Age is just a number
As I reach another milestone in life, 90, I do some reflecting on age.
I thought back to a news story I had written in 1961, as a 29-year old reporter. It began something like this: “An elderly man was seriously injured when struck by a south-bound car at 9th and Edmond streets about 10 a.m today. Joseph Smith (not his actual name) 68, was taken by ambulance to Sisters Hospital.”
I turned in the complete story to the city desk. There either my late Dad, city editor Harold Slater, or Harold Morrison, assistant city editor, checked the story for possible spelling or grammatical errors or a need for more information.
I had just returned to my desk to type another story when I was summoned to the city desk. “Bob,” my Dad began, “68 is not elderly.” I nodded my head, said something about it seemed pretty old to me. His clarifying explanation: “Mr. Burrowes is 68. He is not elderly.”
Arthur Burrowes (no one in the news room ever called him Arthur) ran the News-Press, Gazette and much of St. Joseph as editor of both papers in an era when the print media still exercised political and civic clout.
It was just a couple of minutes in time, now more than 60 years ago, and I subsequently wrote several thousand other stories in 23 years at the N-P, but that message has continued to resonate with me.
I don’t know when “elderly” officially begins. By any definition, I’ve been there a long time. But I like to think of age as merely information about how long one has been around, much like saying it’s 50 miles to Kansas City, 300 miles to St. Louis.
As I enter my 10th decade, I don’t worry about life expectancy tables. I just thank God daily for 90 wonderful years, for however more days I may have left, express gratitude for family and friends, and hope my elderly acquaintances (there, I said it) continue to enjoy life. Age is just a number; it doesn’t define your life or your opportunities. Whether 20 or 90, no one knows the remaining days nor hours. Let’s all enjoy whatever years we have left in peace and cheerfulness.
Much is lost if I-229 is torn down
Have you ever driven on the I-229 viaduct at sunrise or sunset? Have you ever witnessed a storm rolling in from the southwest or northwest while traveling along the same stretch of road? Have you ever watched the rise and fall of the river and the ice floes floating downstream? All of these experiences could be gone if the Missouri Highway Department gets its way.
I attended the gathering at the Nature Center and all I saw were people who wanted to be seen there, politicians smiling for the camera and little cards to write your comments on.
These people could care less what the common person wants.
Here’s what I want. I want the highway department to fix the bridge. I voted for a road tax increase and I want my portion spent on this project. If they tear it down, all of those beautiful sights are gone. The only things you’ll see are run down buildings and a riverfront the city doesn’t maintain.
Better yet, let’s vote on it!
Jason D. Ingram