I’m not all that old. I mean, I turned 70 on my last birthday and in the crazy year that is 2020, they tell me 70 is like the new 50 or some nonsense. Fact is, I am 70.

Heck, couple of weeks ago my 26-year-old grandson and his partner had a baby making me a great-grandfather. At 70.

How can that be, you ask? I’ll tell you: I had kids when I was young and my kids had kids when they were younger. My oldest daughter made me a grandfather at 45 and, proving karma lives, her son turned her into a grandma at 45.

(When I first heard my grandson was going to be a father, I said to him, “Lord, you’re making me the father of a grandmother!” My wife, ever helpful, quickly reminded me, “and you, a great-grandfather!” Thank you, dear.)

Thus, great-grandchild (she’s beautiful if you hadn’t guessed).

I’m beginning to get all the things those of us of a certain age get. Little maladies, little issues to deal with; doctors with specialties I never before needed are now regular appointments. Comes with the territory, from what I’m learning, for most of us.

But today, today is what drove home my age. It’s snowing here in Massachusetts. Now, I’ve had a couple of strokes (the last one 15 years ago, so I’m back to the same risk of having one anyone is, thank goodness) so my wife doesn’t let me do anything too taxing. (Some of those things I really could do, but I like to do what my wife tells me.)

Today, though, by about 9 a.m. we had maybe 4 or 5 inches of snow on the ground and the cars. So I headed out before my wife to begin shoveling a path to the driveway and, importantly, to where we keep our trash container because, after all, tomorrow is trash day and I need a clear path to the street.

Before I lifted the first shovel of snow, I heard a voice behind me saying, “You shouldn’t be doing that.” No, not the gods. My obviously very nice neighbor across the street was standing there, shovel in hand and, like the Energizer Bunny, was scooping up snow at a pace I could never have matched. And I’m guessing he’s in his 50s.

Thus, the realization hit: I have become the old man across the street who kind people “look in on.”


Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.

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