Sixty eight years ago, at 9:30 am on a Sunday morning, at the Chester County Hospital, in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Ronald Walter Tipton made his entrance into this world. That would be me.
I was the first born child and son of Isaac Walter Tipton and Betty Louise Hadfield. Two other sons would be born later. I am the crown prince of my family.
I have to say, the past sixty eight years have been a real experience. I don't know how much longer I have to go but I am thankful that I have gotten this far in life with all of my limbs intact, my brain still functions fairly well (not as good as it did when I was in my 20's) and the rest of my bodily functions still work.
One of the few signs of old age is a constant ache in my back and a stiffness of my joints. Today is a good example that my body isn't as spry as it was when I was a young whipper snapper of 50 or so. I spent the best part of the day bending over and on my knees planting 120 tulip bulbs in the front of my house. After I was done I could hardly move. I took my daily walk but was concerned that I might not be able to finish it. When I got home I took a nap that was more like slipping into unconsciousness.
There can now be no doubt about it. I am officially an Old Man.
My looks haven’t changed a whole lot (I would like to think.) I still weigh the same as I did when I graduated from high school 50 years ago (160 lbs.) I still have most of my hair although my hairline has receded significantly. My hair color is still a dark brown although I do now have a dignified smattering of gray on the sides and a few gray strands on the top that just appeared this year. I was fortunate that I’ve inherited a good deal of my father’s genes. He died at 80 years of age without one gray hair on his head.
So how do I feel about this go round in Life? I feel pretty good. Of course I’ve had my trying moments. I almost lost my life due to an undiagnosed staph infection when I was 17 years old. I’ve been in several car accidents but escaped injury. I was almost strangled once during an argument that got out of hand (no, it wasn’t with my present partner of 45 years.)
I grew up poor. During the 70’s and early 80’s, during the peak of my earning power I experienced a somewhat flushed lifestyle. However, that didn’t last too long and I’m now poor again due to losing my longtime job at the bank and the current housing market. However, I have managed to survive and stay afloat with a reasonably comfortable life if I am careful with my limited income received from Social Security and a few bank pensions.
I am fortunate in that I have a part-time job that engages my mind and helps me to keep up with the ever increasing cost of living that my fixed income doesn’t. I am also fortunate in that I like the kind of work that I’m doing and the people I work with. Of course, as with anything in life, there are challenges with this job too. Our sour economy bypasses few and I’m not one of the few bypassed. But I have no complaints. Life has been good to me.
I hope the next time around (I do believe in reincarnation) that I am as fortunate as I have been on this turn.
Happy birthday to me.