April 15 – At the very beginning of this blog, Dale and I wish our good friend Clyde a very happy birthday! Now every birthday is special as we celebrate another year of life and the new year before us, but when one can say. “Today, I am NINETY!” it puts a different slant on things. Yes, I know that more and more people are getting old (er) than our parents or grandparents these days, but it is still an accomplishment to age so gracefully as Clyde has done.
Speaking of those who grew old in former generations, I can well remember my dad announcing to all of us one day, “If I get to be 60, shoot me!” Now I know he didn’t mean we should take him exactly at his word, but I also know that people in the old days really couldn’t do much of what they could before sixty. Both parents worked so hard and were paid so little that they didn’t have much of a life as far as money or belongings were concerned. Many had some kind of physical weakness, but couldn’t afford to go to the doctor. No wonder Pa announced what he was going to do should he reach six decades!
Now back to Clyde. Not too long after we moved here from our home in Pennsylvania, we were making the round of garage sales. We didn’t look for anything that we really needed, but just had fun checking out the various items people were selling. At one home we found a small bronze cage with a little door. A cute little item, so we bought it. While checking out the display in another house not too far from the first, we looked up to see the man from the first garage sale, with something in his hand. We wondered why he so quickly walked right toward us. “You may not recognize me,” he said, “but I just sold you that little cage, and after you had gone, I noticed that you didn’t get one of the little pieces that goes with it. So here it is!” First time that had ever happened to us at a garage sale–someone hunting us up to give us something we hadn’t even missed!”
From time to time after that we met the man and found out that his name was–and still is–Clyde! He has so many interesting stories of his life in the service, of his family, of his love for nature and gardening, and of his ability to repair many items needing someone who is knowledgeable. We have found that he and we have many of the same friends. On our “town days” we stop in to visit with him for a bit since he lives close to the main grocery store. I have seen him at the school where I volunteered for 16 years, as his cherished granddaughter is a student there. Way back at the beginning I saw him in the auditorium and was surprised that he was there. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “Why my granddaughter goes to school here and I’m here to celebrate with her!” Through the years we have found that he is very proud and supportive of his grandchildren and would do anything within reason to help if he is needed!
Our conversations with Clyde touch on many subjects and he just happily goes about his daily tasks, does a lot of reading, plants many kinds of vegetables in his garden, and does what he can to improve and keep clean the area around his home.
Late this morning I was scooting around on our big mower when a gray pick-up truck pulled into our driveway. Since I didn’t recognize the vehicle, I just waved and hoped that Dale would come from the other side of the house where he was mowing. Since he didn’t come, I had to do the honors and greet whoever was in the truck. Talk about a surprise when Clyde stepped down to the driveway! First time he has ever been to our home, and I remembered that he had told us several times earlier that he was going to try to find his way over to see us “when the weather gets better.” Just about the first thing he said this morning was, “I hope I can find my way back!” After a lengthy conversation about many subjects, including gardening, mowing, pears, bamboo pile ready to be burned, bamboo canes for fishing poles, various kinds of food I had mentioned in former blogs, family and friends, he said, “I saw that picture of the big bowl of soup you put on your blog. Sure looked good!”
Back to the house I went to bring out a big jar of soup, and several other foods including some of the zwieback and Marmite butter I had mentioned in the blog. He hadn’t seen that one yet and promised to read it when he got home. Before he left, I asked him if it would be OK for me to take a picture to put on this blog. After talking it over, he agreed to let me use my judgment as long as I didn’t use his last name (well, I never do that anyway). I just figured that when a really good friend celebrates his 90th birthday, somebody should recognize it and shout “Happy birthday, Clyde! A very happy birthday!” As he drove out of our driveway and continued on towards the main road, we both agreed that it was pretty neat that Clyde was still the driver of his 2000-something Toyota Tundra! (and yes, the government also celebrates on the 15th, only those folks in D.C. call it Tax Day!) – CHRIS