The Spry Age

An older person in a book I’m reading was described as “spry,” which made me wonder if I’ve reached the spry age yet. Although originally the word “spry” meant any lively, energetic person who could move quickly and easily, in my lifetime I have only heard the word used in relation to older folk.

I suppose it doesn’t matter if I have reached the spry age, because even if I’m there, I’m not there because nothing about me, except maybe my mind, can be described as spry. Ever since my knee problem popped up, I seldom move spryly — I lumber more than I walk — though I hope that by continuing with my knee exercises, I will eventually solve that problem.

It’s a good thing one doesn’t need to be spry to work in one’s yard — one only needs . . . perseverance, perhaps. I generally have the grit to do whatever needs to be done, though yesterday, when the day was beautiful and relatively cool, I stayed inside and did laundry and other household chores. Today, when the temperature topped 100, I went outside to water and weed. Not the smartest use of those two days, so maybe I need to rethink that spryness of mind I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Still, spry or not, I managed to decimate a bunch of weeds. I always knew what the phrase “grows like a weed” meant, but now I have almost daily proof. Even though we haven’t had any rain recently, the weeds are doubling in size daily. Today I had to wrestle with weeds that were thigh-high, though the last time I was out, they were only slightly taller than my ankles. Luckily, digging up weeds needs a good shovel more than spryness.

I did find a few surprises in my yard. Gladiolus. Marigolds. And another daylily!

I planted these flowers, so there shouldn’t have been any surprises. The surprise comes when something actually blooms. I plant the same things in the same general vicinity so the soil is the same. I water them the same. They get the same amount of sun, but, for example, of the five gladioli I planted, only one grew enough to bloom. So, that was a surprise.

I’m getting off the topic of “spry,” which is probably a good thing. I’d rather think of growing flowers than contemplate my growing lack of spryness.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Stay Cool

I’m sitting here trying to think of something to say that sounds at least halfway intelligent, but I’m falling asleep at the computer. It might be that I’m tired or it could be allergies, though most probably it’s the heat. It’s so hot it feels as if my eyeballs are boiling. Not a pretty image, for sure, but then, neither is this heat. At the moment, before noon, it’s 100 degrees and the temperature will continue rising for the next several hours.

I’d be cooler, of course, if I turned on the air conditioner, but somehow it feels wrong to sit inside the cool when a couple of men are here moving rocks around my yard. I realize that’s misplaced guilt or some such, but still, it does make me hesitate to turn on the cooling. That’s one of the reasons, anyway. The woman I work for doesn’t have central air conditioning, and if I went from a cool house to her much warmer house, I’d feel the heat over there even more than I already do, so I usually refrain from cooling my house down until I get home.

Whatever the reason for my leaving off the air conditioner, it doesn’t really matter. Compared to outside, it’s cool. Cooler, anyway. I can’t imagine how those guys who are working outside my house are faring. Luckily, they brought plenty of cool water, and if they want more, I will be glad to oblige. They’re also using the hose to shower off the sweat occasionally, which is amusing to me. It’s not amusing that they’re using such a method of keeping cool of course, but I do find it amusing that today I rolled up the hose and set it aside where it wouldn’t be in their way, and the next thing I know, it’s back where I normally keep it, sprawled all over the yard.

Part of me hopes they will knock off work early to get out of the heat; part of me hopes they continue working. It’s so hard to get people here that I’m certainly not going to make waves or rock the boat or upset the applecart or whatever cliché you prefer.

Luckily, it will cool down tomorrow. The high will be at least fourteen degrees lower than today’s high. A veritable cold front!

I hope you’re managing to stay cool.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

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