• Between The Dark and The Daylight

    by Jane Roland

    Fall has arrived and our smart clock is right on time (I also have a car timepiece that is once again correct).  I rather enjoy it during the day, but there is a period from 5:00 until darkness that can be depressing.  I recall how my mother and her friends enjoyed having company during twilight, especially during the winter months.  Now I understand, but don’t know exactly why.  If one is alone, he/she is more alone and even when there is someone else around there seems to be a pall.

    Longfellow wrote:

    “Between the dark and the daylight, when the night is beginning to lower, comes a pause in the day’s occupation that is known as the Children’s Hour.”  In our youth, at least in mine, this was bath time, after an early supper and bedtime stories.  I was raised in the era when in certain families’ children were not really an integral part of the “household community.” We had nursemaids who carried out the amenities for their charges.  I sat with my parents while they had a drink before their meal, then I was whisked off to my repast and subsequent retirement.  I recall lying in bed upstairs looking out the window at the sunshine filtering through leaves and thinking about another poem by Robert Lewis Stevenson “…….I have to go to bed and see the birds still hopping on the tree. Or hear the grown-up people’s feet still going past me in the street. And does it not seem hard to you, when all the sky is clear and blue, and I should like so much to play, to have to go to bed by day?”

    jane1I was always and still am a night owl.  When I was very young I would often read all night. In college I would stay up studying and was often the recipient of sad stories from some of my dorm mates — I was a sounding board and was perceived to have great wisdom (probably not – just the 18 year-old sense of empowerment).  Even today I rarely turn off the news until midnight.

    There was a time when each day, each month and year was beginnings with more to come.  Now we are winding down and grateful that we have the stamina to keep going.  In my case I am more than fortunate that my employers value my knowledge and care and don’t appear to think about my age at all.  On the other hand, other contemporaries, including my husband, seek employment and are cut off the moment it is known that they are ancient. It is a shame because society is missing out on great resources.  John, for instance, would be a fantastic office manager, he is bright, friendly and people love him.  I have heard that these elderly folk are taking the jobs away from the young.  That isn’t really true; some of the Medicare group did not have retirement benefits (I certainly didn’t) and work out of necessity.  As in my case it is a combination of many things, the economy to be sure, but being around people, helping a needy cause, and utilizing skills which I seem to maintain.jane2

    Fall meant that football season was upon us.  This is a sport for which I had absolutely no interest other than be with my friends and cheer on our teams in high school and college.  I sat through the contests in torture thinking about the party that was to follow.  After I was divorced and living in Miami I had a beau with season tickets to the Dolphins.  Even though I saw the emergence of the team from the dregs to the first rung on the championship ladder, I was bored.  Then I came back to California and married John Roland.  It took some time; however, it was sink or swim.  He is an inveterate football fan both college and professional and, until three years ago had owned what was called an upper box in Candlestick Park.  We went to every game possible, little by little eliminating the preseason and night challenges. We were there in the rain, the sleet, the cold.  We took our children and our friends.  As time went on it became difficult, the six seats that John bought at  Kezar at $5.00 each were now almost $100 each for the four remaining. It became increasingly hard to find companions and physically challenging.  We sold our ticket rights to a friend and now watch on television, still rabid fans (although we regret the departure of Alec Smith and cheer him on). It will be a conundrum when the Chiefs play the Niners.

    I think that is the thing about aging that is difficult. We have Brandy who is on her last legs.  When she goes it will be hard to know what to do. I suspect we will take an older pooch from AFRP or Peace of Mind.  John’s father departed this world just short of his 101st birthday, my parents went too soon, with luck we will be around for years to come.  I will still watch television until midnight and God willing get up in the morning and go to work.  I do not “dress by yellow candlelight,” but welcome my coffee served by John and the dogs at 7:45 AM.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on November 7, 2013

    Topics: Animal Tales and Other Random Thoughts


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