By Alan Sorensen
Ever had to deal with a cantankerous old-timer?
Ever had to sit quietly by while the codger embarrassed you by telling the waitress to take away the baked potato and bring a fresh one?
Ever rolled up your windows and locked your doors when a spindly old man standing in the middle of the street swung his cane threateningly about his head a few times and uttered crotchety words in your direction?
We've all been there, I think. I also think we're all headed there those of us who live long enough. I know there are nice little old ladies and gents out there whose grandchildren and great-grandchildren dote on them. But like the e's that come before i's even when there's no c around, I think they're simply the exceptions that prove the rule.
I had a glimpse into the future a couple of weeks ago, even before becoming a grandfather, and I didn't like what I saw. I saw a bunch of younger people pushing my patience and tolerance to the limit. And I saw me reacting just the way my mother had on some of her last forays into society.
You know how an old person keeps repeating himself. I read years ago in Sidney Harris' column that old people repeat themselves because they don't think younger people are capable of understanding them the first, second and third times. I'm here to tell you that I repeat myself because I can't remember from one minute to the next what I've said. That's why it's good that I work in the print media instead of broadcast. You know, newspaper work instead of radio. Or TV. Get it? I'd just keep repeating myself if I was talking instead of writing. You know?
The thing I look forward to the most living my entire life in a small town is getting old and becoming as wise as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. She's the little old hobbyist detective who solves crimes and catches crooks murderers, mostly by figuring out their types.
Miss Marple contends in her cases that people come in all types and if you live in the same little village all your life, you'll come across examples of each type. Then when a murder occurs, you find the type and you've got your perpetrator.
Miss Marple was a maiden aunt, but I'm here to tell you that we parents develop that skill much earlier in life. We see the types of kids our kids are hanging out with and compare them to the types of kids we hung out with. Then when we see one who resembles a friend of ours, we forbid our kids from hanging with that kid because we know how much trouble we caused hanging around with our friends of the same type.
This is all leading somewhere, really.
On Sept. 1 through 3 of this year, Havre will be host to an all '60s reunion '60s Fossil Festival. You don't have to be 60 to attend, you just had to graduate from Havre High or Havre Central in the 1960s. It's kind of sad, really, that the kids in the class of '70, who spent 3 of the decade's years at HHS, can't come, unless, of course, they're spouses.
I just got word this week that the 1959 (that was the first half of the first school year of the decade 1959-60) state champion Havre Blue Pony football team plans to be here en masse for the celebration. One of their number is expected in this office during the noon hour today to discuss the event and a photo shoot they have planned at Blue Pony Stadium during the festivities.
He sent me a copy of the story and photo that appeared in The Daily News way back then (this year marks the 40th anniversary of their release). The photo brought back a lot of memories some things to reflect on next week.
But for now, I'm still just a proud grandpa. (The kids even chose a name for the baby in my honor after my hero, Homer J. Simpson. The J. stands for Jay and that's little Christian's middle name. Doh!