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Beyond The Game

Riding back in time with old buddy, 'Skip'

Age has funny way of making us realize our good fortune and to live in moment
By Ken Waltz | Jul 28, 2020
Courtesy of: Dave Libby Paul "Skip" Greenier, left, and Ken Waltz during a break in their motorcycle ride.

As people age, they become more reflective, appreciative of each day and experience. For additional time on this earth and opportunities to feel the love of family and friends. To continue to be fully aware of the human intellectual, physical and spiritual senses. For life's little things.

For me, that awareness happens daily. During each workout, round of golf, moment on my phone or in front of my computer or television, and, of course, during family gatherings. Additionally, each cherished chance to catch up with lifelong friends certainly is a time to celebrate.

It is said life is short and we should take advantage of each day, each moment, and those sentiments never seem reality until we get to a certain age and phase of our journeys around the sun.

We cannot see it in our youth, certainly not in the teenage years or even young adulthood. But most can, if they are fortunate enough to live that long, when the clock hits about a half-century.

Age has a funny way of making us realize our good fortunate — especially when advancing years bring with it the loss of those you love. Age makes you thankful for health, happiness, comfort and, hopefully, financial security.

Age helps you understand one must live in the moment. Soak in life — the good and sometimes bad. Immerse one's self in all life's glory.

I have learned chronicling life's moments on my electronic devices is less important than living in the moment. The experience can be imprinted on my brain. I was there. I do not need lasting, tangible proof of that experience — and neither does anyone else.

I often think what a waste my newly-discovered stop-and-smell-the-roses attitude has blossomed in my older age after I missed so many opportunities along the way to put my nose to the flowers of life and take a deep sniff to enjoy the fragrances and subtleties. I was, for some reason, too busy, when younger, putting one bouquet experience in water and racing to the next garden for a quick whiff, then to the next and so on.

In my youth — in all of our youths — we pack in as many trips to life's garden without stopping for a moment to savor the grandeur of the scenery. That is too bad.

That changes for most when we realize we have more life behind than ahead. It is a sobering, but realistic outlook. And especially hits you when your parents are long gone and some of your friends and siblings are no longer around to share life's experiences.

That is why I so cherish each precious moment with my family — especially my adult son, Brandon, and my 2-year-old granddaughter, Audrey, whose wonder, inquisitive nature and incredible daily growth leaves me with a never-ending smile and happiness deep in my heart and soul. Her laugh, "talks" and singing take my breath away. She shines light on my existence each time I see or speak with her. She has no idea the positive affect she has on this old-timer. Hopefully I live long enough to tell her when she is older and can fully understand the positive impact she has had on so many us seasoned humans.

I also have grown to appreciate what I have accomplished in life and how lucky I have been to make a career out of my passion for sports and to be able to continue to cover the athletic stories of generations of people. How honored and grateful I continue to be for the opportunity to be part of people's lives and their athletic experiences. In a small way, their sports legacies.

Catching up, now and then, with longtime friends also is something I look forward to. Those moments come on porches, on the golf course and even on a motorcycle, as it did when Paul "Skip" Greenier, a high school friend and someone I have not stayed connected with as much as I should have in adulthood, contacted me to go for a ride.

So, for the first time in decades, two old friends went for a "Sunday" drive. He rode his Harley-Davidson and me my Yamaha V-Star 1300 around the area and had a blast.

Skip and I were close friends in high school. We had so much fun together and I was fortunate enough to know the Greenier family, who moved to Rockland from Bath when Skip was a high school freshman. While it must have been tough for Skip to make that transition from one school and set of friends to another, this old-Rockland boy welcomed this newcomer with open arms and a lasting friendship blossomed.

We spent so many hours swimming in the area quarries, playing Frisbee, listening to music, hitting local dances, parties, taking road trips, hitting concerts (we saw the 1970s rock bands Boston and The Doobie Brothers in the same concert, how cool is that?) and just having so much fun in-and-around Rockland, or at our homes on Lawn Avenue and Camden Street.

Me and Skip topped our recent time together — our "Wild Hogs" moment — with a pit stop and wonderful, intellectually and emotionally stimulating, several-hour talk with classmate Teresa Flanagan Harrington on her porch overlooking Chickawaukie Pond in Rockland.

It was an idyllic setting with people I care deeply about. Ones who make my time on this planet more rewarding, fun and certainly more complete.

It was the kind of day that created dozens of moments that could be packed away in my, alas, aging brain. Hopefully as the years fade I will continue to possess the ability to draw those precious memories back into focus and smile — with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness in my heart for family, friends and life.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Beth Birmingham | Aug 05, 2020 12:59

Nice article Ken and wonderful reminder not to take life and all its journeys and obstacles for granted!!



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