I watched these men and women and imagined their lives. I know the majority of the men probably had farmed all of their lives and the women probably worked as hard as the men with other duties required of farm life. I knew nothing of farm life before marrying my husband a few years ago and even though he talks about farming as he grew up and into his adult life and as he tries to explain to me what is going on in the fields we drive by every day, I still don’t know what it’s like to be a farmer. I have learned that it is hard work, many hours of work and the dependency of nature’s kindness among so many other matters. My husband raised cattle as well as farmed. When I asked about the farming he explained how sometimes he would plow for so many hours that at times he would doze off at the wheel. He said there was a lot of climbing up and down, sometimes jumping off the plows, tractors, or trucks and there was plenty of lifting and stacking bales of hay.
My husband pointed out people that he remembered as a child or as he grew up. He mentioned their position in the community or what farm they lived on when he was younger and that most of them still live there but probably not still farming the land. Perhaps their sons are or they have leased the land to another farmer, a younger farmer making a living for his family. As he pointed out these folks I tried to calculate in my head how old they were at this point considering my husband’s age now.
Why was I so obsessed with these folks and their age, you might ask. It was because they seemed so worn out. Their bodies were crooked, bent, broken and barely moving; their skin parched by the sun and the unending dry wind that blows in this state. I observed how difficult it was for so many of them to get around and I compared them in my mind with people from a larger city, Norman, that I came from, a college town where the elders blend in so well with the younger people that congregate in restaurants, bars or social activities and how those people seemed so much younger than these poor farm folks.
I thought about how I had never really seen anyone age except my mother since we were taken away from our grandparents and other relatives so I’m really not familiar with the whole process of aging. My grandparents already seemed old to me when I was just a little girl. They were probably around 60 but seemed much older than 60 year old people today.
What do they say? “Sixty is the new forty!” I believe that our minds remain somewhere between 25 and 30ish although we think much wiser as we grow older. I agree with my friend, Ro when she said as we get older we also become more cautious. It’s just so sad that our bodies wear out as we age and some so badly. I also wish we could pick an age and stay there for our duration or pick an age for our children to stay at. You know the age, whatever that might be, that they are the cutest or sweetest.
Personally and seriously I don’t want to live too long, unless I can feel as good as Cher or Susanne Summers or Barbara Walters and even Betty White look just to mention a few. I say feel because, I can never look as good as they do. I even thought Joan Rivers looked great, regardless of how much work she had done to look that way. At 83, I thought she looked marvelous and I think if you look good, you feel pretty good too. And what a way to go; just going in for a simple procedure; they put you to sleep and you just don’t wake up. I’d go for that.
Now I better think about getting on that treadmill, eating right and take a few vitamins, just in case.