Getting old is one of the oddest sensations. In the first place I never imagined it would be this way, that I would look back and wonder where all the years went. I never thought I’d simply wake up one morning and be old. My brain says it’s all a big mistake, but my body thinks different.
Yesterday I drove a tractor down to the creek so my Dad could load some rocks in the bucket to bring up to the new house we were building. We were laying flat rock for a patio and for the entryway to the house. I was just learning how to work the lift and didn’t stop it going up. My Dad was laughing so hard, riding in that bucket way up in the air that he couldn’t holler at me to let it down. He was that way though. So here we went up the bank and across the pasture toward the road, with a load of rocks and a laughing Cherokee riding high. I finally realized something might be going on and looked back in time to let it down before I hit the road to go on up the incline to the house. And I lived in that house for 42 years, walking over those entryway stones each time I came home. Oh, there’s a bunch of years.
Yesterday I went shopping for a horse. At last we lived in the country after twenty years of city living. The first one I rode was a big plodding beautiful multi-colored gelding I rode around bareback to try out. He refused to head home when I’d had enough, and I had to slide to the ground and lead him back along the logging road. Birds and squirrels chattered at us and it was a lovely spring day, the woods flaming with blooming redbud trees. Obviously they didn’t ride him enough and he just wanted to remain out all day. He was a bit too slow for me, so we went to look at another, a retired Tennessee Walker barrel racer named Katy. She was alert and stubborn and I loved her from the moment I swung in the saddle and she took off up the road like she had a designation in mind. I had her for five years until we had a bad auto accident and we had to sell her and her colt because she needed to be ridden.
Yesterday I walked into the office of the Washington County Observer with a book of clips under my arm to apply for the job of feature writer. And I remained on that paper for nine years, interviewing some of the most unique people I’d ever met. An Apache who’d flown secret missions during WW II for the country that had imprisoned his people for so long, America’s first spaceman who stepped out of an air balloon 20 miles above earth and dropped down through space and lived to fly me around in his barn stormer. The list goes on, but I was with that paper till it closed its doors for good. Then on to another for ten more years. Ah, there’s a clue as to what happened to the years.
Yesterday I sold my first western novel to Penguin, three more followed, then two with another publisher before New York took the plunge and I moved to writing historical nonfiction about
Arkansas. Now, back in the novel game because of several small publishers, but mostly for westerns from Wild Rose Press and all the others from Oghma Creative Media. Watch this one, folks, it’s catching fire. There are a bunch more years, twenty-two to be exact.
Yesterday, I celebrated by 80th birthday. So maybe it all didn’t happen overnight after all. These few flashes of my past are only a drop in the bucket. You can read about some in Wandering in the Shadows of Time, which will soon be reprinted by Oghma as well as a sequel, coming up in 2018 or 19. I’ve lost count of dates lately, and can you blame me?
Think about recording all your yesterdays. I’m working on it. Let’s see, there’s getting married and having two beautiful children that led to three impossibly wonderful grandchildren and two unbelievable great-grandsons. Must write some of those memories. They would fill a book. Wait, that’s what I do, write books. Maybe I’ll figure out how to stop sleeping to get it all done. Or live till I’m at least 100.