Celebrating Seniors

I don’t how it happened, or when, but somewhere along the line I became a senior.

And heck, before too long I’m supposed to get old.

Now, I realize that “senior” is a flexible term, depending on where and how it is applied. The word “old” is even more ambiguous.

My generation was the one that coined the admonition not to trust anyone over the age of 30. These days, we’re more likely to look askance at anyone under 50.

My first awareness of a change in status came in 1998, when the White Pass & Yukon folks invited Yukon residents 55 years old or over to ride free from Skagway to the summit on the May long weekend.

I qualified by exactly three weeks.

Sweet deal! I think I like this getting old stuff.

I began to enjoy the guilty pleasure of having a few percentage points shaved off the cost of various purchases.

By the time I hit 60, the guilt was gone. Hey, I’m a senior. I’m entitled.

But I’m not old. Nossir.

Then came the inevitable morning, when I staggered into the bathroom and discovered my father staring back from the mirror.

OK, so there were a few wrinkles. Less hair. Except in embarrassing places where there was more.

But I wasn’t old.

Then 65 made its appearance. No big deal. Even more discounts, and that delicious feeling of the taxman paying me for a change.

I retired, but soon realized I wasn’t nearly as interesting to be cooped up with all day as I thought I would be.

Nothing wrong with retirement, of course, for those equipped for it—or too busy to be bored.

So I unretired. And got a little more senior. Still, I definitely was not old.

Old was what my grandparents had been—forever.

Old was what my parents had gradually become. But me? Ain’t gonna happen.

And I sure as heck would never join one of those old geezers’ clubs and sit around complaining about the world going to hell in a handcart.

Now, it’s only a year before the biblical promise of three score and ten has run its course for me (Methuseleh must have cheated—and really messed up the ancient actuarial tables).

The warranty has no doubt expired on most of my parts. Some are rusty. Some are worn right out. A few have been replaced, a few others augmented.

The systems can be a little sluggish, some days more than others. The ROM is still OK, but the RAM needs an occasional re-boot.

Attention span is a little sparse at times. It can sometimes take four hours to make a cup of tea.

And yes, I still prefer the Everly Brothers to Twisted Sister, but that just shows good taste, not the ravages of time.

So, when the decision was made to throw the spotlight on Yukon seniors, and seek out a few snippets of their many wonderful stories, I definitely wanted a piece of the action.

After all, I’m the only certified geezer in the What’s Up Yukon family. The others are all (gasp!) under 50! They don’t even speak the language.

The first step, obviously, was to drop in at the Golden Age Society headquarters on Fourth Avenue.

A step not taken without some trepidation, let me tell you.

Would I be welcome, or would people spin away from their cribbage hands and glower at an uninvited stranger?

Would I be greeted as a brash young pup, or disappear into the wallpaper as just another elderly bald guy.

Would it be a fun place, or (shudder!) one of those dreaded geezer clubs?

(By the way, I would never call anyone else a geezer, but you have exclusive permission to call me one.)

Worst of all, what if they asked me to join? I’m not old, for heaven’s sake.

What I actually encountered was a brisk game of floor curling, and a group of lively, interesting and pleasant people.

Most were retired. Some not, or only partly. But all of them too busy to be bored.

Some were in their 60s or 70s. Others, such as Dorothy Hobbis and Goody Sparling, were closer to 90.

But not one of them was what I would call old. If you read some of their comments on pages 24 and 25, you’ll see what I mean.

So here’s to seniors across the Yukon who are determined to get the most out of their golden years. And a special thought to those who, due to poor health or other reasons, are having a harder time of things.

Seniors comprise the fastest-growing segment of Yukon’s population.

I’m proud to be counted among them.

By the way… I did join the Golden Age Society. Now, I’m a card-carrying geezer.

But I think those folks can teach me a lot about not getting old.

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