I really wish there were some way to avoid thinking about the end of life, specially when the end is – well, not as far away as it was once perceived to be. Fifty years ago I hardly considered it. Even when lying in a hospital bed quite certain I was having a coronary event. I felt then that as soon as my buddy the doctor, with whom I was traveling down to Port Isabel to go for a sailboat ride back up to Corpus Christi, got through with his expert ministrations, I would jump up and we would continue our adventure.

Not once, that I remember, did I think, “Oh shit! This is it. I’m a goner”.

Even as I was recovering form what was determined to be acute gastritis, ( too much con queso and not enough beer – those were the days before I discovered the blessings of alcohol ) I was hungering for a burrito with lots of sour cream. Some pills and a polite nod to diet brought me around enough for us to complete our sea going adventure. Later, of course, I found that alcohol, in moderation, covered a multitude of sins, among which is the sin of sound judgment. I haven’t figured out how to do con queso in moderation. There is just something about semi-liquid cheese with hot things floating around in it.

These days, however, any twitch or rumble in the thoracic region gives me pause to remember where my phone is with the number 1 speed dial button set to 911.

You get to be an Octogenarian, you get to be cautious about life. I hold on going down stairs. I use a walking stick when hiking, specially down precipitous paths. I start the heavy breathing before it’s needed. Although I sometimes feel that I still have the reflexes of a 20 year old, I am still rational enough to know that’s a lie.

Flexibility is the know it all and tell it all. I simply do not bend as well as I used to do. You would understand all this without any further explanation if you were privileged to see me trying to put on a pair of Levis without holding on to something. What you are seeing in your mind’s eye now is exactly what inspired the famous dance, The Bunny Hop.

Think, Bunny Hop with a cane.

Anyway, what this all means for me is that I hold on when trying to get into my jeans. Luckily, I usually don’t have an audience.

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