Wyatt Earp and Tom Strode and Mr. Roberts. He, Jimmy Stewart, and John Wayne, with a little help from Clint Eastwood, settled the West. It hardly seems right that they haven't stayed in their prime to watch over it. I guess that's why skyscrapers have replaced ranches in Dallas and Houston. Pity!
I like my heroes to be dependable. Should they be put aside for 10 or 20 years, when I decide to really notice them again, they should remain the same - young, vibrant, full of vim and vigour. They should not be shrunken and leaning on a cane: from a tough whiskey-drinking cowboy to a dodderer in search of his Geritol? I don't think so.
My wife just hollered: "Top shelf in the bathroom cabinet." (I don't think her hearing is quite what it used to be.) Geritol indeed.
I'm glad I'm not anybody's hero. I'd sure disappoint them now if I were. Losing my memory and gaining pounds instead of the other way around, some hero!
Not long ago, my wife told me I was her hero. I was deeply moved but also a little disturbed. SHe was giggling and rolling her eyes at the time. I sometimes get confused. I admire her intelligence; it's her sense of humour I struggle with.
Certain people, in my mind, should never outgrow their hero statues. They should carry over from generation to generation, challenging people to dream bigger dreams.
It seems strange to hink that some of tomorrow's heroes - the guys I mean - will be remembered for wearing high heels and makeup and prancing across the stage instead of riding a horse across wide-open spaces. Go figure!
I doubt if Roy and Gene would wear makeup and pound on guitars and scream, instead of crooning, "O Bury Me, On the Lone Prairie." If they did, I think Gabby Hays would pull his beard out and Smiley Burnett would stop smiling!
Often, I wish I could gather my 12 cents and sneak back into the past and take in a Saturday afternoon matinee, where so many of my heros gathered and welcomed my cheers, along with a couple hundred other kids.
They showed us how to ride a horse through a cloud of dust without getting dirty. But I guess that wouldn't work now. I have a white beard and weigh about 170 pounds more than I did then. And I'd have to pay the adult price, instead of 25 cents. I'd probably be arrested if I shouted and cheered as Roy and Trigger beat up the bad guys. I guess many doctors would examine me too!
Oh well! We all grow older and "wishing" isn't going to change that. But still, I wish I could give Hoppy a call and ask how it's going!
MAY 2011 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND / VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND