It Never Gets Old
At 104 he had many interviews. The local news, the Today Show, CNN, PBS, you name it. They all ask the same thing in the same contrived tone: “What’s your secret to long life?” They’re used to getting the same nonsensical answers: “I don’t touch alcohol” or “I have two shots of whiskey every morning and two at night”, “I’ve never smoked in my life” or “I smoke six cigars a day”. The segments always end with an unimaginative comment and a transition to the real news story of the day, “I hope I look that good when I’m his age! Speaking of looking good, let’s go to Sam on location with a pig named Daisy who knows how to spell her name with noodles!”
Even though his answer was different and more thoughtful than the others, he was lumped in with the rest of the “filler” stories. Regardless, the annual interviews gave him the opportunity to see a new place and witness some fantastic sights along the way.
His secret wasn’t a secret, nor was it a revelation. It was quite simple really, almost embarrisingly so. When he was 46 and three days old, not a day younger, he noticed a bird with a highly unusual song that put a smile on his face. It was the first of many new discoveries. The next day, he stepped out of the house at dawn and noticed a shade of orange in the clouds that he’d never seen before, he couldn’t look away! Each day from then on out, he noticed something new and beautiful. He didn’t seek it out, but with every new discovery he realized that life was never mundane, each day brought something new. Even that morning on his way to the interview with Channel 5 Action News at 5, he glanced down and saw a small beetle walking across the sidewalk. It had an impossibly bright iridescent shell; it shimmered bright green in the early morning light. He swore that it had a small speck of moss growing on it’s shell. It reminded him of his trip into the Olympic Mountains seven decades earlier; that trip that made him feel free for the first time. He smiled, and even laughed a little. “Now I’ve almost seen everything, almost.” He went to bed that night excited to see what new things he’d spy the following day, his 105th birthday; he wouldn’t be disappointed.