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Another Day in the Country

You’re never too old

© Another Day in the Country

When my sister and I moved from the Napa Valley in California to the little town of Ramona, Kansas, population 100, plus or minus, it didn’t take us long to look around for some cultural entertainment.

Not only did we miss the food store just down the street and the gas station on the corner. We also missed the theater downtown and the folk music on a Saturday night in the park.

Where would we find these things in Marion County — well, maybe not in the county, but at least within 50 miles?

Eventually, we found all the things that we needed. There’s a gas station within seven miles in Hope. Our life-saving mechanic, John, is 11 miles away in Herington. Our favorite food store is within 30 miles, in Abilene. What has become our favorite movie theater, the Art Cinema, is about 40 miles west, in Salina, and there is folk music in Hesston, about an hour away.

For many years, we were regulars until nighttime driving in the winter kept us closer to home. We heard a lot of performers who became favorites during the years we traveled regularly to the Arboretum, including a woman named Zoe Lewis.

I bought several of her CDs back in the day when that’s how you got music. I put them into a CD player in my old grandma car, and whenever I’m driving somewhere, my favorite CDs from artists like her accompany me.

Zoe is one of those singer/musicians who writes her songs about life. They tell stories of her experiences and where she’s traveled.

Of course, when you are lucky enough to see an artist in person, especially at a smaller venue like the intimate auditorium at the Arboretum, the stories the artists tell become like personal conversations with a friend.

One of my favorite songs is a story about the day she borrowed a boat from a neighbor to go fishing on a mill pond near her home.

He asked her, as a favor, to dump some ashes of a friend of his in the pond. He had promised to do so himself, but because of ill health hadn’t been able to get out on the pond.

So, Zoe did the favor, and it turned into inspiration for a lovely song, “Catch Me a Fish, Geraldine.”

It was close to 20 years ago that I first heard Zoe Lewis sing, but she’s still driving along with me in the car as I run errands.

Another favorite song — well, I pretty much like them all, but especially this one — is called, “You’re Never Too Old to be Young.”

It’s become my theme song because the notion of youth has nothing to do with chronological age but everything to do with your playful, inquisitive, fun-loving spirit, which you had as a child. I hope you’ve nurtured the best parts.

The song starts out saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have a message for you. Whenever you think you’ve done it all, you’ll always find something new,” and then reassures us, just in case we give the excuse that we’re just too old for that silliness, that if you believe it’s possible, “from the age of 3 to 101, you are never too old to be young.”

I’m a believer! We can’t let ourselves get stuck in a rut as we age, and the best way to keep that atrophy from happening is to constantly be trying new things as opportunities arise — like getting ducks!

What a lot of fun we all would have missed if I hadn’t taken the chance to get ducks a year ago.

Yes, it was a silly notion. It cost more inconvenience and money than I’d care to admit, but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

It was just about this time last year that I made that fateful decision, taking the chance, trying something new.

I must admit there were times when I grumbled, was fearful, threw up my hands, and chastised myself. But live and learn, the ducks and I have come to an understanding.

I laugh out loud when I watch them play in our mini-pond, and watching them is almost as much fun as jumping into the water myself. Vicarious thrills are the name of the game.

Playfulness takes many forms. It can be trying out a new board game with your family or playing a word game or a card game on your phone.

It’s always better to be playing with someone else, but sometimes there’s no one around but the cat.

Zoe’s song, with its catchy Latin rhythm, goes on to say it’s “imperative to have a little joyfulness each day.”

“You don’t stop playing just because you’re old,” it says. “You grow old if you don’t stop to play.”

And here we are. It’s another day in the country. Let’s have some fun.

Last modified March 14, 2024

 

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