« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Lloyd Omdahl, Published April 22 2012

Omdahl: As calendar turns, golden years turn out to be brass

“Adapt” was the advice I got from District Judge Joel Medd, a friend and former student, when we commiserated about the problems of aging.

Good advice. Many elderly people die early because their bodies and their minds are out of sync. Their minds keep suggesting things that bodies can’t do anymore. Shovel that snow. Lift that bale. Shingle that roof. Then heart failure.

If you adapt, aging can be OK. Everybody is doing a lot of that in North Dakota.

I first realized I was getting older when I had to change my list of proposed pallbearers three times last month. My peer group is shrinking.

It’s sobering to realize that I’m half the age of North Dakota. Half of the state’s history is not history. It can’t be history if you can remember it.

I had hoped I would be able to enjoy at least one more good season with the Minnesota Twins. Even though they have some different faces after a dismal 2011 season, they seem to have the same old bats.

I never did get around to learning how to play the harmonica. I underestimated the prerequisites. It looked to me like playing a harmonica was as simple as politics – just puff and blow. But then I discovered that politicians can’t play harmonicas. Control of the tongue is critical to the process.

Talking about politics, I hope Secretary of State Al Jaeger gets the Legislature to redesign the measures ballot to suit the mood of the public these days. We need to change from voting “yes” and “no” to “absolutely” and “never.”

For the past few months, I have been coordinating a 60-plus group at church. We kid ourselves by calling it JOY, an acronym for “Just Older Youth.” We own up to our sins openly because we know that nobody in the group will remember enough to gossip later.

In Protestant Sunday morning groups, it is common to memorize key verses of Scripture. We had to give that up months ago.

I have finally concluded that the “intelligent design” theory of creation is correct, but you have to be smart enough to see it.

The Bible says it is appointed for man once to die. Once seems to be enough.

Bismarck, Fargo and Minot have reason to be concerned about high water, but God will never sponsor another flood. The first one was a failure. The first thing Noah did when he got off the ark was plant a grape and get drunk. It has been downhill for personkind ever since.

As we get older, we tend to recall childhood things, like comics. I can remember when Google was Barney’s last name.

Most people who got rich in the California gold fields did it by selling stuff to the miners. In western North Dakota, the restaurants, bars and motels are making more money than the oil companies.

One thing I have discovered about aging is that cake made from scratch keeps getting fewer and fewer ingredients. And now when I cook something for myself that is not very tasty, I know that I’d better eat it because it will taste worse warmed over.

Aging is OK as long as you keep doing it and don’t abuse the privilege.

In closing, I’ll let you in on a very private ambition: I really intend to live forever. So far so good.


Omdahl is former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email ndmatters@q.com