THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
This month I was officially inducted into the hallowed halls of “Hey, Your Least Favorite Beatles Song Now Is All About You. Whatcha gonna do, boy? Huh?”
Said least favorite song being, of course, When You’re Sixty-Four, from one of my most favorite albums, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
I never liked the song because it was about—eww—old people.
And now I “r” one.
I realize that irony is in, but does the Universe really have nothing better to do than get all ironic about me?
So there I was, just a few short weeks ago, face to face with my entrance into the “Do you still need me?” generation. And what did I do?
Gwen the Beautiful and I spent a night out on the town in the closest city with a good restaurant, a motel room with a hot tub, and the least stressful driving time of anyplace we otherwise might’ve gone.
Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Where we end up several times a week anyway because Mountain Home is the home of The Baxter Bulletin, the first newspaper to make room for this space (and even pay me a couple of dollars for it!), XL7-TV, the first TV station to give me my own talk show to write, produce, and—gulp–star in (now long gone), and the men, women, and children of Mountain Home, the first human beings to accept me for who and what I am, after only a minimum of arm twisting.
We had dinner at my favorite steakhouse, where I had beef for the first time in six months. Not that I’ve been deliberately not eating beef. It’s just that Gwen’s been on this diet where the big evening meal often turns out to be “dahl,” a healthy, nutritious lentil dish made bearable by being served with heaps of yogurt, instead of New York steak.
Then we went back to our Hot Tub Room, where we turned on the jets and poured ourselves some champagne…
And I realized that even at the age of 64 I still don’t get the whole hot tub thing. Sitting in steaming hot, whirling and gurgling water is romantic? Or even relaxing?
Back when I lived the life of live-in housekeepers and backyard swimming pools, Gwen was able to talk me into dunking myself into our pool’s hot tub exactly once. It was an experience from which I barely escaped still attached to my steaming skin.
I barely staggered out on my birthday night in Mountain Home too. And found myself wonderfully comforted by the mental refrain, “It didn’t work for you when you were young either. It didn’t work for you when you were young….”
When I was young?
Still, a quick inventory shows that I’m not doing as badly as some.
Physically, I’m pretty much the same as I ever was. The only signs of advancing years are that I miss some high frequency sounds (usually when Gwen’s talking to me) and I and others around me would be a lot safer if I wore my glasses more than I do.
Mentally, I’m still pretty rational and remember most of what I used to remember. (I think. How would I know?) I also find myself continually planning for the future. Filled with ambitions for projects that could take 20 years to come to fruition. When this happens, I catch myself with a, “Wait! Why am I bothering?” and immediately remember, “This is who I am. I plan. I hope. I dream.”
I’ll always plan, hope, dream.
Or so I’m planning, hoping, and dreaming.
Spiritually, I’m both more centered and more adrift than ever before. I hear the Universe less than I used to, but my loved ones in the world around me come in much more loud and clear.
Gwen and the kids consider it well worth the trade. And I agree.
As my sixty-fifth year gets into gear, I find myself keenly aware of how grateful I am for everything that’s come my way. The good. The indifferent. Even the bad. It’s all been an amazing adventure. Everything that happens around and to me fills me with a sense of awe and inspires me to stronger and, I hope, higher plans, hopes, and dreams.
On this birthday, I salute you, Universe, and send you, and all within you – even my Least Favorite Beatles Song – my heartfelt thanks.