All old friends are youthful in the mind’s eye

Once upon a time many years ago, some male babies were born. At that time, these young babies did not know that much later they would become old men, and most would have babies of their own.

Also, little did they know they would eventually become members of the Old Men of the Mountain. Nor did they know what kind of life the years would bring.

These mysteries would shape the memories of their formative years. As the memories are related today, many details are as sure as if the event happened yesterday. A couple of the stories tied with current events made this hard to sort out from the forties and fifties, or the current century and 2020.

What prompted this was a discussion on high school and the kids in the class, who are now senior citizens. These stories had the kids in school, still the kids in school; this is how the OMOTM talked about them and this scribe actually believes they truly saw them in their mind’s eye.

The girls are vivacious, and the guys are young athletes, when in fact, the guys are probably bald and fat, wrinkled and bent; the women are also fat, wrinkled, and bent. But the OFs who have not seen them in years do not picture them this way.

One OF told the story of haying with the gang from Berne all day long and then taking off and going swimming. The OF mentioned he had not seen many of these guys in years and wondered what they were doing.

He remembered young and virile people, and it was possible to tell this by the sound of his voice. This OF mentioned one of the girls in the group and wondered where she was and what she was doing, and the OF would like to see her again.

Not wanting to spoil the illusion, this scribe thought to himself as the OF carried on, if the lady in question is still alive. It is interesting what the OF’s remember and how they do it and in what context.

Recalling some of the antics the OFs pulled when they were kids have many of those in the group discussing how we did some dumb things when we were kids. In a way, the OFs take it easy on some of the things kids do today.

However, one OF said, “If you recall, much of what we did back then was mischief; it was not mean.” 

“Today,” this OF continued, “A lot of what the young people pull is downright mean. There is a difference.”

This scribe retorted, “Some of our exploits might have put us in jail today, instead of just getting scolded, if we were caught, even though most of the stunts were just nonsense.”

That phrase started a certain memory.

“I remember the time when there were five of us in a coupe and we raided Middleburgh for girls because apparently there were no girls in Schoharie.”

That is not all that coupe of boys raided, but again it was nonsense, and not mean by any measure. It was one of those things that could be very funny, but the culprits dared not be around to take part in any of the fun, they just had to talk about and imagine what was happening and what the reaction would be.

With this stunt, the perpetrators would want to be long gone. There was really not much sense in hanging around because, if caught, they would be tarred and feathered at least.

This scribe asked the question, “Was our youth more fun than now, or even back a few years, to our adulthood?”

The answer for the OF was: H--- yes.

Whoever said old age (and we are old, there is no getting around that) was fun?

A common reaction received from one OF was: “I ache from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head; all my friends are in the same boat. They either have cancer, or heart trouble, or are deaf with blurry vision, have arthritis in every joint, and have had their car keys taken away. What fun is there in any of that?”

“Yeah,” another OF answered. “It is more fun to remember being young, than it is to be old. 

“Boy,” the scribe thought, “Did I call the wrong guy!” 

Come to find out this is more a product of the pandemic than the way the OF really felt. Being cooped up with no release, the scribe thought, is more of what is going on than the “down in the dumps” recitation, because usually the OF is upbeat no matter the situation.

In a way though, remembrances are fun even if in our 80-year-old minds we still see our high school mates as if they were in their teens. The girls are still young and pretty and the guys all have hair and muscles.

This scribe agreed with the OF and added that he still sees his kids as in their teen years, even though they are in their sixties with kids of their own. What about the OFs who have more great-grandkids than some OFs have grandkids? How do they still see their kids?

We have survived spankings, lead paint, rusty playgrounds, second-hand smoke, toy guns, no seat belts, no helmets, and drinking from the hose. And we still have memories of childhood that are the dreams that stay with you after you awaken.