News and Tribune


March 25, 2012

CUMMINS: How to forget about the future

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Since the future is so important to us, we should look forward to it, not back, as older folks often do. We, who are clinging to decaying vines, realize that the door to our future is about to slam shut. You will turn your head, too, when something is about to hit you squarely in the face. Seeing our road sign displaying “dead end,” we decelerate and apply an arthritic leg to the brake, but it’s a no stopping zone. Futures eventually run out. It’s sobering, and although you may have never been drunk in your life, you’re wobbly when age catches up with you. I wouldn’t recommend a bottle, but your life began with one.

For most of us, there’s one last hope — Medicare, but it’s back in a committee. You battled the brick walls, and they won. You try to change the gears of your body and mind into reverse. We can’t turn back, but we’re qualified to look back. We’re just sitting here and have to look somewhere. Sometimes we sit in our car and sometimes drive it to places dispensing drugs, which we take. Ban me from driving, and talk about occupying the front door to the eye-test center. Yes, you see us focused on the rearview mirror driving down a road. We do this for two reasons; something might be trying to pass us again, but we’re mainly looking back in a kind of dreamy-like past, reminding us when we burnt up the roads. You wouldn’t believe the rubber I’ve smoked.

I remember back when I grabbed the world by the tail, thinking I would conquer it. I slung the thing slam-bang, full force, but then it began to whiplash, jerking me all over the place. I learned some valuable life lessons in the process. They said you shouldn’t look or turn back. However, when you begin approaching a no-outlet zone, what can you do? Old age is a time to reflect on your life accomplishments. Forget about the times you missed the boat.

Let your mind drift back to the good times, the early days. I remember when Jewel Ruth, or was it  Norma Lou, who indoctrinated me into what’s called the love nest. Her name evades me, but I remember her pony tail brushing and swishing my eager face. I did not conquer either one of them, but as I look back, I understand the value of the lesson I learned. I learned to wait, which helped prepare me for what I’m doing now.

As I sit here waiting for the transition, I see the struggle and the dripping sweat that accompanied me as I established the personal branch of my family tree. I see my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I’m joyful, because my children are raising their children who are raising their children while I sit. Age didn’t bother me until a grandson said, “You’re going to be a great-grandfather.” It was one of the hardest blows I’ve ever taken. I looked at the numbers, which had multiplied like rabbits. The subtraction button on my calculator had dropped off.

At that point, I knew it was time for intense family discussions. Say your liberal son says, “We love you Dad, no matter what.” Your other son, under the influence of a tea party, asks, “What do you want us to do with the body?” 

I have so much to offer the young, but can’t get past their headphones. My grandkids think I’m like Mark Twain’s dad, who was so stupid when Mark was a youngster, that he couldn’t believe how much his dad had learned after Mark passed his teen years. The problem with grandkids now days, is that they speak a kind of sign language, if they speak to you at all. When was the last time you ever sat one of your grandkids down? It reminds me of back when we milked a nervous cow. We roped it. Rope a kid today, and you’re in Guantanamo, which brings up another subject — the government.

My previous article explained that your future lies in the crummy hands of the politicians, who will say and do anything including maiming other human beings and even dogs to be your next president. You can’t vote your future without moldy money. If you believe government is your future, you should get a rearview mirror and look back, when a life of love held greater promise.

Contact Terry Cummins at

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