Rick Houser: So when did this happen?

Clermont County's Rick Houser has released a second book, this one titled "Memories from the Heart."

I am mind boggled. I just don’t understand. I keep asking myself so just when did this take place? I mean I am one who stays on top of a thing like this. It seems that all I can do is just continue to ask questions and none of them are returning an answer that I want to hear or just plain don’t understand.

I guess what I am trying to say is when did I go from being a middle aged man to a young senior? (Please keep the emphasis on young.) It seems as though only yesterday I was putting in long days and following them up with long evenings of mowing, weed eating, caring for big gardens and attending my son’s ball games. I have spent my life working in the outdoors and thrived on soaking up the hours of work.

Why as I think back as a boy growing up on the farm it was never a problem for me to put in long days in a hot sun or harsh conditions depending on the seasons and was always ready to go to town to hang with the guys late into the early morning hours. I followed this by arising early on very little sleep and doing it all over again. To this time in my life I thought it would never end as I would never grow up.

But after I did grow up contrary to my wishes and I married and settled down it wasn’t too many years where I was still working those long days and several hours into the evening but I had become needful for a good nights rest. Maybe that was a sign but I failed to notice it. As my wife and I became parents to two children. A daughter named Meghan and a son named Brendan it seemed our lives got very busy and when they hit those last years of high school I could feel that I could deliver a long full day’s work but if my son had a game to attend that was about all I could add into my day. A sign? Probably but I sorta failed to acknowledge it.

As my son was going through his last years of high school I was hitting fifty. I am still asking the question. Is that a magical age? Is this when father time removes that nimbleness and agility and endurance that you once prided yourself in? I still could accomplish a good bit but I had to push myself a lot more where before the drive just came naturally. So far I had been keeping up with how I was for a better term was aging and must say I was doing well.

Why when I got very heavy and very out of shape and my health was paying the price for my assuming all would end up all ok I confronted my problem instead of turning my back on it. I went in to a diet and eat healthy mode and took up walking Three nights a week I would walk five to eight miles and in doing so I found myself in the best shape I had seen in a couple of decades. I had energy to burn and burn it I did. Big gardens at my home and my daughter’s home and latter my son’s home. I put in extra hours at our nursing homes helping in whatever capacity I could be of use in. this was a time that was great for me and a time I won’t ever forget. Still as I moved through all of what I have said I moved through it in a slower motion. Truth be told I didn’t see or feel the slower move but looking back I can tell it was happening.

That brings me into the most recent time of my life. The past decade I guess. The best way I can explain it is the day goes by much faster for me and each chore I am to do takes much longer than I ever remember it ever taking before. I make a list of things to try to get done in a day and at the end of the day I see more not done than done before.. Of course I can accomplish these chores but the time it takes is much longer than I recall it ever being. Who put the fifty pounds of sand on my back to slow me down?

Now here is where I’m at. Dealing with a word and all it means and the word is age. The dictionary says it is looking at a period of time we grow old or older and physically so. Not a very nice definition now is It.? So I am still back at my original question. How did this happen? I still can carry out my job and do my yard work. Thing is I just feel I get less done on more time. I am thankful that the good Lord has allowed me the ability to do so. But again I must ask. Why this must happen or is it only happening to me? Why did I not see the signs and hear those warnings?

Now having worked in nursing homes over thirty-Six years to date one would think we all would see the changes that we go through if we are to reach the years we have yet to see. Ache as my joints can do sometimes I kind of want to see what lies ahead for me. I have seen my youth and enjoyed it greatly. I have seen early adulthood and really enjoyed it! I have experienced middle age and loved it and all my loved ones that were around me. And now I am entering into those Social Security years and I like them as along with grandchildren I get a check each month. Through each level of living I have to say life has been good to me. I have seen much and still have my wife and my daughter and son and now along with a daughter in law I have been given the gift of grandchildren. Along with all that I am ready to face the next day and even next week. I strongly recommend to you all to enjoy your life to the max!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you are interested in reading more of his stories they can be found in his books ‘There are Places to Remember” and’ Memories ARE from the Heart.” He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.