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  • Writer's pictureTerry Groves

Dancing at the Cemetery Gate

It occurs to me that you may not know anything about me. As interesting a person that I may be, there have not been any chronicles written about my life except perhaps my medical file (it has grown volumes since I turned forty) but information privacy rules keeps most everyone’s nose out of that tome. So, I have to pass on those tidbits that might help you understand where I am coming from.

I am old enough to be on the backside of life but not so old as to have one foot in the grave. I have some friends who are a lot closer to that particular stance, people whom I will miss terribly once they take that final step but I would say that I am more, dancing at the cemetery gate.

I don’t find this a bad place to be since it reminds me to perpetually pay attention to the good things in life and appreciate them. Also, life’s big problems are almost all behind me so why spend a lot of time dwelling on them? Pretty soon, the big things that do still affect me won’t matter to me at all.

The worse part of growing older, for me, has been declining mobility. As I follow my little dog Bear, watching for those puppy bombs that seem to be his main purpose in life, along with making sure that every bush, mailbox and rock in the neighborhood gets its daily rinse, I have plenty of time to notice the changes in my gait.

My legs are pretty long, they reach all the way to the ground, and I think it was God’s intent to make me a cowboy because he shaped them into perfect horse-huggers. I hope He’s not too disappointed that I never rode the range. Perhaps He was satisfied with my interest in motorcycles although my last iron-horse experience indicates otherwise.

Anyway, where I used to run miles, kilometers if you prefer, every week, now I am happy just to get along far enough for Bear to be able to work out another addition to his half ton of deposits. I sway back and forth, trying to ease the strain on my knees, as I hobble along. Some days I have to cut Bear’s explorations short but I like to think he gets as much exercise as he likes on most days.

He never complains. I haven’t figured out yet if that is because he is so easy going, he is perfectly happy with his lot in life or because he knows there is a cookie waiting for him when we return home. I think it is likely that last point because if I happen to forget to get him one, he is direct in reminding me that I forgot an important part of our daily routine. Once we walk in the door, he will wait patiently while I struggle to wipe his feet but then I better get to the good stuff.

Bad as my joints have gotten, I am happy that I am still dancing on the outside of the cemetery gate, the green side of the grass, and still able to enjoy accompanying Bear while he does his part to keep the neighborhood safe and damp.

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