At 57, I am not ready to say I am “old”, but I am certainly aware of the fact that I am growing old. There are just too many signs my mind and body give for me to ignore this truth.
Sure, I still get out there and play basketball and volleyball with a younger crowd, but I can no longer do so up to the levels I once enjoyed. I still dive on the floor after a volleyball, but I have a harder time picking myself up again. My back is sore; my knees ache; my shoulders are tight; my reflexes are slow. But, I am still out there.
I can still go on long hikes in the woods, mile after mile, but it takes me longer to complete the trail and longer to recover from the journey in the days that follow. I find it harder to move furniture around the house that my wife finds no harder in imagining looking better in another location. My teeth ache; my hair has long since departed; I eat Advil like they are M & M’s; more and more memories seem to be leaving me; and, … I cry.
No, not from the aches and pains – they don’t make me cry. Not due to forgotten memories or from the frustrations that accompany failed efforts that used to come easy for me. Passing Barber Shops without the need to go inside does not make me cry. Being too embarrassed to remove my shirt at the beach does not make me cry. No … now that I am getting older, movies make me cry.
As a kid, I was a cry-baby. I cried anytime I lost a game and every time my older brothers teased me – usually because I was crying from losing a game. But, somewhere before my teen years, I managed to turn off the water-works never to cry again … until recently.
I experienced many events that saddened me and made me quite solemn, but the tears had been packed away following many an admonishment from my father and brothers telling me I was too old to cry. Ironically, now that I am getting old, I cry once again … at the stupid movies!
And not just movies like “Steel Magnolias” and “Terms of Endearment”, those are designed to make you cry. No, last night I watched “Field of Dreams” and I cried.
When a young Archibald “Moonlight” Graham crossed over the line after getting his one at bat with the major leaguers to become old Doc Graham once again so he could dislodge the hot dog from Ray’s daughter’s throat, the lump started swelling up in mine. When Terrance Mann walks into the corn field to join Shoeless Joe and his gang of baseball-playing angels, the tears started to form. And, when Ray Kinsella finally had that catch with his young father, … Niagara Falls.
It’s as if those tears I never cried as a young man have all pooled up inside and must now find their escape. Tears I couldn’t find from my brother’s passing at such a young age; tears that abandoned me after my own father’s death; tears that eluded me ever since I was told not to be such a cry-baby, now flow as soon as I see movie characters experience emotions that I so stoically have suppressed since the time I was thirteen years old.
No, I am not yet “old” but I am getting there. And, that is something I wish you to consider should you ever be with me when I am watching a movie.