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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jul 10, 2009

It is an annual event and here it comes again. This is the week of my birthday and every year it seems I have to stop and realize another year has gone by. This year it is number 62.

The birthdays seem to go by with the regularity of the mile markers on the Interstate highway. Every year is another marker. The markers are spaced regularly, predictably. But each marker is only a marker. We are the ones who attach significance to them. Is a marker ending with a zero more significant than other markers? Only because we think so.

Thousands of people drive by mile marker 203 without it meaning anything to them. It is important to me because it is where I turn off for home.

Driving one direction on the Interstate, the numbers go up measuring how far you have come. In the other direction they go down as if they measuring how far yet to go.

It is probably better we measure our birthdays going up. Counting down might be a sign of the approaching end.

My neighbor Dave got past marker 63, but never made 64. I believe he was satisfied with his number although there are a few of us who would not have minded at least 10 more for Dave. Seventy-four is a good number; 84 is better yet.

Last week I attended the visitation of a friend who had passed away. His markers stopped at 69. It had been several years since I had seen him and I knew he was suffering from cancer. I stood in line to give my sympathies to his wife and when we met, she asked if I was still in the same place as I had been for the past years.

I said the only thing that had changed for me was the additional weight I was carrying around my middle. She said that her husband missed his waistline, which at one time was 270 pounds and when he died, he was 125 pounds.

After we had our quick visit and as I was walking away, I thought how ironic it was that my 50 pounds or so of extra weight that would be troubling to a heart doctor was also a sign that my life, in general, was good. Losing weight would be in my best interest, but I was not feeling so guilty about it when I realized what else it meant.

This year’s batch of kittens has moved closer to the house to be near the cat food. They are good-sized kittens and full of energy. Everyday is another day of chasing, wrestling and napping. It is a good life.

I look at them and think, “Just wait until winter when you are looking for food while wading in the snow and trying to get a drink of water before it freezes.”

The kittens are not worried. If they did worry, it would not change anything. It is as if they know winter will be here anyway so let us enjoy these sunny breezy days by eating and napping with frequent bouts of fun.

There are things such as winter or cancer that are going to happen anyway, so let us enjoy the here and now that we have, including those things we may feel guilty about.

Is it possible kittens, who are only weeks old, can teach something to an overweight 62-year-old male human? I hope so.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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