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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Opinion | Katharine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Me

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Like many older individuals, I too usually say “Hmpf” once I look within the mirror. You don’t need to endure from Alzheimer’s to marvel, as Norman does, “Who the hell is that? Who in hell is on this image right here?”

I’ve not, like Norman, began forgetting the place I’m or gotten misplaced on acquainted roads. However I do know what it means to lose your sense of self.

For me, that loss has been bodily. I’ll spare you the small print, however lately it has develop into more and more troublesome for me to stroll. I started feeling “tippy” — off steadiness — 4 or 5 years in the past, though at first I barely seen it. Since then, I’ve teetered slightly extra annually; my legs really feel daily as if I’ve simply run a marathon, even after a day once I’ve simply been mendacity round on the sofa. My medical doctors don’t appear to know precisely what’s mistaken with me, however they hold doing exams.

The factor is, I didn’t anticipate to be right here so quickly. I’m solely 63. Ms. Hepburn was 74 in 1981, and Mr. Fonda was 76. I had hoped that my spouse and I might have many extra years — even a long time — dwelling collectively in comparatively good well being, having fun with our kids and our (nonetheless solely theoretical) grandchildren.

As a substitute, I discover myself channeling my interior Ethel, able to battle the mysterious situation. However the Norman in me is greater than slightly fearful of what might lie forward.

On a nasty day, as I take into consideration the longer term, I wonder if I’ll be capable to hold dwelling by my beloved lake — and never solely due to my very own vulnerabilities. The Belgrade watershed is in danger, too, from man-made threats in addition to acts of nature. In late June a freakish storm blew via, toppling bushes and slicing off energy. In so some ways, this place is as fragile as we’re.

On a great day, although, I take into consideration the way in which the water restores me. I look out at a father and a son fishing on a bass boat, and I bear in mind when my very own youngsters have been younger, how I confirmed them how you can put a worm on a hook, how you can solid their strains, how you can be affected person as they waited for a chunk.

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