Age, Baseball and Other Things

There is an age-old question that has puzzled great men & women for ages and ages. Notice how I’m using the word “age” so often. The “age-old” question is how old is old. When are you old? Too a five year old, it’s probably ten. To a teen, it might be 30. And to a thirty year old, it might be 50. So, how old is old?

Last weekend we headed way up north to Duluth, Minnesota to help celebrate the 70th birthday of my oldest brother, Tony. His family successfully planned a surprise party for him and it went off quite well. Seventy years old! Is this old? Exactly what is old? Heck, potato salad gets old, nasty & spoiled after just a couple of hours in the sun. And a 1942 car is an antique. Now, let’s be clear, my brother, Tony, is neither nasty nor an antique, albeit he may be a bit spoiled! Age is so relative. Remember in the 60’s when the slogan was, “don’t trust anyone over 30.” For most of us, thirty has come and is long gone….and we don’t trust anyone anymore!! When’s the last time you trusted a politician???

Thirty years ago, I thought seventy was very, very old. But now? It’s only ten years older than I am now. Now, granted, 70 is NOT your “Prime, Grade A” beef, but can you call it old? Nah. At 70, Tony has a little grey, (ok quite a bit) in his beard and on top of his head. And when talking to him, you almost always have to repeat yourself as his first response is usually, “HUH,” but he certainly is not old. He’s getting up in years but not old. After all, he still has his wits about him. Most of them anyway. His memory is still pretty good. Short but good. But I remember way back when he was twenty and I was ten–“He was twice as old as me.” That’s no longer true. In fact, I’m quickly catching up with him. So, brother, YOU ARE DEFINITELY NOT OLD! But YOU are still older than me!!!

Now something that never gets old–Baseball. Spring is not when the first Robin is spotted or the tulips start sprouting or even swinging the golf clubs. Nope. It’s when the umpire yells, “Play Ball.” A man becomes a kid again. Who cares how much they make or don’t make? Baseball becomes a microcosm of life itself. A chance to start over. A fresh beginning. Everyone has a chance. No more talking about maybe next year….the time has come….maybe it’s this year. This is our year. Every team, every manager, every ball player has a chance to set records and win the big games. Even the “Cubbie” fans are excited. But the real good news is that when October gets our way, I predict an “official” World Series this year. Ever season has a World Series, but only when the Yankees are in it does it become an Official World Series.

This next item is something I hesitate to bring up but it must be said. Rumors are running amok that perhaps it was “yours truly” that left that $12,000.00 tip to that waitress in a small town in Minnesota. Nope, wasn’t me. I thought about leaving a ten dollar tip one time but then asked for change. The waitress asked what size bills I wanted and I said didn’t matter but to make sure some of it was in coins. She snarled. My wife snarled. My kids snarled. Twelve thousand dollar tip! Must have been a BLT and cup of Joe!!!

Last week I received a nice phone call from Gladys, a lady who regularly reads this column. She was so pleasant to talk to. After all, she was complimenting me. We talked about the “good old days,” and growing up in the Chelsea area. She said recognized my name but had no idea what “strain’ of Sheda’s I came from until I mentioned one time that Sue was my mom. She knew her quite well and told me several stories about shopping at Sheda’s Grocery Store. Thanks Gladys for the phone call. Gladys is 87 years old. And she ain’t old. Not by a long shot. Gladys remembers walking to school with my Aunt Evangeline, (Vangie), several years ago.

Now I leave you with this question, “What is a paraproskokian?” Guess the answer correctly and you might win two free tickets!!!

And “That’s The Way I See It.” Let me know how you see things at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-334-4117. Love to hear from you. Let me know what YOU think old is!!