Old Men

I am constantly reminded that I am not as young as I used to be.  Every time I get up in the morning an my wife hears my knees, ankels, and lower back situate themselves for the day with the accompanying cracks and pops.  I realize when I flank a calf, dig post holes, or just get out of my truck.  But I know that getting older is just part of the deal and that everyone has to go through it.  It doesn’t mean Im happy about it but some day’s I see things that bring a little relief to it.

I was in the gas station today in Lewistown, Montana when a guy came in wearing a hat bearing the insignia of a local ranch, a thermal shirt, and wranglers that had seen better days.  He was on a mission to get his daily Mtn Dew, during his break from checking cows for the afternoon.  When you have a couple hundred cows on a couple thousand acres, checking cows takes a while.  He approached the counter with his 20 oz when he shot me a glance.

“Never seen you in here at this time before.”  He said.  This comment began a short conversation about his work, his ranch, and his life.  And when he walked away, I felt compelled to ask him his age.  This guy rises at 5, runs a couple hundred cows, fixes fences, inoculates his herd, and does everything else before dusk, at the age of 72 years old.  I do none of this at my age.  Maybe there’s hope.  Maybe I could get that tough.  This man measures the year by sale day…his 67th one that he can remember.  At his age I probably wont remember my 5th birthday either.

As I recalled the conversation, I felt a sickening feeling at what I accomplish at my age.  I felt a wonder at all the droughts, floods, blizzards, and economic collapse he has watched from his ranch.  And I felt a certain adoration for the life he lived which brought to mind this scripture:

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Prov. 16.31

(Please don’t tell him I noticed the tufts of gray hair under his hat…at his age he could probably still take me.”

Proverbs 16.31

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