This past Saturday we celebrated my Father-in-law’s 90th birthday. You might think that he’d be ready to take it easy at his age but you’d be wrong. He may have slowed down considerably but that just means it takes him longer to do the things he insists on doing.
He still lives in his own home and heats it with wood. He cuts and moves his own firewood and makes the trip down to the basement to stoke up the stove several times a day all through the winter. He scoffs at any suggestion that he use the electric heat the house is equipped with. He keeps a garden and still drives his tractor and his ATV. He is working at ploughing and seeding down a field this summer and he has every intention of going hunting again this fall. It’s the highlight of his year. Now that he’s had both hips replaced he’ll actually be able to hunt without using his walker. He loves the bush and always takes the time to scatter acorns or walnuts so that new trees will grow.
Change comes hard to him as it does to most people his age. Some might call him stubborn but I prefer to think of him as strong willed and determined. I’ve learned a thing or two from him as I’ve watched him cope with getting older.
1. Just because I can’t do a thing the way I could when I was younger doesn’t mean I should stop doing it. I just need to learn to do it in a new way. Where there’s a will, a way can generally be found. It might not be pretty but who cares?
2. Everybody needs some sort of work to do no matter how old they are. Having something to accomplish helps get us out of bed in the morning and gives us a sense of achievement at the end of the day.
3. Life should always be more about what I can do than what I can’t.
4. I should never give up on the things that are important to me.
5. A sense of humour always helps.
6. Family makes a difference.
7. As long as I am alive I should be planting things for the future.
Not long ago Bev’s Dad asked him to help put fences around some of the young walnut trees that sprouted from the seeds he’d planted. He didn’t want the deer to eat them. He also had more acorns he wanted to scatter. He is a remarkable man.
It made us think of a Greek Proverb we’d seen recently. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”